Career Development

What Does a Specimen Processor Do?

Find out what a specimen processor does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a specimen processor.

Specimen processors are responsible for handling and processing biological samples. They may be tasked with preparing, storing, and shipping specimens to a laboratory for testing or analysis.

Specimen processors must follow strict protocols when handling these sensitive materials. They must also adhere to safety standards and procedures in order to prevent contamination or other issues that could affect the quality of the results they produce.

Specimen Processor Job Duties

Specimen processors have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Making sure that laboratory equipment is working properly and reporting any malfunctions to the appropriate staff member
  • Performing routine maintenance of equipment such as sterilizing glassware, preparing solutions, and disposing of waste materials
  • Packaging specimens for shipment using specialized shipping materials such as cardboard boxes with internal padding materials designed to protect fragile specimens from damage during transport
  • Reviewing test results for accuracy and reporting any discrepancies to the appropriate staff member
  • Preparing specimens for analysis by performing tasks such as weighing, measuring, or labeling samples for identification purposes
  • Ensuring that all specimens are stored in an environmentally controlled facility to prevent spoilage or contamination
  • Preparing specimens for examination through methods such as cutting tissue samples into thin slices for microscopic examination or extracting fluid samples from organs for chemical testing
  • Communicating with patients regarding test results and next steps in treatment plans
  • Maintaining confidential records of all patient information to ensure privacy is protected

Specimen Processor Salary & Outlook

The salary of a specimen processor can vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $31,500 ($15.14/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)

The employment of specimen processors is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for specimen processing services will continue to increase as healthcare providers and medical testing companies seek cost-effective ways to provide services to their customers. In addition, the increasing use of mobile devices in healthcare settings will require more specimen processing services.

Related: Specimen Processor Interview Questions and Answers

Specimen Processor Job Requirements

A specimen processor typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most employers require specimen processors to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry or forensic science. Some employers may hire candidates with an associate’s degree or a diploma in medical laboratory technology.

Training & Experience: Most employers will provide on-the-job training for new specimen processors. This training will teach you how to use the laboratory equipment and how to handle and process specimens. Training may also include how to use the laboratory’s computer systems and how to organize and label specimens.

Some specimen processors may receive additional training to learn how to use specialized equipment. For example, a clinical laboratory may train a specimen processor to use a microscope to identify bacteria or viruses.

Certifications & Licenses: While not a requirement for the job, certification can help you become a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs. Some specimen processor jobs may require certification or licensure.

Specimen Processor Skills

Specimen processors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to detail: The ability to pay attention to detail is important in specimen processing because it ensures the quality of the products you produce. For example, if you notice a defect in a product, you can take the time to remove it to ensure the rest of the product is free of defects. This can help you maintain the quality of your products and ensure you meet customer expectations.

Time management: Time management is another skill that specimen processors use to complete their tasks. They often work on tight deadlines, so they need to prioritize their tasks and manage their time accordingly. This can include knowing how long each task takes and adjusting their schedule accordingly.

Communication: Communication is another skill that specimen processors use in their jobs. They often work in teams and communicate with other employees to complete tasks. They also communicate with customers to answer questions and provide information about specimens. Effective communication skills can help specimen processors build relationships with others and work efficiently.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify issues and find solutions. As a specimen processor, you may be responsible for ensuring that all specimens are properly labeled and stored. This may involve identifying issues with the labeling system or finding a way to store specimens that aren’t labeled. Being able to identify issues and find solutions can help you complete your tasks and ensure that specimens are properly stored.

Organizational: As a specimen processor, you may be responsible for maintaining records of specimens, including their location, condition and other details. You may also be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of your work area and ensuring that all specimens are properly stored. Organizational skills can help you perform your duties efficiently and effectively.

Specimen Processor Work Environment

Specimen processors work in clinical laboratories where they receive, prepare, and process patient specimens for testing. They work with a variety of instruments and chemicals and must follow strict safety procedures. Most specimen processors work full time, and some may work evenings or weekends to keep the laboratory running smoothly. The work can be repetitive and sometimes stressful, but specimen processors are an important part of the healthcare team and play a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Specimen Processor Trends

Here are three trends influencing how specimen processors work. Specimen processors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for Better Communication Between Healthcare Providers and Patients

The need for better communication between healthcare providers and patients is becoming increasingly important as the medical industry becomes more complex.

Specimen processors can play a key role in this process by helping to ensure that all parties are on the same page regarding test results, treatment plans, and other important information. In addition, they can also help to facilitate communication between patients and their families, which can be especially helpful for those who do not speak English as a first language.

More Focus on Patient Experience

The patient experience is becoming increasingly important in the medical field, as hospitals and clinics strive to provide a more comfortable and relaxing environment for their patients. This trend is likely to continue as more and more patients demand better care.

As a specimen processor, you can capitalize on this trend by developing skills that make you an asset to your employer. These skills may include customer service, data entry, or blood collection. By becoming an expert in one of these areas, you will be able to provide your employer with the best possible service and set yourself up for success in the future.

Greater Use of Technology in the Workplace

The use of technology in the workplace is increasing at a rapid pace, and this is having a significant impact on the way that businesses operate. Specimen processors are among the most affected by this trend, as they are now required to use technology in order to collect and process specimens.

This requires them to be familiar with a variety of different software programs, as well as how to use common office equipment such as scanners and printers. In addition, they must be able to work efficiently and effectively while using technology, as this is what employers are looking for in candidates.

How to Become a Specimen Processor

A career as a specimen processor can be both rewarding and lucrative. It’s a great way to get started in the medical field, and it offers many opportunities for growth. As you progress in your career, you may want to specialize in a particular area of medicine. You could also move up the ranks and become a supervisor or manager.

No matter what stage you’re at in your career, there will always be new challenges to tackle and new skills to learn. This is a field that’s constantly evolving, so you’ll never be bored.

Advancement Prospects

Specimen processors typically start out in entry-level positions, such as specimen clerk or medical records clerk. With experience, they may advance to positions such as lead processor or supervisor. Some specimen processors may move into related occupations, such as medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians. Others may become medical and health services managers.

Specimen Processor Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide vital laboratory testing services that give our clients the information they need to make important decisions about their health. We are currently seeking a detail-oriented and organized individual to join our team as a Specimen Processor. In this role, you will be responsible for receiving and preparing patient specimens for testing according to established protocols. You will also maintain accurate records of specimen processing activities and ensure that all specimens are handled and stored properly. The ideal candidate for this position will have previous experience working in a laboratory or healthcare setting and will be able to work independently with minimal supervision.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Perform all specimen processing activities in compliance with established policies and procedures
  • Adhere to quality control guidelines to ensure the accuracy of test results
  • Maintain a clean and organized work area
  • Prepare specimens for testing according to laboratory protocol
  • Perform data entry of patient information into the laboratory information system
  • Accession specimens into the laboratory information system
  • Verify that all required information is present on requisitions
  • Print labels and attach them to specimen tubes
  • centrifuge, aliquot, and freeze specimens as needed
  • Scan processed specimens into the laboratory information system
  • Notify physicians or other health care providers of abnormal test results
  • File completed paperwork

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • 1-2 years of experience in a laboratory setting preferred
  • Ability to work independently with little supervision
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Good manual dexterity
  • Basic math skills
  • Familiarity with computers and basic office equipment

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree in medical laboratory technology or related field
  • Certification as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) or Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS)
  • Experience with automated laboratory equipment
  • Knowledge of quality control procedures
  • Strong organizational skills


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