A lab technician is a person who is trained to work with laboratory equipment to test and analyze samples of blood, body tissue, and fluids. In some places, lab technicians have to seek certification or licensing to work in the field. Even in places where certification or licensing is not required, however, some employers may prefer applicants who have earned lab technician certification. If you want to earn certification in this field, you may do well to check the regulations in your jurisdiction for certification requirements, as they typically vary from place to place. Generally, however, you may need to complete a lab technician certificate or associate's degree program and pass a certification exam to earn your credential.
You'll typically need to earn a high school diploma if you want to seek lab technician certification, but you may earn a general educational development (GED) diploma instead if you did not graduate from high school. After earning one of these credentials, you'll then have to meet the educational requirements set by the organization through which you plan to earn your credential. For example, you may have to earn an associate's degree in a related major, such as medical or lab technology, which may involve about two years at a community college.
Some certification organizations may also accept lab technician certification candidates who have not earned degrees in this area but have earned at least 60 credit hours of education, with a significant number of credits in a medical or lab technology-related major. In such a case, you may need significant laboratory experience as well.
Lab technician certification organizations may also accept candidates who have graduated from accredited professional schools that offer certificates. For example, you may complete a lab technician program that lasts for a little more than a year and ends with a certificate. These programs may vary in length, however. Typically, you'll need to gain laboratory experience through such a program to be eligible for certification. If your training program does not include a significant amount of lab experience, you may need to gain experience elsewhere before applying for certification.
Once you've met the requirements for certification eligibility, you'll usually need to apply for certification and pay a fee to start the certification process. You may have to provide proof of your education, such as official transcripts, and other supporting documents. Finally, you'll usually have to pass a multiple-choice exam to earn certification in the field.