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A pulmonary laboratory technician, or lab tech, works closely with doctors and patients to help diagnose, treat and manage diseases of a pulmonary nature. Breathing problems, lung disease and problems with the pulmonary arteries all qualify as pulmonary disorders. A pulmonary laboratory tech might work with patients to learn healthful breathing techniques and the maintenance of diseases that are already diagnosed, or may work directly with the doctors to diagnose problems with a patient. Generally, to become a pulmonary laboratory technician requires learning to run tests on a patient that aid doctors in diagnosing cardiopulmonary issues or diseases.
To become a pulmonary laboratory technician, students are advised to follow a two- or four-year course of study at an accredited school or university pursuing a medical path. Degrees and licensing to become a registered nurse, a pulmonary function technologist or a respiratory therapist are the most desired. The degree of training required to work as a lab tech varies depending upon the job and location, as is the case with most medical jobs. After completing an accredited course of cardiopulmonary studies, licensing and certification may be required, again depending upon the job desired and the location.
Pulmonary laboratory technicians may work in the cardiopulmonary wing of hospitals, in private practices or in special group practices that specialize in cardiopulmonary diseases, or simply pulmonary diseases. Pulmonary lab techs may begin their medical careers doing billing or other office work, while working up to performing pulmonary function tests, such as spirometry, the measure of breath, or the measure of gas in the pulmonary arteries. Many employers look for future employees with strong mathematical and computer skills, as well as organizational and occasionally customer service skills.
Those considering the path to become a pulmonary laboratory technician should realize that the pay rate is largely dependent upon hours worked, location of practice, prior experience in the field and amount of education and licensing. Generally, after completing a two- or four-year degree in medical studies, and completing all required licensing tests for the location the student intends to practice in, continuing education is a must. Any education in the field of medicine will increase the chances of finding a job for those who wish to become a pulmonary laboratory technician.
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