HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - This pandemic has shined a light on how important our medical community is, but it goes much further than the doctors and nurses.
Laboratory technicians are busy running tests, 24/7, 365 days a year.
According to the CDC, 70 percent of decisions doctors make when caring for a patient are based on the results from these tests.
That’s why the work medical laboratory technicians do is essential.
“We are very vital in the care of patients, we’re just not out there on the front of the stage,” Kristie Campbell said.
Kristie Campbell, the Administrative Director of Huntsville Hospital’s Clinical Laboratory, says her team was forced to grow to keep up with the pandemic.
“As you can imagine with many labs bringing up COVID-19 testing of all varieties. PCR testing, antigen testing, there has been an increase in a demand for lab techs,” she explained.
MLTs handle all kinds of samples, from blood to urine to COVID-19 PCR tests for the hospital’s inpatients.
Kara Bradbury is one of those MLTs and also a graduate of Calhoun Community College.
“If you love science and you love machines and how machines work, and how that machine can take this specimen and get a result from it, and the doctor can get a diagnosis from it, I think it’s a great field to go into,” Bradbury said.
“In the last three years, all the people who graduated our program in MLT, got a job in MLT,” Bret McGill said.
Bret McGill, the Dean of Health Sciences for Calhoun, says there’s a big need.
“You’d be surprised how many people are interested in the science, and interested in being in medicine, but they don’t really want to take care of sick patients. MLT is the program for them because they can work in a lab, work behind a microscope,” he said.
And McGill says it’s a career people tend to stick with for 30 plus years.
“When these baby boomers go to the house, when they retire. We’re fixing to have such a void,” McGill said.
With a two year degree, you can start earning well from the start.
“You’re starting at 25 bucks an hour, that’s pretty good. And then you’ve got this room to grow,” he said.
It is important to note, pay rates starting out will vary based on the employer.