Through the microscope

Great scopeIn a tiny world.

Great scopeIn a tiny world.  

Unlike what most people believe, becoming a doctor isn’t the only way to pursue a career in medicine. There are numerous carer options available in the healthcare sector, one of which is in medical laboratory technology.


Medical treatment starts only after the diagnosis of the disease, and to diagnose, doctors need to perform various kinds of analysis and tests. Based on the outcome of these tests, they treat and give advice for prevention. This is where medical laboratory technology or clinical laboratory science comes into the picture.

Medical laboratory technicians are the ones who do blood collection and perform various diagnostic tests by analysing blood, saliva, urine, tissues, cell counts, and so on. The technicians also play an important role in reporting and documenting these investigations. They determine the presence, extent or absence of disease and provide the data needed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

Qualified medical lab technicians need to be extremely precise and disciplined; they should be proficient in managing delicate laboratory equipment. A medical lab technology job requires its practitioners to be logical and precise, with a curiosity for medicine, science and technology. In an increasingly computerised industry, medical lab technologists should be capable of using computers and digital equipment and comfortable with understanding new technologies.


A career as a medical laboratory technician offers you the chance to make an impact on enduring care, even without interacting with patients. One can also work as a freelancer or a phlebotomist and have great earnings. With relevant skills, one can find employment in a hospital, minor emergency centres, private laboratories, blood donor centres, healthcare centre or clinics. Medical lab technicians can also find jobs in research facilities, crime laboratories, universities, pharmaceutical companies and the military. You could also grow to become a laboratory manager/consultant/supervisor, a laboratory information system analyst, or a hospital outreach coordinator.

To pursue a diploma in medical laboratory technology (DMLT), completion of 10+2 or equivalent from a recognised Board is required. The duration of the course is generally two years. Courses are offered by various institutes, colleges, universities as well as hospitals. The hospitals and/or the medical labs are usually affiliated with a college or university. On-the-job training along with classroom sessions play a vital role in providing the practical exposure needed in this sector.

For those who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory technology (BMLT), the eligibility is 10+2 or equivalent with science subjects, or, a pre-university vocational course in laboratory technology from a recognised Board. BMLT is a three-year programme.

The initial salary package of a medical lab technologist/technician ranges from Rs. 10,000 - Rs. 20,000 per month in hospitals and clinics. One can also earn well as a freelancer. The pay packages gradually increase with years of experience.

The author is Founder and Director, Council of Education & Development Programmes (CEDP) Skill Institute, Mumbai.

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