University of Vermont

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Department of Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences

Careers in Medical Laboratory Science

Careers in Medical Laboratory Science

What does a career in medical laboratory science look like?

Medical laboratory scientists have the best of both worlds: medicine and science. You will perform laboratory tests used to uncover and diagnose diseases. Physicians will rely upon your knowledge and skill and count on you to perform essential patient laboratory tests. In today's clinical laboratories, areas of scientific exploration include immunology, microbiology, hematology, chemistry and transfusion medicine. All physician-ordered lab tests, from therapeutic drug monitoring to bacterial identification, are performed by medical laboratory scientists. You'll operate complex electronic equipment, computers and precision instruments and be trained to identify various pathogens and human cells using microscopes and a battery of scientific methods.

Public health laboratorians work on the front line by protecting the nation's health. You will work closely with other public health professionals and clinical laboratorians in investigating and controlling emerging infectious diseases and outbreaks, preventing disease and disability in vulnerable populations, and monitoring the environments in which we live, work and play. You will also prepare for and respond to local, state and national emergencies such as pandemic influenza, bioterrorism and natural disaster.

Who employs medical laboratory scientists? You'll have many choices of practice settings: Hospitals, research centers, independent laboratories, clinics, public health facilities, industrial and forensic laboratories, biotechnology companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and diagnostic and computer firms all have positions open for qualified medical laboratory scientists.

Opportunities in public health laboratories. National funding has been increased to improve infrastructure and incorporate advanced technology. These government positions are advertised on state and local government websites.

    According to the Coordinating Council on Clinical Laboratory Workforce:
  • 150,000 new technologists are needed by 2014
  • 40 percent of laboratorians will be retiring by 2018
    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
  • Employment of medical laboratory technologists is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2010 and 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. An increase in the aging population will lead to more diagnoses through laboratory tests. The median annual wage of medical laboratory technologists in May 2010 was $56,130.

For More Information

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Last modified May 29 2014 01:18 PM