What can you do with a degree in Medical Technology?
Many things! But first, it may be helpful to ask yourself a few questions:
Does finding solutions to problems intrigue you?
Do you welcome new challenges?
Do you wish to help save lives?
Do you desire guaranteed employment opportunities?
Did you like biology in high school/college?
If so, clinical laboratory science could be a great career for you! Join over one half million laboratory practitioners in the U.S. who are proud of their many roles in healthcare, research and industry!
Clinical laboratory science professionals, often called medical laboratorians, are vital healthcare detectives, uncovering and providing laboratory information from laboratory analyses that assist physicians in patient diagnosis and treatment, as well as in disease monitoring or prevention (maintenance of health). We use sophisticated biomedical instrumentation and technology, computers, and methods requiring manual dexterity to perform laboratory testing on blood and body fluids. Laboratory testing encompasses such disciplines as clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology, immunohematology, microbiology, and molecular biology. Clinical laboratory science professionals generate accurate laboratory data that are needed to aid in detecting cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, infectious mononucleosis, and identification of bacteria or viruses that cause infections, as well as in detecting drugs of abuse. In addition, we monitor testing quality and consult with other members of the healthcare team.
The clinical laboratory science profession has more than one career track based on level of education: clinical laboratory technician (2 years) and clinical laboratory scientist (4 to 5 years). Clinical laboratory technicians are competent in the collection, processing and analysis of biological specimens, the performance of lab procedures, the maintenance of instruments, and relating lab findings to common diseases/conditions. Clinical laboratory scientists have a more extensive theoretical knowledge base. Therefore they not only perform laboratory procedures including very sophisticated analyses, but also evaluate/interpret the results, integrate data, problem solve, consult, conduct research and develop new test methods.
If a hospital, physician's office, or clinic laboratory is not the environment you may choose, clinical laboratory science professionals find challenging employment in a variety of arenas. From industrial, research, or public health laboratories, to forensic or pharmaceutical laboratories, the clinical laboratory science professional's analytical, scientific and technical skills are a valuable and desired asset. Some career options beyond laboratory analysis for which clinical laboratory science professionals are well qualified follow with descriptions.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor projects that the employment of clinical laboratory technicians and scientists will increase by 10-20% through the year 2008. According to Jobs Rated Almanac, clinical laboratory science has 25% job growth and good job security. Among health related professions, it currently ranks #3. In 2004, the average starting salary for clinical laboratory technicians was about $26,000 to $30,000, and $38,000 to $43,000 annually for clinical laboratory scientists, based on geographic location. Currently there is a shortage in many parts of the country guaranteeing employment and higher salaries for graduates.
(From the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science website, 2009)