Over the years, I’ve had several jobs in and out of the lab. I think most employers want employees who will get along with their coworkers and who can adapt to the daily routine and corporate culture in their workplace. In the lab, you’d only be competing with 2-5 properly credentialed applicants, not 20-50, so getting your MT/MLT could be a plus.
However, many labs are now reducing their need for techs. Robots have taken over many repetitive tasks. Lab assistants perform many routine tasks and do low complexity testing. Is your local hospital following this trend? It wouldn’t be a bad idea to request an informational interview with the lab manager and learn about the lab’s projected staffing needs and how you might fit into the picture.
Also, why not talk with the director or the career counselor at the local and online schools you’re considering? They may have helpful answers to your questions about classroom schedules and lining up a clinical mentor. One of my coworkers is an MLT taking online classes to get her MT. Her mentor is one of our pathologists.
Check out your local business directory. Think about what you like and dislike about your current job, and how each of the local employers might need someone with your talents and skills.
When I was selecting a major, I thought about how much I hated waiting tables, and how much fun I had working in the restaurant’s kitchen, where I made salads, fried bacon, and assembled sandwiches. I still see the similarities between a restaurant kitchen and a hospital lab, and I still think I’m happier as an MT than I would have been as an RN.
I spend a few hours a week working as office manager for my husband’s small business. I took courses in Microsoft Office, and I’ve learned my way around QuickBooks. If I should need, or want, to transition, the groundwork is there. Do a little research, and you’ll develop your own plan.