Working Behind The Scenes To Assist Patients and Doctors: Laboratory Science Degree

Would you like to work in the medical field, but not necessarily have to deal with patients directly? Would you enjoy a line of work where your actions not only assist patients with getting the right treatment, but also assist physicians with making the right choices? If any of this sounds appealing then working a as a medical laboratory scientist could be ideal for you. It is a challenging, but very rewarding, career in the medical field and can be accessible with enough dedication and a laboratory science degree. When working as a laboratory professional, you’ll be an integral part of ensuring that the objective medical data that is needed for patient records are accurate and reliable. Without the work done by professionals in this field, it would have been much harder for doctors to make informed diagnoses about their patients.

Laboratory Science Degree Information

Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology

 An Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology is typically the first stepping stone towards becoming certified and finding entry-level employment in the industry. Course topics for this degree may include Chemical Principles, Introductory Physiology, Experimental Chemistry, Clinical Microbiology and Body Fluids Practicum and Hematology Practicum. Completing this type of degree usually takes about two years.

Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science

After completing an Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology degree you can then also go on to study for a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science. For this type of degree, course topics may include Clinical Chemistry, Clinical Hematology, Clinical Microbiology, Clinical Immunohematology, Phlebotomy, Urine and Body Fluid Analysis, as well as Clinical Laboratory Management. Completing this type of degree can take up to four years.

Master of Science in Laboratory Medicine and Biomedical Science

Students interested in continuing their studies in either clinical laboratory science or biomedical research can go on to a Master of Science in Laboratory Medicine and Biomedical Science degree after completing their bachelors degree. This two year degree program may include courses such as Laboratory Management and Laboratory Correlation along with thesis research and electives.

Laboratory Science Degree FAQs

Can I Earn A Laboratory Science Degree Online?

It is possible to earn your laboratory science degree by studying online if you are unable to attend a full-time campus based program due to other obligations. Completing this course via the internet will still enable you to interact with your course instructor, facilitator and fellow students using chat session message boards and e-mail. The course content typically consists of multimedia lectures and are all accessed using the internet. One of the things that sets this type of course apart from other online courses is that you would need to access a laboratory to use as a clinical training site. Make sure when applying for an online degree in this field that a coordinator is able to locate an appropriate site for you in your local community or that you are able to travel to a site that meets all the requirements. If you are already working at a laboratory it can typically be used as a training site, but a divide between employee hours and student hours should be maintained.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study For This Type of Degree?

Because of the important work done by laboratory scientist, often with strict deadlines and a vital need for accuracy, it is a career path that is ideally suited to people who are able to work well under pressure. You should also have good problem solving skills and be able to make precise observations. Good communication skills are equally important as is the ability to be organized and prioritize your work in an efficient manner. In addition, due to the fact that you may work with infectious specimens, you should be observant at all times and be able to follow strict safety protocols. This also means that you should have good motor skills in order to accomplish most of the procedures. Since you will be working with a variety of laboratory computers and instrumentation, you should have an aptitude for basic science and be comfortable in this type of environment. Finally, students must be free of communicable diseases or other impediments that could potentially interfere with their clinical experience in the laboratory. Immunizations are typically also required to be eligible for this line of work.

What Type of Duties Might I Have When Employed As A Medical Laboratory Scientist?

Since a lot of decisions in regards to the type of diagnosis or treatment a patient receives as well as their admission or discharge from hospitals depend on results from laboratory tests it is a very important job responsibility. As a medical laboratory scientist, it is your duty to ensure that laboratory results are not only accurate, but also delivered on time. This typically involves collecting samples and then performing the various tests needed to analyze substances such as blood, tissue and body fluids. The diagnostic tests that are done in the lab are useful for diagnosing medical conditions or monitoring them. This also means that your responsibilities can include the identification of diseases and infections, determining the compatibility for blood transfusion and performing chemical analysis on samples. Additional duties, such as training or supervising other medical laboratory technicians might also be required from you.

What Are The Typical Work Environments Like For Jobs In This Occupation?

One of the biggest employers of laboratory scientists tends to be hospitals, followed by medical and diagnostic laboratories. This means that most of your time is spent working in a laboratory and typically require you to wear protective gear, such as gloves, goggles and masks when working with dangerous or infectious specimens. Some facilities are open around the clock, so you might be required to work weekends or evenings. Work opportunities for laboratory scientists also exist at governmental agencies, industrial research labs, veterinary clinics, molecular biotechnology labs and universities.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn When Employed In This Field?

How much you earn when working in this field will typically depend on your level of experience as well as your place of employment. Some geographical locations also offer higher income and your earning potential tend to increase as you hone your skills. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and clinical laboratory technologist and technicians earned a median pay of $50,930 per year during 2016. Their figures also indicate that the employment of people in this field is projected to grow by about 16% until 2024, which is faster than what the average is for other occupations. This can be attributed to a greater need for the diagnosis of medical conditions in the increasing aging population.

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