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Become A Medical Laboratory Scientist

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Working As A Medical Laboratory Scientist

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

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $52,533

    Average Salary

What Does A Medical 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 Medical 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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Medical Laboratory Scientist Jobs

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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Scientist 3.4 years
Medical Scientist 3.2 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 5.1%
Volunteer 2.8%
Supervisor 2.4%
Generalist 2.0%
Top Employers After
Supervisor 5.5%
Scientist 3.0%

Do you work as a Medical Laboratory Scientist?

Medical Laboratory Scientist Demographics

Gender

Female

62.4%

Male

34.3%

Unknown

3.3%
Ethnicity

White

56.4%

Hispanic or Latino

14.6%

Asian

12.1%

Black or African American

11.6%

Unknown

5.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.4%

French

11.1%

Chinese

4.4%

Vietnamese

4.4%

Hindi

4.4%

Mandarin

4.4%

Italian

4.4%

Swahili

2.2%

Portuguese

2.2%

Nepali

2.2%

Wolof

2.2%

Russian

2.2%

Urdu

2.2%

Tagalog

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Gujarati

2.2%

German

2.2%
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Medical Laboratory Scientist Education

Schools

University of Cincinnati

13.3%

Wichita State University

7.4%

Weber State University

7.4%

Northern Illinois University

7.4%

Texas State University

6.9%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

5.4%

University of Nebraska Medical Center

4.9%

Illinois State University

4.4%

Michigan State University

4.4%

University of Delaware

4.4%

Eastern Kentucky University

3.9%

University of Texas Medical Branch

3.9%

University of Washington

3.4%

University of North Dakota

3.4%

University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth

3.4%

Idaho State University

3.4%

University of Southern Mississippi

3.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.0%

University of West Florida

3.0%

George Washington University

3.0%
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Majors

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

49.7%

Medical Technician

14.2%

Biology

7.2%

Business

4.2%

Microbiology

3.2%

Public Health

2.4%

Health Care Administration

2.1%

Nursing

2.1%

Chemistry

1.8%

Management

1.6%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.6%

Pharmacy

1.3%

Health Sciences And Services

1.3%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.3%

Clinical Psychology

1.1%

Physician Assistant

1.1%

Biomedical Sciences

1.0%

Criminal Justice

1.0%

Medicine

0.9%

Health And Wellness

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

51.2%

Masters

21.2%

Other

13.7%

Certificate

6.6%

Associate

3.3%

Doctorate

3.1%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.1%
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Real Medical Laboratory Scientist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Medical Laboratory Scientist Total Toxicology Labs LLC Southfield, MI Aug 23, 2015 $89,648
Medical Laboratory Scientist Banner Churchill Community Hospital Fallon, NV Sep 09, 2013 $76,635
Medical Laboratory Scientist Spectra East, Inc., A Fresenius Medical Care N.A. Company New York, NY Sep 26, 2016 $67,642
Medical Laboratory Scientist Spectra East, Inc. DBA Spectra Laboratories, A Fresenius Medical Care New York, NY Aug 01, 2016 $65,574
Medical Laboratory Scientist Western Arizona Regional Medical Center Bullhead City, AZ Mar 08, 2016 $60,466
Medical Laboratory Scientist Southwest Labs Albuquerque, NM Mar 17, 2016 $60,000
Medical Laboratory Scientist Morrill County Community Hospital Bridgeport, NE Jun 22, 2016 $58,802
Medical Lab Scientist Memorial Hospital of Laramie County Cheyenne, WY Aug 22, 2016 $58,582 -
$69,080
Medical Laboratory Scientist Texas Health Prebyterian Hospital Dallas Dallas, TX Feb 12, 2016 $57,075 -
$62,075
Medical Laboratory Scientist Management Health Systems, Inc. San Juan Capistrano, CA Nov 15, 2016 $56,766
Medical Laboratory Scientist Kearny County Hospital Lakin, KS Jan 07, 2016 $56,349
Medical Laboratory Scientist Kearny County Hospital Lakin, KS Jan 02, 2016 $56,349
Medical Laboratory Scientist Duke University and Medical Center Durham, NC Jan 10, 2016 $53,615
Medical Laboratory Scientist University of Colorado Health Aurora, CO Aug 06, 2015 $52,266
Medical Laboratory Scientist Banner Health Fairbanks, AK Dec 16, 2013 $52,112 -
$83,334
Medical Lab Scientist Timpanogos Regional Medical Services, Inc. Orem, UT Jul 21, 2016 $52,029
Medical Laboratory Scientist Sanford Health Network Sheldon, IA Mar 09, 2016 $51,189
Medical Lab Scientist Sanford Health Network Sheldon, IA Aug 24, 2016 $51,189
Medical Lab Scientist II University of Maryland Medical System Baltimore, MD Jun 01, 2012 $49,900 -
$67,139
Medical Laboratory Scientist Morrill County Community Hospital Bridgeport, NE Jun 01, 2015 $49,838
Medical Laboratory Scientist Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle Azle, TX Oct 01, 2013 $49,500 -
$55,500
Medical Laboratory Scientist University of Maryland Medical Center Baltimore, MD Jun 01, 2015 $47,897
Medical Laboratory Scientist I University of Maryland Medical System Baltimore, MD May 13, 2012 $47,897
Medical Laboratory Scientist Rapides Regional Medical Center Alexandria, LA Apr 01, 2012 $47,479
Medical Laboratory Scientist II University of Maryland Medical System Baltimore, MD Dec 16, 2012 $47,438 -
$67,139
Medical Lab Scientist II University of Maryland Medical System Baltimore, MD Aug 01, 2012 $47,438 -
$67,139
Medical Lab Scientist II Univeristy of Maryland Medical System Baltimore, MD May 21, 2013 $47,438 -
$52,196
Medical Laboratory Scientist Western Arizona Regional Medical Center Bullhead City, AZ May 01, 2015 $47,104
Medical Laboratory Scientist Rapides Regional Medical Center Alexandria, LA Mar 30, 2015 $47,104

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Top Skills for A Medical Laboratory Scientist

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  1. Laboratory Specimens
  2. Clinical Chemistry
  3. Hematology
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Identified and solved problems related to the collection and processing of biological laboratory specimens.
  • Performed various duties to include hematology, immunology, blood banking, bacteriology and related clinical chemistry.
  • Managed Hematology Laboratory Department Inventory.
  • Review and analyze daily quality control data and takes the appropriate steps to insure quality results associated with microbiology procedures.
  • Performed both routine and fairly complex diagnostic laboratory procedures in accordance with prescribed techniques and methods.

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Top 10 Best States for Medical Laboratory Scientists

  1. Alaska
  2. New Hampshire
  3. New York
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Montana
  6. Connecticut
  7. New Jersey
  8. Vermont
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Nevada
  • (52 jobs)
  • (121 jobs)
  • (967 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (72 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)
  • (327 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (471 jobs)
  • (80 jobs)

Top Medical Laboratory Scientist Employers

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Jobs From Top Medical Laboratory Scientist Employers

Medical Laboratory Scientist Videos

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