Medical Lab Technician vs Nursing: Which One Should You Choose?


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Deciding between a medical lab technician vs nursing course can be tricky. Though they differ, both offer certain advantages and have specific roles. This blog will discuss what to consider while choosing one over the other and guide your career choice in the healthcare sector. So, read on!


What does a Medical lab technician do?

Have you ever found it interesting to work in a lab running tests? Let us discuss training to become medical lab technicians. 

Learning how to test samples of tissues and body fluids like blood and urine can assist doctors in diagnosing what's going on within a patient's body. That’s what a medical lab technician (MLT) does. Likewise, there are other responsibilities as well. You will learn about them in the following sections of this blog. Before that, understand how you can become a medical lab technician.


How to become a Medical lab technician?

You have to attend a medical lab technician course to be an MLT. Usually, these programs take four years to complete. The eligibility of this course is that the candidates should have passed their 10+2 or an equivalent exam with the science stream having physics, chemistry, and biology (PCB), with a minimum aggregate of 40% marks. 

You will learn all about lab work and testing throughout your education. You will study medical terminology, significant terms for medical stuff, anatomy, learning about the human body, and lab equipment usage.

You can check out the ITM Bachelor of Science in Medical Lab Technology program for medical lab technician course details, including eligibility, curriculum, and fees.


What is Nursing?

Nursing is a healthcare career that involves helping people, families, and communities preserve or recover ideal health. The various responsibilities of nurses include:

  • Maintaining medical records
  • Developing and implementing nursing care plans
  • Assessing patient requirements and health conditions

They provide direct patient care and emotional support to patients and their families. Thus, a nurse in the room will help the patient in every way necessary.


What is the eligibility to become a nurse?

Candidates must fulfill the following eligibility criteria to become a nurse:

  • You must be 17 years old by December 31 of the application year.
  • You must have passed English, completed 10+2 with science (PCB), and achieved a minimum aggregate of 40%.
  • You must have cleared the Nursing CET test.

Your studies will include the human body, medicine, and patient care. Working at clinics and hospitals will provide you with practical experience.


Lab technician and Nursing: A look at the differences

Now, let's compare the two professions to get an answer to the common question: Nursing or MLT, which is better?

Parameter Medical Lab Technician Nurse
Primary Responsibilities Preparing medical reports through lab tests to help doctors detect diseases. Administering medication of patient.
Create treatment plans. Check vitals and ensure the comfort of patients.
Listening to patient concerns and providing daily care.
Impact The impact of MLT is vital for diagnosing diseases and informing patients of treatment plans. A nurse’s work directly affects and improves patients' time in the hospital.
Salary The average salary for an MLT is approximately INR 2.6 LPA. The average salary for nurses in India is INR 2 to 4.5 LPA with 3-4 years of experience (Source) and INR 5.9 to 7.5 LPA for those with more than six years of experience.
Work Environment An MLT works in laboratory settings that involve handling and analyzing biological samples. Nurses may work in various healthcare establishments, including hospitals, clinics, and community health centers.
Skill Requirements Strong analytical skills Excellent communication skills
Attention to detail Proficiency in clinical procedures
Proficiency in using lab equipment Empathy, patience, and interpersonal skills


Medical laboratory technician vs Nursing: Which one should you choose?

Do you wonder about the future of your chosen professional path? Medical lab technicians (MLTs) and nurses have exciting prospects.


Medical lab technicians

Thanks to developments in technology and healthcare, trained medical lab technicians will always be in demand. You will have to be updated about new lab techniques and technology, and plenty of tools will assist you in staying current. 

MLTs will become even more important as technology develops, so this is a steady and exciting career path.



Still one of the fastest-growing professions, nursing is employed in many diverse fields and settings. Growing experience allows you to focus on patient care in fields such as pediatrics, cancer, or geriatrics, the kind that interests you. 

More experience also qualifies you for leadership roles, including nurse manager, director of nursing, or nurse executive. Nursing offers limitless opportunities, which makes it an exciting and fulfilling career path.

However, the answer to "Which is better, nursing or lab technician?" will depend on your interests and how you plan your future according to the growing need for these two.



After looking at all the differences between medical lab technology and nursing, the answer to the question: “Medical laboratory technician vs nursing, which is better for you?” must be clear. Whether your pull is the compassion of patient care or the excitement of the lab, there’s much to learn in either profession. So, the answer to the question "Which is better, nursing or lab technician?" will depend on your professional goals and personal preferences.

At ITM, you receive personalized support and guidance with the medical lab technician course and nursing course. The programs help you evaluate your interests and career goals to make an informed decision. Whether you're passionate about becoming a medical lab technician or a nurse, ITM offers personalized guidance every step of the way.


Frequently asked questions

1) What is the main difference between a medical lab technician and a nurse?

A nurse works directly with patients, giving them medication and providing care. On the other hand, an MLT mainly operates in a lab doing tests on samples, including blood and urine.

2) Does one need a college degree to be a nurse or an MLT?

To qualify as an MLT, one must complete a medical lab technician course after high school. Similarly, one must attend nursing school after high school.

3) What is the work schedule for a medical laboratory technician and a nurse?

MLTs have set regular hours with some possible weekend work. Nurses work varying shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays, to ensure proper patient care.

4) Does someone focus on a particular area as an MLT or a nurse?

Both nurses and MLTs can focus on several fields. While nurses can specialize in fields such as pediatrics or cancer (and many more), MLTs can concentrate on disciplines like microbiology or hematology.

5) What is the employment prospect for nurses and MLTs?

Both lines of work offer good employment possibilities. An aging population and expanding demand for healthcare services call for MLTs. Nursing is still one of the fastest-growing professional paths, with many opportunities.

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