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Working As a Clinical Laboratory Scientist

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • $52,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Clinical Laboratory Scientist Do

Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

Duties

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians 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
  • Supervise or train medical laboratory technicians

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. Medical laboratory technicians usually work under the general supervision of medical 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 medical 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 with 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, medical laboratory technicians may work in several areas of the laboratory or specialize in one particular area. For example, histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for pathologists, who are doctors who study the cause and development of diseases at a microscopic level.

Technologists and technicians often specialize after they have worked in a particular area for a long time or have received advanced education or training in that area.

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How To Become A Clinical Laboratory Scientist

Medical laboratory technologists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Technicians usually need an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Some states require technologists and technicians to be licensed.

Education

An entry-level job for technologists usually requires a bachelor's degree in medical technology or life sciences.

A bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory technology, also known as a medical laboratory scientist degree, includes courses in chemistry, biology, microbiology, math, and statistics. Coursework emphasizes laboratory skills, including safety procedures and lab management.

The courses may be offered through a university or hospital-based program that students attend during their senior year of college. College graduates who major in other sciences and meet a program’s prerequisites, such as having completed required courses in biology and chemistry or maintaining a certain GPA, also may apply to a medical laboratory science program.

Medical laboratory technicians often complete an associate’s degree program in clinical laboratory science. A limited number of 1-year certificate programs are available from hospitals, and admission requirements vary. The Armed Forces and vocational or technical schools also may offer certificate programs for medical laboratory technicians. Technician coursework addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of each of the major laboratory disciplines.

High school students who are interested in pursuing a career in the medical laboratory sciences should take classes in chemistry, biology, and math.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed. Requirements vary by state and specialty. For specific requirements, contact state departments of health, state boards of occupational licensing, or visit The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.

Certification of medical laboratory technologists and technicians is required for licensure in some states. Although certification is not required to enter the occupation in all cases, employers typically prefer to hire certified technologists and technicians.

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians can obtain a general certification as a medical laboratory technologist or technician, respectively, or a certification in a specialty, such as cytotechnology or medical biology. Most credentialing institutions require that technologists complete an accredited education program in order to qualify to sit for an exam. For more credentialing information, visit the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must understand how to operate complex machinery.

Detail oriented. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must follow exact instructions in order to perform tests or procedures correctly.

Dexterity. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians need to be skilled with their hands. They work closely with needles and precise laboratory instruments and must handle these tools effectively.

Physical stamina. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians may work on their feet for long periods while collecting samples. They may need to lift or turn disabled patients to collect samples for testing.

Advancement

After additional education, work experience, or certification, technologists and technicians may specialize in one of many areas of laboratory science, such as immunology, histotechnology, or clinical chemistry. Some medical laboratory technicians advance to technologist positions after gaining experience and additional education.

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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Clinical Laboratory Scientist
Internship 3.8%
Generalist 3.2%
Supervisor 2.0%
Top Careers After Clinical Laboratory Scientist
Generalist 6.1%
Supervisor 3.7%
Scientist 2.7%

Do you work as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist?

Average Yearly Salary
$52,000
Show Salaries
$44,000
Min 10%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$52,000
Median 50%
$61,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
San Mateo
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Nevada
Avg Experience Level
6.1 years
How much does a Clinical Laboratory Scientist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Clinical Laboratory Scientist in the United States is $52,702 per year or $25 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $44,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $61,000.

Real Clinical Laboratory Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Clinical Laboratory Scientist UCSF Medical Center San Francisco, CA Aug 13, 2016 $125,178
Clinical Lab Scientist Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Santa Barbara, CA Dec 12, 2016 $121,046
Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Specialist In Hematology UCSF Medical Center San Francisco, CA Dec 15, 2015 $113,387
Clinical Lab Scientist Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Santa Barbara, CA Dec 12, 2016 $112,698
Clinical Lab Scientist Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Santa Barbara, CA Oct 17, 2016 $112,698
Clinical Laboratory Scientist St. Rose Hospital Hayward, CA Nov 22, 2016 $107,078
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Central California Foundation for Health Delano, CA Jan 09, 2016 $102,263
Clinical Laboratory Scientist UCSF Medical Center San Francisco, CA Jun 27, 2016 $99,633
Clinical Lab Scientist Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Santa Barbara, CA Oct 28, 2016 $98,047 -
$101,553
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Sutter Central Valley Hospitals Los Banos, CA Sep 15, 2015 $97,442
Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) Sonora Regional Medical Center Sonora, CA Dec 19, 2016 $96,949
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Barton Health South Lake Tahoe, CA Sep 19, 2016 $94,019
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Molani Medical Group, APMC CA May 15, 2016 $66,784
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA May 21, 2015 $66,373 -
$94,806
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Dec 12, 2015 $66,373 -
$94,806
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Jan 11, 2016 $65,845 -
$84,169
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 09, 2015 $65,832 -
$94,806
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 01, 2015 $65,832 -
$94,806
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Sep 08, 2016 $56,683 -
$84,169
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Dec 14, 2015 $56,683 -
$84,169
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Dec 21, 2015 $56,683 -
$84,169
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Management Health Systems, Inc. San Juan Capistrano, CA Feb 17, 2016 $56,683
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Nov 03, 2016 $56,683 -
$84,169
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Quest Diagnostics Incorporated San Juan Capistrano, CA Jan 04, 2016 $56,683 -
$84,169

