Clinical Lab Scientist Education Requirements and Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a clinical lab scientist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification/license requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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To become a clinical lab scientist, students will be required to study topics such as microbiology, mathematics, statistics and chemistry. Additional coursework will vary depending on the specification of their major. Licensure requirements are per state and certification is not mandatory, but beneficial for those hoping to advance in their career.

Essential Information

Clinical lab scientists use a variety of medical tools and computer technology to examine cells and fluids for bacteria, parasites, and other abnormalities. They then communicate the results of these examinations to the proper doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel.

While an associate's degree is the minimal education requirement for entry-level work in this field, many employers require clinical lab scientists to have a bachelor's degree in a life science or in medical technology. In addition, some states require those working in this field to be registered or licensed. People who are interested in the medical field and in the sciences may find this to be an appealing career field.

Required Education Associate's degree; some employers require a bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Licensure or certification required in some states
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 11% (for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)
Median Salary (2018)* $52,330 (for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Coursework

Coursework done at clinical lab schools can vary depending on the major and interest of the clinical lab scientist. Microbiology, statistics, mathematics, chemistry and biology are some of the more common classes in educational programs for clinical lab schools.

Specialized coursework varies based on the major, but students typically tackle advanced scientific topics in these courses. Additionally, some programs offer classes in business, computer science and management to prepare clinical lab scientists for working in the administrative and business aspects of the field.

Career Information and Job Duties

Clinical lab scientists familiarize themselves with various tools and computer technology, using these devices to perform job duties. With these tools, clinical lab scientists look for a variety of things in their examination of body cells and fluids.

Tests can range from looking for abnormal cells to matching blood for transfusions. After performing a test, a clinical lab scientist takes the results and examines them, as well as communicating that information to doctors. Work settings for this career include laboratories, schools and businesses.

Licensure and Certification

Licensure requirements for clinical lab scientists vary from state to state, while some states don't require licensure, some require clinical lab scientists to be registered. State departments and health provide information on if licensing is required. Additionally, requirements to obtain this licensure vary but generally require a bachelor's degree and passing an examination. License renewal may be required depending on the state's licensure requirements.

While certifications are not required to work in this field, many employers prefer workers to possess one recognized by a professional association. Certification requirements vary depending on the organization. Various organizations that offer certifications include the Board of Registry of the American Association of Bioanalysts, the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel, the American Medical Technologists and many others.

Technology is a big part of working as a clinical lab scientist, so graduates would do well to familiarize themselves with the computer technology and tools that are used in this field. The projected job growth for 2018-2028 is much faster than average and those who obtain a position can expect to earn about $52,330.

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