Bachelor's Degree Programs in Laboratory Science
Bachelor's degree programs in laboratory science are useful for those interested in medical lab careers. Read on to learn about common courses, prerequisites, online program options, and possible careers
What Will I Learn in a Laboratory Science Bachelor's Degree Program?
A bachelor's-level laboratory science curriculum typically includes mathematics, biological sciences, microbiology and statistics. You'll develop clinical laboratory skills through specialized courses in laboratory management, hematology, genetics and environmental toxicology. You'll take a combination of general education and major concentration courses to satisfy your school's credit hour requirements.
A bachelor's program in laboratory science generally takes four years to complete; a clinical internship is required to graduate. Additional topics may include:
- The immune system
- Organic chemistry
- Physiology and human anatomy
- Clinical immunohematology
|Common Courses||Organic chemistry, microorganisms, the immune system|
|Prerequisites||Associate's degree in clinical laboratory sciences (optional), letters of recommendation, resume, current employment in clinical laboratory (optional)|
|Online Availability||Mostly available online, will need a clinical training site to complete program.|
|Possible Careers||Medical technologist, laboratory technician, pathologist assistant|
Are There Any Prerequisites?
Laboratory science bachelor's degree programs are often competitive in their selection process. You may need to hold an associate's degree from a program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) or possess equivalent college credits. You might be expected to submit 2-3 letters of reference, a resume and a short statement defining your educational goals. Some programs require current employment in a clinical laboratory.
Can I Earn My Degree Online?
Bachelor's programs in laboratory science are offered in both on-campus and online formats. You'll typically have the same courses through a distance learning program as you would on-campus. A computer with Internet access and an e-mail address is required.
Interaction with peers or instructors may take place via discussion forums, chat sessions or message boards. Course content is often delivered through learning platforms like Blackboard. Although most of your courses can be completed online, you'll need to work at a clinical training site to complete the program.
What Can I Do With My Degree?
You could find work as a medical technologist, laboratory technician, pathologist's assistant or cytotechnologist. Clinical laboratory personnel analyze cells and body fluids for abnormalities, match blood types for transfusions and examine tissue samples for parasites and bacteria.
State registration or licensure may be required for laboratory work. You'll need to pass an American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) exam and possess a bachelor's degree. Upon successful completion of the ASCP exam, you'll be certified as a clinical laboratory scientist or medical technologist.
Other recognized professional agencies that offer certifications include the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel, the American Medical Technologists and the Board of Registry of the American Association of Bioanalysts.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for clinical laboratory workers was projected to increase by 13% from 2016-2026 (www.bls.gov). The median wage for a medical technologist is $52,330 as of 2018, according to the BLS; pathologists' assistants earn approximately $82,946, as reported by Salary.com.