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Top Skills for A Clinical Laboratory Scientist

  1. Hematology
  2. Clinical Chemistry
  3. Lab Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed analysis in Hematology and Urinalysis
  • Assisted the in the teaching of Medical Technology students, at the University of Washington, in their clinical chemistry rotation.
  • Provide comprehensive technical assistance in resolving problems related to methods, techniques, instrumentation and operation of all lab equipment.
  • Performed microbiology, mycology and bacteriology
  • Performed high volume blood banking procedures and molecular based assays Coordinated and managed blood donation drives Educated participants in tissue donation programs

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Top 10 Best States for Clinical Laboratory Scientists

  1. Alaska
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Nevada
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Oregon
  8. California
  9. Arizona
  10. Connecticut
  • (63 jobs)
  • (823 jobs)
  • (1,110 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (87 jobs)
  • (139 jobs)
  • (154 jobs)
  • (2,729 jobs)
  • (287 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)

Clinical Laboratory Scientist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 3,097 Clinical Laboratory Scientist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Clinical Laboratory Scientist Resume

View Resume Examples

Clinical Laboratory Scientist Demographics

Gender

Female

59.7%

Male

32.1%

Unknown

8.2%
Ethnicity

White

48.7%

Hispanic or Latino

21.8%

Asian

14.7%

Black or African American

9.0%

Unknown

5.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.0%

Vietnamese

10.5%

Tagalog

7.0%

Russian

5.8%

Chinese

5.8%

French

4.7%

Arabic

4.7%

Armenian

3.5%

Filipino

3.5%

Persian

3.5%

Hindi

2.3%

Greek

2.3%

Italian

2.3%

Cherokee

1.2%

Mandarin

1.2%

Korean

1.2%

Igbo

1.2%

Dari

1.2%

Bengali

1.2%

Carrier

1.2%
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Clinical Laboratory Scientist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.5%

Saint Louis University-

7.4%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

7.4%

San Jose State University

7.4%

San Francisco State University

7.1%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

7.1%

California State University - Dominguez Hills

5.7%

Loma Linda University

5.7%

University of Cincinnati

5.3%

University of North Dakota

3.9%

San Diego State University

3.9%

California State University - Los Angeles

3.9%

George Washington University

3.5%

University of California - Davis

3.5%

Johns Hopkins University

3.5%

California State University - Long Beach

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.2%

University of California - Irvine

2.8%

Illinois State University

2.8%

Arizona State University

2.8%
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Majors

Medical Technician

29.3%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

27.3%

Biology

10.0%

Microbiology

5.7%

Business

4.5%

Chemistry

3.4%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

2.7%

Public Health

1.6%

Nursing

1.6%

Management

1.5%

Medicine

1.5%

Biotechnology

1.4%

Medical Clinical Sciences

1.2%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.0%

Physician Assistant

1.0%

Education

0.9%

Biomedical Sciences

0.8%

Pharmacy

0.8%

Health Sciences And Services

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

54.6%

Masters

21.4%

Other

11.6%

Certificate

4.0%

Doctorate

4.0%

Associate

3.7%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.3%
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What Is It Like To Work As A Clinical Laboratory Scientist

4.0

CLS/MLS/MT

February 1, 2020 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Clinical Laboratory Scientist.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Clinical Laboratory Scientist?

The diagnostic science. I will one day be a DCLS and work as a diagnostician... Show More

What do you NOT like?

That we are not respected as autonomous certified individuals that are equal to nurses. Also the pay does not reflect our education and expertise... Show More

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Updated May 19, 2020