Wallace State Community College Medical Laboratory Technician student Khanie Cantrell, left, examines bacteria on a blood agar plate, while Anna Wheeler inputs her findings into an iPad.

Wallace State Community College Medical Laboratory Technician student Khanie Cantrell, left, examines bacteria on a blood agar plate, while Anna Wheeler inputs her findings into an iPad.

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Wallace State Community College’s Medical Laboratory Technician program will be celebrating Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 22-28 with a number of activities. Presented by America Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the week is an annual celebration of medical laboratory professionals and pathologists who play a vital role in health care and patient advocacy.

The theme for the 2018 Lab Week is “Star Lab: Helping patients live long and prosper.”

“As medical laboratory technicians, we take our jobs very seriously,” said Chris Cleghorn, director of the Medical Laboratory Technician program at Wallace State. “It’s very important that we perform our duties correctly to ensure proper care is given to every patient. Our job at Wallace State is to make sure every graduate has the training and knowledge they need to perform their duties accurately and with the utmost professionalism.”

Wallace State’s Medical Laboratory Technician program is transitioning this fall to a 1+1 curriculum format, where students will complete their first year of academic prerequisites before applying to the program and completing the associate degree in the next year.  Applications are currently being accepted through June 1.

Medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue and other substances. Their findings help physicians diagnose and treat their patients. They must be able to use technology, be detail oriented, and have dexterity as they work with needles and precision laboratory instruments. The must also physical stamina to work on their feet for long periods of time and to assist patients.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment of medical laboratory technicians will increase by 14 percent from 2016 to 2026 as an aging population is expected to lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions.

The national median annual wage for medical laboratory technicians in May 2016 was $39.950. The middle 50 percent earned between $26,010 and $31,250 and the highest 10 percent made more than $61,000, according to BLS.