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Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

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Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Medical laboratory technicians, as well as pathologists, clinical laboratory managers and medical technologists, may disagree that MLT is a low-risk, low-stress job

Medical laboratory technicians, rejoice. Your vocation has been officially proclaimed one of the least stressful jobs for 2013. Do you agree?

According to online career site,, medical laboratory technician ranked number 5 on the list of the 10 least stressful jobs for this year. reported the story.

Difference between Medical Laboratory Technicians, MTs, and CLSs

Before going further, it is helpful for readers to be reminded that news reporters and journalists often fail to make the distinction that there are significant differences in the education and competencies of medical technologists (MT) and clinical laboratory scientists (CLS), as compared to medical laboratory technicians. For that reason, readers should extend some forbearance to the authors of the list of least stressful jobs for 2013.

Medical laboratory personnel might be amused to learn that MLTs are in good—or at least eclectic—company. Sharing top honors for least anxiety-producing métiers are university professor, tailor, librarian and drill press operator.

med-tech low stress best jobs

Many clinical laboratory professionals may not agree that the position of medical laboratory technician is stress-free enough to included on’s list of the top ten stress-free jobs for 2013. (Photo by

The list of low-stress, top 10 occupations shares one common underlying characteristic, according to publisher, Tony Lee. “In these jobs, you’re doing something for which you are highly qualified,” he stated in the Forbes story. “These jobs tend not to have someone standing over their shoulder putting pressure on them to get things done,” Lee stated. “People are in control of their day—working as fast as they feel they need to be effective.”

List Criteria Include Low Risk of Danger in Work Environment

From 1995 to 2009, The Wall Street Journal ran an annual ranking list of best and worst jobs, Forbes reported. When the Journal dropped the list in 2009, Carlsbad, California-based picked it up.

This is the third year has published its list of least and most stressful jobs. The company considered 200 professions in its database. It used 11 stress-provoking job demands. Criteria for determining stress levels inherent in a job included travel, growth potential, competitiveness, physical demands, environmental conditions, and risk to one’s own life or to the lives of others.

Here is the full 2013 list of the top 10 least stressful jobs:

1. University Professor

2. Seamstress/Tailor

3. Medical Records Technician

4. Jeweler

5. Medical Laboratory Technician

6. Audiologist

7. Dietician

8. Hair Stylist

9. Librarian

10. Drill Press Operator

“If you look at the criteria for stressful jobs, things like working under deadlines, physical demands of the job, environmental condition hazards, is your life at risk, are you responsible for the life of someone else, they rank like ‘zero’ on pretty much all of them,” Lee stated. “There’s no physical risk at all, and no one is depending on you in your job to make their life expectancy last longer,” he added in the Forbes story.

MLTs, as well as medical technologists, pathologists and clinical laboratory managers, might see things differently.

MLTs and other clinical laboratory personnel are well aware of the potential safety hazards inherent in medical laboratory work.

For example, in one of its e-briefings, Dark Daily reported on a study that showed that clinical laboratory professionals exposed to certain common solvents are at increased risk of developing autoimmune connective tissue diseases. (See Dark Daily, “Health of Pathology Laboratory Technicians at Risk from Common Solvents like Xylene and Toluene”).

Beyond hazardous chemicals, there are risks from infectious diseases, microbes, sharp instruments, laboratory equipment, gases, radioactivity, and ignitable and explosive materials.

Some University Professors Are “Outraged” over the List

If medical laboratory workers take exception to the list, they will be in the company of fellow low-stress A-listers: university professors. According to Forbes staff writer, Susan Adams, she received over 150 comments from sometimes outraged faculty, who claimed that their job is quite stressful.

“I love my job,” one professor wrote. “It’s definitely deeply rewarding. But the stresses are intense and the workload never ending.”

Maybe that comes closer to accurately describing some of the other “least stressful” jobs.

In any event, hopefully medical laboratory technicians, medical technologists, and clinical laboratory scientists share similar feelings of fulfillment when they leave work at the end of their day.

—Pamela Scherer McLeod

Related Information:

The Least Stressful Jobs of 2013

Dark Daily, “Health of Pathology Laboratory Technicians at Risk from Common Solvents like Xylene and Toluene”

Safety Elements in Medical Laboratory Practice video

 What is The Dark Report medical laboratory intelligence membership service?