Medical laboratory scientists are responsible for performing tests on biological substances within the medical field. They may specialize in immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, hematology, cytotechnology and more. Their work is supportive to physicians and critical to patient care.
Those who work as medical laboratory scientists test and analyze tissue, bodily fluids and other biological substances. Depending on the size of their laboratory, their work may be generalized or specific to a certain test or medical need. Professionals in this field record data to identify normal or abnormal findings, operate laboratory equipment and communicate the results. Others take on responsibilities specific to their area of expertise, such as counting blood cells.
Successful medical laboratory scientists must be proficient in the use of technology, particularly computerized lab equipment. They must also be detail-oriented. Because their work requires standing for long periods of time and working with precision equipment, medical laboratory scientists must also possess a great deal of physical stamina and dexterity.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical laboratory scientists earn a median annual salary of $51,770. The top 10 percent of earners can earn more than $79,530. This field is one with a great deal of promise. The BLS estimates that by 2026, employment opportunities in this line of work will grow 12 percent, a rate considered faster than average.
All medical laboratory scientists need a bachelor’s degree. Many professionals in this field begin with an associate degree or postsecondary certificate to work as a medical lab technician and then continue their education in order to enter positions of leadership. Some states also require licensure. Often, an MLT to MLS degree program is an excellent path toward advancing in the field.
A Positive Step in Your Career
For those who want to go further in their scientific careers, the online Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences – MLT to MLS track at the University of West Florida can accelerate the road to success. The program successfully prepares graduates to work as generalists who are proficient in an array of testing methodologies. Offered fully online, the degree allows working adults to attend school on a flexible schedule that fits around their work and personal commitments. The program can be completed in two years.