Clinical laboratories are facing a shortage of laboratory personnel, according to the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). This causes great concern, as laboratory testing is critical for diagnoses and the treatment of patients in need. For you, however, this shortage may be encouraging. It means opportunity. To land a job in this field, and pave the path for future medical testing and research, you must pursue a Medical Laboratory Science degree. Now is the time. This exciting degree path can open up a world of possibilities and a wide variety of excellent careers in the field of laboratory science.
What Goes Into a Medical Laboratory Science Degree?
A Medical Laboratory Science degree prepares students to work in a laboratory setting in a number of positions. In a Medical Laboratory Science program, students learn how to examine and analyze body fluids and cells; identify bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms; and analyze the chemical content of blood and body fluids. All of this is learned in both a classroom and laboratory.
The curriculum of a Medical Laboratory Science degree is built upon a foundation of general education credits including courses in Chemistry, Precalculus, English Composition, and Humanities. In addition to general education classes, students in this program must take science foundation courses including:
- General Biology
- Organic Chemistry
Medical laboratory students must also take classes specific to their degree program. Classes in this area can include:
- Clinical Chemistry
- Medical Bacteriology
- Physiological Chemistry
Students will also take clinical lab rotations that will prepare them for practical work in the field.
This degree is usually completed in-person and full-time. However, part-time study is possible until clinical rotations. During clinical rotation semesters, students work full-time in a clinical laboratory at an assigned site, four days out of the workweek. One day of the week will be spent in class. The degree typically takes a minimum of four years to complete.
What Can You Do With a Medical Laboratory Science Degree in Hand?
There are a wide variety of careers that a Medical Laboratory Science degree can prepare you for after graduation. If you’re considering a Medical Laboratory Science job in Connecticut, there’s a strong chance that earning a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite. Here are just a few job options available to those who earn a bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science.
Biological technicians conduct scientific tests, experiments, and analyses under the supervision of biologists and medical scientists. Biological technicians use specialized computer software, laboratory instruments, robotics, and automated equipment to collect samples, analyze them, and model experimental data. They typically work in laboratories or offices and may work for colleges and universities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, or research and development outfits. They can work in a variety of research areas, including medicine, zoology, or ecology.
In order to become a biological technician, students must earn a degree in biology or laboratory science. It is critical that students gain laboratory experience while in school in order to pursue this career. The median pay for biological technicians is $46,340 per year. Employment in this career is expected to grow by 7% between now and 2030.
Immunology technologists fall under the broader career classification of medical laboratory scientist. They work specifically under the direction of immunologists to assist them in their research. They perform complex medical laboratory tests to help diagnose, treat, and ultimately prevent disease. Their work is crucial to the development of vaccines as well as the development of cancer treatments. They may conduct tests and experiments on both human and animal subjects and also monitor and care for research animals. They may also assist laboratory staff members in maintaining and ordering inventory of supplies and equipment for their laboratory.
Immunology technologists must earn a degree in laboratory science, biology, or physical science. They will also need experience in the lab as well as clinical and research experience (which may be earned both in school and in post-baccalaureate internships). The pay for immunology technologists ranges between $63,682 and $90,453, depending on experience and education level.
Medical Laboratory Scientist
Medical laboratory scientists, sometimes called medical technologists, analyze biological specimens through various scientific tests. These highly specialized laboratory workers can perform a variety of complex, manual tests that can be used to help physicians make decisions about a patient’s diagnosis and treatment plan.
Medical laboratory scientists are required to earn a bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science or Clinical Laboratory Science from a college or university accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. After graduation, prospective medical laboratory scientists can pursue licensure by taking and passing an examination by the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Licensure requirements vary from state to state. Medical laboratory scientists earn a mean annual wage of $62,440.
Microbiology technologists test for and analyze fungi, viruses, and microscopic bacteria on behalf of hospitals and medical laboratories. Microbiologists divide their work time between laboratory work, administrative, and technical responsibilities. They use complex lab equipment, update medical records, and may also be responsible for training and supervising other laboratory technicians. They typically work closely with medical scientists and physicians to assist them in their work.
In order to become a microbiology technologist, interested parties must earn a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or laboratory science. In many states, graduates of such a bachelor’s program will need to earn licensure through the American Society of Clinical Pathology or the American Medical Technologists Association in order to work in a laboratory. The median salary for microbiology technologists is $47,495 annually. However the 90th percentile of workers can earn up to $71,000 per year, depending on education level and experience.
A future in Medical Laboratory Science can be challenging and rewarding. The work that medical laboratory workers do can help doctors diagnose and treat illnesses, assist immunologists in the development of vaccines, and facilitate the development of cutting edge pharmaceuticals and treatments. Whether you’re interested in pursuing a career working directly with doctors, or you’re drawn to working with animals, there is a need for medical laboratory specialists who are curious, hard-working, and motivated. Perhaps now is the perfect time to begin your exploration of a bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science.
Ready for a career in Medical Laboratory Science? Learn more about University of Bridgeport’s Medical Laboratory Science degree!