Clinical Laboratory Manager Job Description

Mar 22, 2019

Read on to learn what a clinical laboratory manager does. Learn about required education and training, plus job prospects and earning potential to determine if this career is right for you.

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Career Definition for a Clinical Laboratory Manager

Clinical laboratory managers, a more advanced position among clinical laboratory technicians and technologists, work in and oversee the operations of medical testing laboratories. They work in private and government labs, hospitals, and clinics. Duties of clinical laboratory managers include managing overall lab operations; developing procedures to ensure safety, security, quality, and accuracy of results; designing and performing test procedures; analyzing requests for tests and equipment; tending to administrative and management matters; consulting with principal investigators; and assisting in budgeting.

Education Most positions require a master's degree
Job Duties Manage lab operations, tend to administrative matters
Median Salary (2017) $51,770 (Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% (Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education and Licensing

While it may be possible to become a clinical laboratory manager with a 4-year bachelor's degree and relevant experience, many positions require applicants to have a master's degree in a field like microbiology, medical technology or public health administration. Common coursework in a bachelor's degree program or 2-year, master's degree program that would qualify you to work in clinical laboratory management includes anatomy, biochemistry, mathematics, statistics, public health, epidemiology, biostatistics, and health care management. In addition to higher education degrees, many states require clinical laboratory managers to pass a licensing examination (requirements vary by state).

Skill Requirements

Clinical laboratory managers need to be knowledgeable in both medical technology and management principles to be effective in their positions. Working well as part of a team, a good work ethic, and strong communication skills will also serve you well if you hope to become a clinical laboratory manager.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for clinical laboratory management jobs, which fall under the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS, category for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, is good; employment in the field is expected to grow by 13% from 2016-2026. Median earnings in May 2017 for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians were $51,770, per the BLS.

Alternative Career Options

Other options in this field include:

Chemical Technician

A chemical technician participates in hands-on research in chemistry under the direction of senior researchers. Chemical technicians use the knowledge and skills they've gained through associate's degree programs in applied science - particularly lab skills - to prepare samples for testing, observe chemical reactions, analyze results, and share findings with others. In addition to two years minimum of postsecondary schooling, chemical technicians receive on-the-job training. Chemical technicians may work in quality control, environmental assessment or medical science. According to the BLS, jobs in this field are predicted to increase at a rate of 4% from 2016-2026, which is slower than average when compared with all jobs. The BLS also reported that chemical technicians earned median pay of $47,280 in 2017, with the top-paying industries being the federal government, oil and gas extraction, and electric power.

Biological Technician

Biological technicians need to have a bachelor's degree in a biological sciences field with an emphasis on lab work for employment. They help carry out experiments under the supervision of senior research team members. They prepare experiments, measure or observe samples, analyze the results, and prepare reports. Biological technicians can work in microbiology, biotechnology, industrial production and mining, or natural resource management, among other fields. A graduate degree and experience may be needed for career advancement. The BLS reports that biological technician jobs are expected to increase 10% from 2016-2026, and that these positions paid a median salary of $43,800 in 2017. The BLS also reported that, in 2017, most jobs were found in scientific research and development services, while jobs in offices of physicians and outpatient care centers paid the highest average wages.

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