Medical Laboratory (4T0X1)

Air Force Enlisted Job Descriptions

Specialty Summary: Tests and analyzes specimens of human origin and other substances by established scientific laboratory techniques to aid in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases or to support medical research; and supervises medical laboratory activities. Related DoD Occupational Subgroup: 311.

Duties and Responsibilities

Performs hematological tests and urinalyses. Accomplishes standardized quantitative and qualitative evaluation of erythrocytes, leukocytes, and thrombocytes. Examines stained blood smears microscopically and refers any abnormal cells to superiors. Performs coagulation studies on human blood and plasma. Performs chemical, macroscopic, and microscopic urine specimen examinations.

Performs chemical analysis. Analyses human material or other products submitted to the laboratory, using photometric, calorimetric, titrimetric, radioisotope, or any other chemical or physical procedures applicable to clinical chemistry.

Calibrates and maintains all instruments. Makes necessary calculations and reports data to superiors. Reviews all chemistry procedures to ensure current procedures are used.

Performs blood bank duties. Draws and processes blood aseptically by standardized techniques. Completely types donors' and recipients' blood; assists in cross matching blood to establish donor-recipient compatibility, reporting any abnormal reactions to immediate supervisor. Prepares blood derivatives. Accomplishes all techniques required for blood transfusion service.

Performs microbiological and serological tests. Conducts procedures to isolate and identify bacteria by gross and microscopic examination, staining, biochemical and immunological procedures, or any other determination of growth characteristics. Performs sensitivity test on pathogenic bacteria. Assists in identifying viruses and fungi. Applies parasitological techniques to recover and identify parasites. Applies standard serological tests for identifying antibodies specific to diseases.

Accomplishes general medical laboratory duties.

Conducts bacteriological and chemical examination of food products, water, dairy products, and sewage incidental to preventive and veterinary medicine programs. Takes all necessary precautions to maintains safe conditions in laboratory for both laboratory and hospital personnel. Performs preventative maintenance procedures on laboratory equipment. Performs and evaluates laboratory quality control procedures. Prepares reagents for use in test performance.

Plans, organizes, directs, coordinates, and evaluates medical laboratory activity.

Composes local medical laboratory regulations. Applies continuous effective internal quality control of all medical laboratory departments. Advises superiors regarding status and adequacy of equipment, supplies, personnel training, and operating efficiency. Coordinates with other activities, agencies, and organizations. Resolves problems about operating medical laboratory activities. Inspects medical laboratory activities. Furnishes deficiency reports and outstanding accomplishments to superiors.

Interprets inspection findings and recommends corrective actions.

Performs medical laboratory functions. Assists medical officers and allied scientist in research assignments in broad pathology field. Prepares tissue for electron microscopy. Directs toxicology procedures performance incident to aerospace pathology and forensic medicine programs. Assists in epidemiological investigations. Assists biological warfare officer in developing procedures for detecting bacteriological agents incident to biological warfare.

Specialty Qualifications

Knowledge. Knowledge is mandatory of hematology, urinalyses, clinical chemistry, microbiology, blood banking, immunology, medical terminology, medical ethics applicable to performing medical laboratory procedures, medical laboratory management and medical administrative principles, pathology and histopathology fundamentals, and routine equipment maintenance.

Education. For entry into this specialty, completion of high school courses in algebra and chemistry is mandatory. Completion of high school courses in biology, zoology, and other basic science is desirable.

Training. For award of AFSC 4T031, completion of the basic medical laboratory course is mandatory.

Experience. The following experience is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated: (Note: See Explanation of Air Force Specialty Codes).

4T051. Qualification and in possession of AFSC 4T031. Also, experience in performing functions in urinalyses, hematology, bacteriology, serology, and chemistry.

4T071. Qualification in and possession of AFSC 4T051. Also, experience performing or supervising functions such as work normally performed in a routine clinical laboratory (class A dispensary or hospital), specialty performance of tests or technical supervisory experience in clinical chemistry, bacteriology, toxicology, or virology at class A, class B, or analogous laboratory; or combination of foregoing types of experience.

Other. For entry into this specialty, normal color vision as defined in AFI 48-123Medical Examination and Standards, is mandatory.

Strength Req: G

Physical Profile333333

Citizenship No

Required Appitude Score : G-58(Changed to G-62, effective 1 October 2004).

Technical Training:

Course #: J3AQR4T031 000

Length (Days): 84

Course #: J5BO4T031 000

Length (Days): 180

Location: Var

Note About Phase II of the training. The second course is an "internship" performed for at least 180 days at one of the major USAF Hospitals. The following information was provided by AXOLOTL1, a member of our Message Forum:

Unless things have changed drastically in the last couple of years, there are only about 11 sites in the Air Force where a Medical Laboratory Apprentice can attend Phase II training. Most of these are at fairly large medical treatment facilities like Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB, TX, or Keesler Medical Center at Keesler AFB, MS. Off the top of my head, I think the Phase II locations are: Lackland AFB and Sheppard AFB in TX, Keesler AFB in MS, Scott AFB in IL, Andrews AFB in MD, Travis AFB in CA, Wright-Patterson AFB in OH, Hill AFB in UT, Tinker AFB in OK, the Air Force Academy in CO, and Eglin AFB in FL.

Each Phase II training site can accept only a certain number of students. Lackland and Keesler accept the largest numbers of students by far so you have a pretty good chance of going to Phase II at one of those. The others range from about 20 students down to 3 students in the training pipeline at any given time. If a training site has all of its training slots filled, that Phase II site will probably not be offered to you as one of your choices.

Further shrinking the pool of available sites is the fact that National Guard and Reservist trainees usually get priority for training at the bases closest to where their home unit is. Cross-training active duty members also get to pick from the available training sites before they are offered to members in initial skill training.

It's possible that the top five students in each class might get to choose where they want to go, but it's more likely that they just get first pick of whatever is left after everyone else is done. I'm also very sure that only bases with a Phase II laboratory training program are available for selection, so just let any dreams of training at Hickam AFB, HI go right now.

I attended the Medical Laboratory apprentice course over seven years ago. I graduated first in my class of 21 students, and the cross-trainees did not pick from the list of available training sites like the rest of us. The bases available to the 14 initial training students were Scott, Lackland, Sheppard, Keesler, and the Air Force Academy. As the highest scoring student, I got to pick first from those limited choices, and the lowest scoring airman had to accompany me. The second highest scoring student chose next, and the 2nd to last airman accompanied him. etc...etc until all the students had been placed. Most of the slots (6) were at Lackland, so that's where the middle students went.