Hiring a Lab Technician: Job Description, Pay and More

Lab technicians looking at samples under microscope on pink background.

Lab technicians are the backbone of medical laboratories, where they help diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases. They can possess various medical skills coupled with technical knowledge, making them valuable team members in laboratory settings.

Let’s dive into the role of a lab technician and what to look out for before hiring one for your team.

What To Know About Hiring a Lab Technician

Lab technicians work under the supervision of technologists and lab managers to operate equipment and perform medical tests that help physicians assess and diagnose their patients. They can support general labs or work in specialized medical areas such as blood banks or molecular biology.

When looking to hire a lab technician, the first thing to consider is the specific responsibilities they will oversee. Their responsibilities may vary, but generally include:

  • Performing lab tests and procedures by following established lab protocols
  • Preparing and analyzing samples to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the results
  • Operating and maintaining lab equipment and a clean work environment
  • Recording test results and maintaining accurate records
  • Collaborating with lab technologists and other team members on research findings
  • Adhering to safety protocols
  • Troubleshooting equipment issues as they arise

Top Lab Technician Skills

Successful lab technicians will have a balance of technical hard skills and supporting soft skills. Depending on the lab settings or tests being run, specialized skills may be required for technician candidates, but their overall skillset could include a combination of the following:

Hard Skills for Lab Technicians:

  • Proficiency in a variety of lab techniques, such as pipetting or microscopy
  • Ability to analyze and interpret lab data and results
  • Experience using lab equipment and instrumentation
  • Understanding of quality control and validation procedures
  • Competency in recording and managing data accurately

Soft Skills for Lab Technicians:

  • Being able to communicate findings clearly and effectively in documentation
  • Precision and accuracy when conducting tests or recording results
  • Ability to problem-solve lab issues and find solutions
  • Good collaboration with other lab staff and researchers
  • Application of critical thinking skills to deduce findings and optimize procedures
  • Efficient time management and organization to prioritize tests and meet deadlines

Related: The Role Lab Techs Play in Healthcare

Qualifications and Education

Most employers may require that candidates have a bachelor’s or associate degree in clinical laboratory science or another science or health-related field. Accredited programs typically include instruction in laboratory skills and safety procedures and require a minimum number of hours of clinical experience.

When looking to hire lab technicians in a specialized field, additional certifications or education may be necessary. Some states even require lab personnel to be licensed or registered, so before starting your lab technician search, have a solid understanding of the specialized skills or training they may need to be successful at your lab facility.

Lab Technician Pay and Job Outlook

Employment for lab technicians is expected to grow 5% over the next decade, with the average median wage at $57,380 annually.

Related: How to Offer Stability to Your Permanent Healthcare Staff

Strategic Interview Questions to Ask a Lab Technician

Lab technicians can have a wide range of skills and experience. Below is a list of questions you can ask that are aimed at deducing a candidate’s skill level and ability to successfully perform the duties of a general lab technician:

  1. Share your experience working in a lab setting. What lab techniques and procedures do you have experience with?
  2. What certifications do you hold, and how do they contribute to your effectiveness as a lab technician?
  3. What lab instrumentation are you familiar with using?
  4. Can you discuss your proficiency in data management and recording?
  5. How do you prioritize tasks and manage time effectively in a fast-paced lab environment?
  6. How do you ensure the accuracy and reliability of test results in a lab setting?
  7. How do you ensure consistency when performing repetitive laboratory tasks?
  8. How do you ensure the security and confidentiality of sensitive data in the lab?
  9. How do you approach inventory management and ordering of new lab supplies?
  10. Provide an example of a situation where you had to meet tight deadlines in the lab.
  11. Explain the importance of quality control in a laboratory. How do you implement it in your work?
  12. Describe a time when you had to adapt to new technologies or procedures in the lab.
  13. How do you approach interpreting results when faced with unexpected or ambiguous findings?
  14. Describe a situation where effective communication was essential in a lab project.
  15. Walk me through your process of troubleshooting and resolving equipment issues in the lab.
  16. Can you share an example of a challenging problem you encountered in the lab and how you resolved it?
  17. How do you stay updated on the latest advancements and best practices in lab technology?

Ready To Hire Your Next Lab Technician?

Labs are at their best when operations are running smoothly. To avoid burning out your current healthcare teams, take a look at our pool of vetted lab technicians to expand your staff. If you need some help kickstarting the process, reach out to our team of experts for expedited sourcing and hiring support.

Hiring a Lab Technician?

Reach out to Insight Global today. We can find you qualified candidates in as little as 48 hours! Questions? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853