Clinical Laboratory Scientist / Technician - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Clinical Laboratory Scientist / Technician

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Job Description

 

Clinical or medical laboratory technicians are highly trained, precisely skilled laboratory scientists whose duty it is to discover the presence or absence of disease.

They provide the data that physicians need to determine the best treatments for their patients.

Their work does not often place them in positions to be personally involved with patients, but laboratory technicians and technologists play a vital role in the process of providing individualized care.

Clinical laboratory technicians generate data used in identification and treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions.

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Responsibilities

 

Clinical, or medical, laboratory technicians evaluate the accuracy of test results and interpret them for the physician.

They use state-of-the-art biomedical instrumentation and technology, in conjunction with precise skilled manual techniques to analyze and examine the following laboratory samples:

  • Bodily fluids
  • Tissues and cells
  • Infectious microorganisms
  • Chemical constituents of body fluids
  • Abnormalities in blood clotting
  • Cross-matching of donor blood for transfusions
  • Testing blood for drug levels as a means of measuring treatment efficacy

 

Laboratory technicians (CLT) and medical laboratory technicians (MLT) primarily focus on:

  • The collection, processing and analyzing of biological specimens
  • Performance of laboratory procedures
  • Maintenance of the laboratory instrumentation
  • Relating their findings to common diseases or conditions

 

While medical laboratory scientists (MLS) have more responsibilities, including:

  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Cross-matching and microbiological blood tests
  • Evaluate and interpret laboratory results
  • Data integration and problem-solving
  • Consult with physicians as needed
  • Conduct research
  • Evaluation of new testing methods

 

The difference between the two positions boils down to education. Laboratory technicians need only an associate's degree, while medical laboratory scientists must pursue at least a bachelor's degree.

Medical laboratory scientists have more opportunities to advance into management positions. This rapidly growing field is seeing new advances in areas such as genetic testing.

This includes the rapidly advancing PCR (polymerase chain reaction), or biomarker, technology. Clinical and medical laboratory science professionals will be in greater demand in the coming years.

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Skills

 

Clinical laboratory scientists and technicians both need many of the same skills for success. A strong interest and mastery of the sciences, including chemistry, biology, and microbiology, is key, along with the capacity to work well both alone and as part of a team. 

They're required to have knowledge of key safety practices, biochemical reagents, and standard examinations, and to be an effective communicator, both orally and in writing.

Problems can arise out of nowhere in a laboratory setting, so being able to quickly and logically find solutions is another highly sought-after skill employers look for in candidates.

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Working Conditions

 

The availability of employment opportunities in a clinical laboratory setting varies depending on the geographic region, meaning professionals in field have opportunities for challenging positions in a wide range of arenas.

Clinical laboratory professionals may find work in the following areas:

  • Hospital or clinic laboratories
  • Reference or commercial laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical or chemical industries
  • Public health laboratories
  • Biotechnology companies
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Forensic and law enforcement laboratories
  • Research and teaching institutions
  • Fertility clinics
  • Cosmetic and food industry

The different work settings mean work hours may vary greatly. Most hospitals and reference laboratories operate 24/7, meaning evening and night shifts as well as weekend and holiday assignments.

This makes it an appealing job for working parents, as there is flexibility in scheduling work shifts. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows laboratory technicians working in the following areas:

 

General medical and surgical hospitals; state, local, and private

50%

Medical and diagnostic laboratories 17%
Offices of physicians 10%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 5%

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
12.11.2017
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12.11.2017
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12.11.2017
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12.11.2017
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12.11.2017
Kootenai Health is currently hiring for Medical Laboratory Scientist to work in our state of the art facility. Kootenai Health's Laboratory & Pathology Department provides a full range of diagnostic laboratory services that support acute,...
12.11.2017
Kootenai Health is currently hiring for Medical Laboratory Scientist to work in our state of the art facility. Kootenai Health's Laboratory & Pathology Department provides a full range of diagnostic laboratory services that support acute,...
10.20.2017
Our Medical Laboratory Scientist is responsible for performing all procedures related to assigned section and the laboratory in general. Recognizes and addresses conditions that affect test results. Department: Laboratory Status: Full Time...
12.11.2017
- Certification Required Medical Laboratory Scientist requirements: MLS ASCP or equivalent. Must have been through a clinical laboratory rotations (accredited). Bachelors of Science and clinical laboratory training culminating in national...
12.11.2017
Medical Laboratory Scientist requirements: MLS ASCP or equivalent. Must have been through a clinical laboratory rotations (accredited). Bachelors of Science and clinical laboratory training culminating in national certification as defined by...
12.11.2017
Medical Laboratory Scientist requirements: MLS ASCP or equivalent. Must have been through a clinical laboratory rotations (accredited). Bachelors of Science and clinical laboratory training culminating in national certification as defined by...
12.11.2017
Medical Laboratory Scientist requirements: MLS ASCP or equivalent. Must have been through a clinical laboratory rotations (accredited). Bachelors of Science and clinical laboratory training culminating in national certification as defined by...
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