Interested in starting a new career as a Medical Lab Scientist? Do you have any questions about this growing profession and if it is right for you? You have come to the right place! There is currently a high demand for Medical Lab Scientists so your chances of getting a job in this field are more than excellent!
Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS), also known as Medical Technologists, are healthcare professionals who play a vital role in today’s healthcare. Medical Lab Scientists are responsible for performing chemical, hematological, bacteriological, and microscopic diagnostic analyses on all body fluids and specimens. Medical Lab Scientists may work in various settings including hospitals, doctor’s offices, biotechnology labs, and reference labs.
One common denominator among hospital patients is that they all need lab results! As a Medical Lab Scientist, you would be playing a major role in providing many pieces of the puzzle that will ultimately lead to patient diagnosis and treatment.
Medical Laboratory Scientist Job Description
Medical Laboratory Scientists are highly trained health professionals that analyzes samples of blood, body fluids, and tissue. They perform and analyze the results of complex laboratory tests and collaborate with physicians or laboratory directors on patient data. Daily duties include complex analysis of biologic, microscopic, immunologic, bacteriologic, hematologic, and chemical tests and their results. Some responsibilities of a Medical Lab Scientist might include:
- Monitoring programs that ensure data accuracy
- Examining bodily fluids and tissue microscopically
- Crossmatching blood units for transfusion
- Preparing/Reading cultures of tissue samples
- Analyzing blood samples to determine cell morphology
- Chemically analyzing blood and urines samples
- Operating, maintaining, and calibrating laboratory instruments
- Relaying lab results to physicians, researchers, or patients
- Performing quality control and analyzing lab reports for accuracy
Medical Laboratory Scientist Jobs
As mentioned, there continues to be a high demand for Medical Laboratory Scientists. Across the nation, hospitals and medical labs are in constant need of laboratorians. Upon entering this profession, you can have the security that many others can’t have during these tough economic times. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment is expected to grow by 15% between 2010 and 2020. This demand for Medical Lab Scientists may continue to grow as many of the current workers are seniors entering retirement.
Medical Laboratory Scientist Education Requirements
Medical Lab Scientists, or medical technologists, typically require a bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science (sometimes referred to as Clinical Laboratory Science). Medical Lab Technicians (MLT), on the other hand, only require a two-year associate degree. To learn more about becoming a MLT, please click here. Medical Lab Science courses are ususally extensive in laboratory and basic life sciences. In addition to classroom studies, students enrolled in a MLS program would need to complete clinical rotations at a teaching laboratory. During clinical practicum, students experience hands-on learning in every department of the laboratory and can perform laboratory tests under supervision.
In addition to graduating from an accreditted school, you must be certified by taking the national boards offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). Medical Lab Scientists who have passed the national boards are in good standing with ASCP are entitled to the “MLS” credential after their names.