TN Visa Status

Professionals in medical and allied professions not listed under the USCMA look at closely related professions to try and obtain TN visa status.  Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians often look to the TN profession of Medical Lab Technicians and Technologists for TN visa status. It is important that you understand how Medical Lab Technicians and Technologists are as defined under the USMCA and whether or not you qualify before attempting to obtain TN Visa status in this profession. We review the TN profession of Medical Lab Technicians and Technologists, the requirements, and who qualifies here.

How is a “Medical Technologist” defined for TN visa status?

A Medical Technologist is defined under the USMCA as:

Medical Technologists: These professionals generally have at least a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or life sciences, or a combination of formal training and work experience. They perform complex biological, chemical, hemotaogical, immunological, miscroscopic and bacteriological tests for the purpose of diagnosing, preventing, or treatment of disease. This profession does not include x-ray, radiological, sonogram, nuclear medical, or dental technicians. 

The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) defines the role of Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians (Medical technologists), they typically do the following:

  • Analyze body fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue samples, and record normal or abnormal findings
  • Study blood samples for use in transfusions by identifying the number of cells, the cell morphology or the blood group, blood type, and compatibility with other blood types
  • Operate sophisticated laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and cell counters
  • Use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time
  • Log data from medical tests and enter results into a patient’s medical record
  • Discuss results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians

Both technicians and technologists perform tests and procedures that physicians and surgeons or other healthcare personnel order. However, technologists perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians do. For example, technologists may prepare specimens and perform detailed manual tests, whereas technicians perform routine tests that may be more automated. Clinical laboratory technicians usually work under the general supervision of clinical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers.

Technologists in small laboratories perform many types of tests; in large laboratories, they sometimes specialize. The following are examples of types of specialized clinical laboratory technologists:

  • Blood bank technologists, or immunohematology technologists, collect blood, classify it by type, and prepare blood and its components for transfusions.
  • Clinical chemistry technologists prepare specimens and analyze the chemical and hormonal contents of body fluids.
  • Cytotechnologists prepare slides of body cells and examine these cells under a microscope for abnormalities that may signal the beginning of a cancerous growth.
  • Immunology technologists examine elements of the human immune system and its response to foreign bodies.
  • Microbiology technologists examine and identify bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • Molecular biology technologists perform complex protein and nucleic acid tests on cell samples.

Like technologists, clinical laboratory technicians may work in several areas of the laboratory or specialize in one area. For example, histotechnicians are a type of clinical laboratory technician who cut and stain tissue specimens for pathologists— doctors who study the cause and development of diseases at a microscopic level.

How do I qualify as a Medical Lab Technician or Technologist under the USMCA (NAFTA)?

To apply for a TN Visa as a Medical Laboratory Technologist, the applicant must meet the general eligibility requirements, obtain a valid VisaScreenAND have one of the following:

  • A Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Degree in a closely related field
  • A Post-secondary Diploma in a closely related field AND three (3) years of related experience
  • A Post-secondary Certificate in a closely related field AND three (3) years of related experience

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