Medical lab technicians in New Jersey work with laboratory scientists to collect samples and test patients' body fluids, tissue and other substances to monitor their health or their reaction to treatments. While the scientists, also called medical laboratory technologists, require a Bachelor's degree, most technicians need at least either an Associate's degree or a certificate.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 45 percent of the medical laboratory technicians in the U.S. reported that they have a bachelor's degree. About third had an associate degree and rest had a post-baccalaureate certificate. Medical lab technicians in New Jersey often have to operate sophisticated equipment, including microscopes and cell counters. Their day-to-day activities involve:
Medical lab technicians in New Jersey earn an average of $50,400 annually -- an hourly wage of $24 -- making the Garden State the third highest-paying state in the country for medical laboratory technicians. However, there are only 2,700 medical lab technicians in New Jersey -- less than one medical laboratory technician for every thousand employees in the state.
The highest concentration of medical lab technicians in New Jersey is in the Camden-Philadelphia metropolitan area, where there are 1.8 medical lab technicians jobs for every 1,000 workers. The northwest corner of New Jersey along the Pennsylvania border near Allentown, Easton and Bethlehem is right behind with 1.7 medical lab technicians for every 1,000 workers. The lowest concentration is in Newark, where for every 1,000 jobs, 0.44 jobs are taken by medical lab technicians.
Here's a breakdown of the number of medical lab techs in each of New Jersey's areas, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data from May 2014:
The average annual salary for medical lab techs in New Jersey is about 24 percent higher than the national average of $40,750. The highest salaries in the state are paid in Camden, where medical lab techs earn on average $53,730, and in Vineland, where the average salary is $54,290. The BLS does not report how many medical lab techs work in Vineland, however, so it's not certain how many workers earn that level of salary there.
As the population ages and lives longer, it's expected that job opportunities for medical lab techs will grow nationally by 18 percent from 2014 to 2014 -- nearly 30,000 new jobs. By comparison, jobs for medical and clinical lab technologists will grow by 14 percent, an addition of 23,000 jobs.
While most medical lab techs can earn the highest salaries at outpatient care centers, most medical techs find work in general medical and surgical hospitals, where nationally average salaries are about 4 percent lower. Here's a breakdown of where the jobs are for medical lab technicians and what the average pay is:
Number of medical technicians
Average annual wage
General medical and surgical hospitals
Medical and diagnostic laboratories
Offices of physicians
Ambulatory health care services
Outpatient care centers
Here's a breakdown of the concentration of medical lab tech jobs per 1,000 total jobs in each of New Jersey's primary metropolitan areas. The average salary paid in each area is also listed:
Medical technician jobs/1,000 jobs
Southern New Jersey
Health care is a huge industry, and we wanted to learn more about what it takes to become a medical laboratory technician in New Jersey. Here's some advice from Professor Rita Connolly, coordinator at Camden County College's Medical Laboratory Technology Program.
What are the advantages of studying to become a medical lab tech?
The Medical Laboratory Technology Program at Camden County College has been educating laboratory professionals for over 25 years. The program maintains affiliations with several local hospitals, which afford our students the opportunity to follow up their classroom learning with onsite clinical experience. The program is fully accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NACCLS) and the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Students who complete the program are eligible to sit for examination to become ASCP-certified medical laboratory technicians. The ASCP certification is the most highly regarded and widely recognized national certification for medical laboratory technicians.
At Camden County College, instructors combine academics with real-life clinical experience to give students the best preparation for entering the field. The program is housed in the recently opened Kevin G. Halpern Hall for Science and Health Education, which features a state-of-the-industry clinical lab.
The program is small with limited admission, which assures that students receive personal attention from instructors along with the best chance to secure a good clinical site for their practical rotations. The program has achieved excellent graduation and employment rates, with typical scores of 90 to 100 percent for graduation and almost 100 percent employment after graduation.
The program currently is undergoing an academic and physical reorganization in view of expanding our course offerings and clinical partnerships.
What's the best way to prepare for college courses in a medical laboratory technician program?
Medical technology is a science and, as with all science programs, the importance of proper preparation cannot be stressed enough. High school students would benefit from taking general biology, chemistry and algebra courses. Additional courses focusing on anatomy and physiology or human biology also can be useful. Courses in technical writing, interpersonal communications and medical ethics also would be good choices for future medical technology students.
If a student's high school offers a program or course that features "shadowing" a medical professional, he or she would benefit from the real-world experience of working with patients. If not, students should consider volunteering in a hospital to gain similar experience.
Students also could contact their local hospitals to see if they offer a day when students are allowed to visit the hospital laboratory and learn about lab careers.
What is the career outlook for medical laboratory technicians?
The career outlook for medical technicians remains strong. The job-placement rate for the program at Camden County College is well over 90 percent, and, in most years, every student has been employed within one year of graduating the program and attaining certification. Most MLT programs are small, and the number of graduates keeps pace with the number of job opportunities.
Employment as an MLT offers a number of possibilities beyond the hospital laboratory. MLTs can work in private clinical labs or in other labs that aren't medically oriented. Full-time and part-time positions are available as well as variable types of scheduling.
Many states across the United States have a shortage of medical professionals, including nurses and technicians. Medical technicians and technologists also can work outside the United States. Contracts for employment in other countries may require a commitment for two to three years, but they generally pay well and afford MLTs the opportunity to live in another culture while practicing in their field.
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
West Long Branch
Doctorate & First Professional
Doctorate & First Professional
Doctorate & First Professional
The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for New Jersey. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.
Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Medical Lab Technicians relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org
Annual Median Salary