Clinical Lab Scientist: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Educational Requirements

Explore the career requirements for clinical lab scientists. Get the facts about job duties, job outlook and education requirements to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

Clinical lab scientists examine specimens taken from the human body to understand and treat diseases. The following table summarizes key career information for clinical lab scientists.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Medical technology, life sciences
Key Responsibilities Perform tests on specimens, record data, communicate results to physicians, train medical laboratory technicians
Licensure and Certification State licensure may be required; professional certification available
Job Growth (2012-2022) 14% for all medical and clinical laboratory technologists*
Average Salary (2013) $59,460 for all medical and clinical laboratory technologists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Clinical Lab Scientist Career Like?

As a clinical lab scientist, also called a medical technologist, you perform tests in medical laboratories to study and treat diseases. You analyze specimens of cells, tissues and body fluids using microscopes and other medical technology. During research, you observe chemical reactions, examine tissue samples, blood, bacteria, fungi and other microscopic material to help physicians and nurses diagnose diseases and treat patients.

What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical and clinical laboratory technologists is projected to increase by 14% over the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). The major reason behind this expected growth is the aging U.S. population requiring diagnostic tests, as well as increased numbers of Americans with access to health insurance that includes medical care such as lab tests. You may find employment with hospitals, medical laboratories, doctor's offices and other medical lab services.

What Are the Education Requirements?

You need a degree in medical technology or a related science field of study. A typical medical technology program contains courses in cell biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology and bacteriology. College-based degree programs often include a lab internship component in which you will work in a clinic or hospital. Higher-level positions, such as lab director, require advanced degrees.

Some states may require professional certification. Certification may be offered through an organization such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). The ASCP offers multiple certification exams, which typically require proof of work experience and successful completion of an exam. In order to maintain this certification, you must continue your education through the Certification Maintenance Program (CMP). CMP requirements help you to remain abreast of changing technologies and medical advancements.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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