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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.

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, clinical laboratory technologists and technicians earned an average salary of $55,990 annually as of May 2020 (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 $55,457 for histotechnologists and $71,123 for cytotechnologists in April 2021.

Salary by Industry

According to the BLS, most clinical laboratory technologists and technicians worked for general medical and surgical hospitals in May 2020 and earned median wages of $57,610 per year. Those working for wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers earned the highest average annual wage at $87,110.

Salary by Location

According to the BLS, the state that paid clinical laboratory technologists and technicians the highest salary was Alaska, which had a mean wage of $69,390 as of May 2029. Other top-paying regions were Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Oregon, with average wages ranging from $67,930-$69,340. Regions with the lowest pay had average earnings of $40,350-$53,340. Mississippi, Georgia, Michigan, Kansas and West Virginia were some of these locations.

Salary by Experience

PayScale.com reported that most entry-level medical/clinical laboratory scientists made a median of $50,102 a year as of April 2021. Mid-career professionals earned a median salary of $59,621, while the majority of experienced scientists made a yearly median wage of $61,507.

Job Growth

The BLS reported that there were approximately 337,800 clinical laboratory technologists and technicians working in the United States in May 2020. The BLS predicted that jobs for all medical and clinical laboratory technologists should increase 7% over the 2019-2029 decade, which is faster than the average for other employment sectors. The need for more advanced laboratory tests should drive growth.