Medical laboratory specialist (68K) veterans can apply their skills to a number of civilian careers. Their training translates mostly to the healthcare sector where opportunities will generally be strong. Review these careers to determine which civilian career path might be best for you after finishing your service.
|Job Title||Median Wage (2016)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)*||Applicable Military Skills/Traits|
|Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians||$38,950||14%||Experience assisting laboratory technologists; testing of biological samples; blood bank management|
|Biological Technicians||$42,520||10%||Experience collecting blood samples and cultures; medical laboratory procedures|
|Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists||$61,070||12%||Experience with complex blood, bodily fluid, and tissue sampling; laboratory management skills|
|Chemists and Materials Scientists||$75,420||7%||Experience with clinical laboratory procedures; knowledge in chemistry and biology|
|Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists||$80,530||13%||Experience with testing procedures; knowledge of human parasites and diseases|
|Pathologists||$206,920 (physicians and surgeons, all other)||11% (physicians and surgeons, all other)||Training in hematology, immunohematology, clinical chemistry, serology, bacteriology, parasitology and urinalysis|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Civilian Careers for 68K Veterans
Medical laboratory specialists are responsible for the testing and analysis of blood, tissues, and bodily fluids. Other pertinent skills include drawing blood and maintaining laboratory equipment. These skills can be applied to different healthcare and scientific careers, some of which may be transitioned into directly upon completion of service and others that may require additional training and education.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
68K veterans will find medical laboratory technician a natural career fit as it corresponds quite well with their active duty job description. Both take blood samples and test blood, bodily fluids, and tissues. Medical and clinical laboratory technicians usually work under the supervision of scientists or technologists. They perform routine testing related to diagnosis of health issues as well as for preventive care. Many types of biological materials may be tested. They may operate lab equipment such as microscopes. A postsecondary certificate or associate degree is required for the career although the 52 weeks of specialized training completed by 68K veterans may be sufficient, particularly if it resulted in a certificate award.
The daily work of biological technicians is quite similar to the work of active duty 68Ks as both work with samples of blood, body tissues, and bodily fluids. Biological technicians help medical scientists perform research by handling much of the laboratory work and day-to-day monitoring of medical experiments. 68K veterans can apply their knowledge of testing, storing and distributing blood products, and repairing and maintaining laboratory equipment to this career. Biological technicians require a bachelor's degree although those with experience may be able to find a position without meeting this requirement.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists
68K veterans may find that their military experience and training serves as a doorway for a career as a medical technologist. Experience performing laboratory administration and recordkeeping may be valuable for this career; those laboratory specialists who took on laboratory management duties during their service may find this option appealing.
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists perform a variety of tests on blood and tissue samples. The tests they perform are generally more complex than those handled by technicians. In addition, they may be responsible for training and supervising laboratory staff and technicians. They operate advanced laboratory equipment, select the correct testing procedures, and coordinate the analysis process. A bachelor's degree is required.
Chemists and Materials Scientists
68K veterans who enjoy laboratory work but would like to expand beyond the medical field may find chemistry and material science a good fit. Chemists and materials scientists work at the atomic and molecular level. They study substances and analyze how they work together and interact. With this knowledge, they develop new products and improve existing compounds. Daily experience in the laboratory during active duty, the ability to assemble, maintain, and operate laboratory testing equipment, and knowledge of sample storage procedures are 68K skills directly applicable to this career. This position requires a bachelor's degree.
Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists
68K veterans may find pursuing research as a medical scientist makes good use of their prior work experience. Their experience managing samples and blood banks and their familiarity with testing procedures for a wide variety of parasites and diseases should provide a good foundation of knowledge for further studies.
Medical scientists are researchers who attempt to push the boundaries of knowledge in the treatment of human disease and strive to improve human health. They perform research and development, clinical testing and analysis, and other research-related activities. This field includes a variety of professional backgrounds, such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacology and pathology. The determining factor is that medical scientists are involved primarily in research rather than patient treatment. A medical degree and/or PhD are standard educational requirements for this career.
Medical laboratory specialists who are fascinated with the power of laboratory science to treat and cure diseases may decide to pursue the career path of a pathologist. 68K veterans generally have training in parasites and disease and are familiar with the relevant required testing and sample storage procedures. Pathologists use clinical laboratory testing procedures in order to diagnose a number of diseases and conditions. They test blood, body fluids, and tissue samples to determine disease stage, potential causes, and treatment outcomes. They may also be involved in research to prevent and cure diseases. Pathologists are specialized physicians who must complete a medical doctorate and residency training.