How to Become a Laboratory Technician?

Are you thinking of becoming a Laboratory Technician or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Laboratory Technician, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Laboratory Technician job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.
"Lab Technician" was the nearest match for you query "Laboratory Technician".

Steps to Become a Lab Technician

A lab technician prepares samples for analysis, monitors tests, and uses equipment to locate microorganisms. If you know how to use technical equipment and have excellent communication skills, you should consider a career as a lab technician. In this article, we discuss what it takes to become a lab technician.

Earn a science degree.

Most employers seek lab technicians who have at least an associate degree in laboratory science or a related field, but you might find that almost all prefer those who have a bachelor's degree instead. You can also earn a bachelor's or master's degree in laboratory science to gain more knowledge and stand out more to potential employers. All of these degree programs include coursework that focuses on data processing, chemistry, math, and biology.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Lab Technician?

53% of people working as a Lab Technician earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Lab Technician?

  • ASCP
  • Interpersonal and Communication
  • Calculations
  • Laboratory Information Systems
  • Critical Thinking
  • Excellent Communication
  • Attention To Detail
  • WORKING Relationships
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Lab Technician in the United States.

Secure lab training.

Depending on the type of field you study, you will likely gain a specific type of training. You might learn how to prepare reports as well as how to dispose of waste properly. Certain educational programs might offer externship opportunities, where you will gain hands-on experience. Regardless of your training opportunities, you can take that time to narrow down your specialization. Some of the more common specializations include microbiology, human chemistry, and immunology.


Attend conferences and scientific seminars.

If you're a member of a professional organization, you might learn about conferences and scientific seminars to attend. You might be able to receive training at these events, depending on your field and specialization. During these conferences and seminars, you can also learn more about the field to help you stay current with scientific discoveries and industry trends. Try to talk to as many people as you can at these events, since you never know what potential job opportunities might arise or what you might learn.


Get licensed.

Many states require anyone who works in a laboratory setting to earn a license, although the licensing requirements will vary depending on the state and lab specialties. To determine if your state requires licensure and what requirements you need to fulfill, check with the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.


Obtain certification.

Based on your field and specialization, you might need to possess certain certifications. Some of the more popular certifications include the following:

  • Medical Lab Technician (MLT): Offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) or the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB), the MLT designation demonstrates your ability to competently work in a medical laboratory. You need to obtain an associate degree, attend an extensive training course, and pass an exam. You must also renew this certification every three years by submitting proof of continuing education and training.
  • Medical Lab Scientist (MLS): Also offered from the ASCP or the AAB, the MLS shows that you can perform higher responsibilities in a medical laboratory. You need to have at least a bachelor's degree, gain experience in a lab, possess another relevant certification, and complete a training program. You also must renew it every three years by providing proof of training and continuing education.

Laboratory Technician Career Path

Lab Technician

8+Years of Experience
$39K - $57K /yrMost Likely Range
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19% advanced to

Senior Lab Technician

2 - 4Years of Experience
$47K - $72K /yrMost Likely Range
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80% advanced to

Lab Technician IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$47K - $68K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Laboratory Technician Career Path

Lab Technician I
Lab Technician
Senior Lab Technician
Lab Technician IV
Lab Technician V
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Related Careers in the Research & Science Industry

Interested in other Research & Science careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Laboratory Technician skills. Discover some of the most common Laboratory Technician career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Lab Manager
0% skills overlap
20% transitioned to Lab Manager