Clinical laboratory scientists (CLSs), also known as clinical laboratory technologists, assist physicians by performing laboratory tests to detect disease and infection. Students enrolled in a clinical laboratory science program learn to utilize laboratory equipment to test cells or fluids like blood and urine. A CLS may test a person's blood to determine blood type for transfusion purposes, to detect drugs, or to determine the white blood count of a patient with cancer or leukemia.
CLSs may also perform tests to examine genes that contribute to diseases or to detect bacteria and parasites. Studies in immunology teach students how the human body fights disease and infection and how immune systems become compromised. Laboratory management and leadership studies teach students the professional and ethical responsibilities of a CLS.
Students participate in classroom education and clinical rotations and are encouraged to have a firm background in math and science courses before applying to the major. Graduates can go on to receive professional certifications from a number of national organizations if they pass qualifying tests.
Majoring in Clinical Laboratory Science
Students learn theory during the classroom phase of the program and put it into practice when completing their clinicals. Typical courses in this program include:
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and clinical lab technologists are expected to have a projected 11% job growth from 2018-2028. The same source stated that these workers earned $52,330 as a yearly median wage in 2018.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of this degree program can pursue professional certification from the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB), American Medical Technologists (AMT) or the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). These organizations offer certification in a number of disciplines, as well as annual conferences, career services and continuing education opportunities.
To become a clinical laboratory scientist, students will need to earn a bachelor's degree in clinical laboratory science to begin on the path to their career. Graduates can find work and will likely go on to earn professional certification.