Clinical laboratory scientists and clinical laboratory technicians (medical technologists
and medical laboratory technicians) perform lab tests to detect, diagnose and treat
diseases. Most clinical laboratory personnel work in hospital laboratories. Many also
are employed by private physicians, medical groups, public health and environmental
laboratories, research facilities, pharmaceutical and biomedical companies, universities,
industrial medical laboratories, molecular diagnostic laboratories and the armed forces.
Clinical laboratory technicians:
• perform laboratory procedures on the fluids, cells and tissues of the body.
• use microscopes, sophisticated precision instruments and computers.
• collect blood specimens.
• inoculate culture media to identify bacteria.
• monitor the quality of tests and procedures.
• report unusual or abnormal results to clinical laboratory scientists or pathologists.
Clinical laboratory scientists:
• perform complex and standard laboratory analysis.
• evaluate the effect of a patient’s physiological condition on test results.
• confirm test results and provide physicians with data needed to determine the
presence, extent, cause and treatment of disease.
• design, establish and monitor quality control programs to ensure accurate test
• manage financial operations, marketing and human resources to assure costeffectiveness and quality of clinical laboratory services.
• conduct research for publication and evaluate published studies.
• use information management systems to report laboratory data.
• evaluate emerging diagnostics, test systems and interpretive algorithms.
• provide education and consultative interactions with members of the healthcare
team, customer service, and patients.
With additional education, clinical laboratory scientists and technicians can become
specialists in the following areas: clinical chemistry, microbiology, hematology, immunology, blood banking, virology, molecular biology and laboratory safety.
Average Salary Range
$32,000 – $45,000 (lab scientists)
$26,000 – $35,000 (technicians)
Students intending to pursue a clinical laboratory career should prepare by taking the most
challenging high school courses available in science, math and English.
To become a clinical laboratory scientist, students must either have a bachelor’s degree in
clinical laboratory science (medical technology)
or an acceptable combination of higher education plus laboratory experience.
To become a clinical laboratory technician, an
individual must have an associate’s degree in
medical laboratory technology or an acceptable combination of an associate’s degree and
laboratory experience. Individuals seeking to
become technicians or laboratory scientists
must pass a national certification examination.