Medical Laboratory Technology Career Overview

Job Description

Southwestern Illinois College’s Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program prepares students with the entry-level skills necessary to become a medical laboratory technician.

Medical Laboratory Technicians:
  • Examine and process body fluids and cells
  • Look for bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms
  • Evaluate the chemical content of fluids
  • Match blood for transfusions
  • Test for drug levels in the blood to show how a patient is responding to treatment
  • Prepare specimens for examination
  • Count cells
  • Look for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids
  • Use automated and computerized instruments, microscopes, cell counters and other sophisticated laboratory equipment

For details, see the MLT cost sheet  and the MLT Handbook available to review by perspective students and anyone else interested.

Career Resources:

The American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science and American Society of Clinical Pathologists websites provide career and certification information.

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook provides additional information regarding the MLT field.

Job Opportunities

Nationally, about 80 percent of MLTs are employed in hospital laboratories.

Opportunities are also available in:
  • Independent labs
  • Physician’s offices
  • Public health agencies
  • Federal government agencies
  • Pharmaceutical and industrial firms
  • Research and educational institutions
Career Outlook

Ninety-five percent of SWIC medical laboratory technology graduates are working in hospital medical laboratories.

Job opportunities continue to grow as the elderly population continues to increase.


Starting Salary

Starting salaries are about $40,000-$50,000 annually and vary depending on the size and location of the health care facility.

Salaries are higher when working on the second or third shifts.