Gabriel Aguilar

Medical Lab Technician
Medical Edge Health Inc.

“Lisa Lock in El Centro’s Medical Lab Technician program told me about the dual associate degree with Biotechnology when she was explaining the health program's core curriculum. I really didn’t know anything about biotechnology, but I thought it sounded interesting, so I applied and I got accepted.

“I always wanted to be a scientist when I was a kid, so working in a lab has kind of fulfilled that dream. The faculty in both programs were great, really up-to-date with their information and very knowledgeable in their field of work. Dr. Kaur would bring in journals and all kinds of information about what was going on the real world of biotechnology today.

“I’m using all of the techniques I learned on the job. You have to use an aseptic technique in the lab setting so that your samples don’t get contaminated. I learned how to work with pipettes, run experiments and read slides — all techniques I use every day on the job. You have to keep your mind on what you’re doing and do the process right each time so you don’t get erroneous results.

“The laboratory setting is a complex place and involves the use of multi-tasking to the highest extent. The Medical Laboratory Technician program at El Centro, under the guidance of Lisa Lock, truly prepared me to be successful in this career. Med techs have a great responsibility to test and report accurate measurement of patient samples in order to provide the best possible quality of health care for every patient.

“I finished my associate degrees and then took about three months to study for the medical clinical pathology boards. After I passed the exam, I interviewed for several jobs and picked the one that was right for me.

“I’d love to do research someday that would help cure cancer or tell us new things about cloning. The biotechnology field is only about 30 years old, so there’s a lot of research going on about genetic diseases. The industry so far is mostly based in Europe and Asia and is just now making it to the U.S.

“After graduation from El Centro and being certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathology, it was like most people beginning a new career in the health care field: long hours, weekends and third shifts, but with hard and determination, it pays off. I am now currently the laboratory supervisor at my job, and my goal is to continue to move up and become the director of laboratory services.”

Gabriel Aguilar is a medical lab technician for Medical Edge Health Inc., a physician-owned lab that does general chemistry, immunology, hematology and urinalysis. He earned dual associate degrees in Biotechnology and Medical Lab Technology from El Centro ​and is working on a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of North Texas.