Medical Laboratory Technology also called Clinical laboratory science is an allied health profession which is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disease through the use of clinical laboratory tests. These tests help doctors to detect, diagnose and treat diseases.
Nature of Work
Clinical laboratory personnel
Determine the presence, extent or absence of disease and provide data needed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.
Play an important role in collecting the information's needed, sampling, testing, reporting and documentation of these investigations.
Examine and analyze body fluids, and cells.
Look for bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms; analyze the chemical content of fluids; match blood for transfusions; and test for drug levels in the blood that show how a patient is responding to treatment.
Technologists also prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids.
Use microscopes, cell counters, and other sophisticated laboratory equipment. They also use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests simultaneously. After testing and examining a specimen, they analyze the results and relay them to physicians.
There are two levels of medical laboratory workers - Technicians and Technologists.
Technicians work under the supervision of a technologist who has more education (at least a bachelor's degree) and training than a technician.
Perform complex tests such as microscopic examinations of tissues, blood and other body fluids to detect evidence of disease and detect the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites etc and chemical tests to determine blood cholesterol levels.
Technologists microscopically examine blood and other body fluids.
Make cultures of body fluid and tissue samples, to determine the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites, or other microorganisms.
Analyze samples for chemical content or a chemical reaction and determine concentrations of compounds such as blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Match blood samples for transfusions and test drug levels in blood to determine how patients are responding to medications.
Are responsible for making sure that testing is done accurately.
In some labs, technologists conduct research under the supervision of medical researchers.
Work under Technologists or supervisors.
Carry out routine laboratory testing manually according to instructions.
May prepare specimens and operate machines that automatically analyze samples.
Set up, clean, and maintain laboratory equipment, such as centrifuges, microscopes etc.
Prepare standard solutions for use in the lab. This involves measuring and mixing the correct amount of various chemicals.
Conduct tests on blood and body fluid to detect chemicals, hormones and/or drugs.
Common Test: Blood Glucose (blood sugar) to diagnose and monitor diabetes.
Conduct tests on blood, body fluid and/or tissue samples to detect bacteria, fungi, viruses, and/or parasites.
Common Test: Throat swab to detect strep throat.
Conduct tests to measure blood cells and to detect diseases/disorders of the blood.
Common Test: Hemoglobin Test to detect anemia.
Conduct blood typing and blood compatibility tests.
Common Test: Cross-matching for blood transfusions.
Conducts tests on cells taken from the body to detect cancer.
Common Test: Pap test to detect cervical cancer.
Clinical Genetics professionals :
Conducts tests on chromosomes, DNA and RNA from cells of body fluids and tissues, to diagnose genetic diseases.
Common Test: Amniocentesis and other forms of pre-natal testing.
Other specialty areas include immunology, electron microscopy, virology, parasitological and flow cytometry.
B.S./B.Sc. 4 Years
Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Technology (BMLT),
Diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology (DMLT).
(General) Diploma / Certificate courses for lab technicians / assistants
Diplomas in EEG Lab Technician, Histopathology Lab Technician etc.
Public health organizations
Research and development departments of pharmaceutical companies