What Is the Average Salary for Clinical Laboratory Scientists?

Clinical laboratory scientists conduct sophisticated laboratory tests on tissue and cell samples to detect any abnormalities that may indicate disease. Read on to learn the average salaries for this profession and the factors that affect what you earn. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Salary Overview

If you become a clinical laboratory scientist (also known as a clinical lab technologist), you could work at a hospital, clinic, medical laboratory or physician's office. You might be responsible for overseeing clinical laboratory technicians, who typically perform more basic tasks and receive lower salaries. Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures, medical and clinical laboratory technologists earned an average salary of $60,560 annually as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). However, your potential salary as a clinical lab technologist can depend on many factors, including your specialty, employer, location and experience level.

Important Facts About Clinical Laboratory Scientists

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Licensure Requirements vary per state; specifics are available through the American Society of Laboratory Science
Work Environment Hospitals; medical and diagnostic laboratories; physicians' offices; colleges, universities, and professional schools
Similar Occupations Biological technicians; chemical technicians; chemists and materials scientists; veterinary technologists and technicians

Salary by Specialty

As a clinical lab technologist, you might choose a specialty in histotechnology or cytotechnology. Histotechnologists process and stain tissue samples to look for signs of abnormalities, and cytotechnologists examine collected cell samples under the microscope for indications of cancer. According to PayScale.com, median wages were $51,916 for histotechnologists and $65,688 for cytotechnologists in September 2015.

Salary by Industry

According to the BLS, most medical and clinical laboratory technologists worked for general hospitals in May 2014 and earned average wages of $61,600 per year. Those working in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry made the highest average wage of $71,910.

Salary by Location

According to the BLS, the state that paid medical and clinical laboratory technologists the highest salary was California, which had a mean wage of $80,180 as of May 2014. Other top-paying regions were Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont, with average wages ranging from $68,000-$70,090. Regions with the lowest pay had average earnings of $31,590-$53,530. Utah, Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia were some of these locations.

Salary by Experience

PayScale.com reported that most clinical laboratory scientists with 0-5 years of professional experience made a median of $51,095 a year as of September 2015. Those with 5-10 years of professional experience earned a median salary of $59,635, while the majority of scientists with 10-20 years of work experience made a yearly median wage of $59,588.

Job Growth

The BLS reported that there were approximately 161,710 medical and clinical laboratory technologists working in the United States in May 2014. The BLS predicted that jobs for these professionals should increase 14% over the 2014-2024 decade, which was about as fast as the average for other employment sectors. The need for more advanced laboratory tests should drive growth.

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