Laboratory Science Degree Programs
Earning a degree in laboratory science can prepare you to assist doctors and detect and prevent disease via lab work. Learn about associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs in clinical laboratory science or technology, find out if these programs are offered online, and review common courses.
What Can I Do With a Degree in Laboratory Science?
A degree in laboratory science will qualify you to work as a clinical laboratory technician or technologist. Depending on the level of the degree you earn, you may be eligible to become a certified technologist or technician, typically through American Medical Technologists (AMT) or the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many employers prefer to hire candidates who are certified (www.bls.gov). To become certified, you will need to graduate from a degree program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
|Job Requirements||Accredited degree in laboratory science, optional certification via American Medical Technologists or American Society for Clinical Pathology|
|Associate's Degree Program||Two-year program, some online availability; study biology, immunology, medical terminology|
|Bachelor's Degree Program||Four-year program, online options; study microbiology, physiological chemistry, molecular diagnostics|
|Master's Degree Program||Two- to three-year program, designed for specialization|
|Median Salary (2018)||$52,330 (for all clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||13% growth (for all clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Degrees Can I Earn In Two Years or Less?
Many schools offer associate's degree programs in clinical laboratory technology and medical laboratory technology, which could prepare you for a career as a medical or clinical laboratory technician. Some programs may have prerequisite courses such as biology, chemistry and psychology. Your curriculum will include both lectures and laboratory work. Some of the topics you may study include:
- Medical terminology
- Blood banking
If you're interested in distance learning, you may be able to find hybrid programs in which a portion of your education can be completed online; however, you'll have to complete your internship or practicum and clinical requirements on campus and at a professional laboratory.
Can I Earn a Bachelor's or Master's Degree?
Bachelor's degree programs in laboratory science can be completed in about four years and will qualify you for a career as clinical laboratory technologist. You also have the option of enrolling in an on-campus or a hybrid-online program. Bachelor's degree programs include up to 60 credits of general education courses, including English, communication, science and math. Another 60 credits of coursework are required for the major and may include microbiology, molecular diagnostics, immunohematology and physiological chemistry.
Master's degree programs in clinical laboratory science are widely available at 4-year colleges and universities. These programs are typically 2-3 years in length and designed for laboratory technologists looking to specialize in a particular area of laboratory science, such as clinical research, or to move into laboratory management positions.