Medical laboratory science is among one of the fastest developing professions in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the prospective job growth of medical laboratory scientists is above average, noting a job increase of 16 percent by 2024. For those in this quickly expanding profession, there are several career options to consider. Below, this article will explore some of the most common employment opportunities for medical laboratory scientists.
Those looking for a leadership role within medical laboratory science may wish to consider becoming a laboratory supervisor. A supervisor often provides guidance and leadership to the teams in the laboratory, as well as setting guidelines and best practices for the lab. It’s important to note that those who graduate with a degree in medical laboratory science will likely not be placed in a role such as this immediately. However, with time and experience, it is a leadership role a scientist can aspire to.
Regional Medical Laboratory Scientists
For individuals looking to continue in a more traditional role as a medical laboratory scientist, employment at a hospital, clinic or regional government employer are all avenues to consider. Responsibilities for regional medical laboratory scientists may include ensuring the organization and cleanliness of regional facilities, providing guidance and training to those new to the profession and performing traditional testing and transporting of samples. It’s also important to note that travel can potentially be a key aspect of this profession, and those employed in this position may spend some nights away from home.
Public Health Clinics
Those looking to make a positive difference in their communities may wish to seek employment at public health clinics. In this position, medical laboratory scientists analyze tests conducted during public health assessments, which aim to identify and treat latent diseases or conditions and improve community health. Examples of some of the testing these medical laboratory scientists may help with include cancer research or the discovery of community-wide issues (a common example can include the discovery of unhealthy eating due to high sugar counts). This is done through sample analysis that takes place at the public health clinic.
Medical laboratory scientists commonly work within the hospital setting where they analyze human samples, yet scientists may also have the option of a career examining the specimens of animals. For medical laboratory scientists who love animals, working in a veterinary clinic can be a rewarding career choice.
Medical laboratory scientists employed in forensics may examine remains from a crime scene, analyze for potential chemical threats or conduct tests to uncover cause and time of death. It should be noted, however, that this is a limited field—you will not find a heavy emphasis on forensic science in university curriculums. However, several of the lab techniques performed in clinical labs are similar to those used find in forensic laboratories.
Teaching and Advanced Education
Another career option for individuals studying medical laboratory science is teaching, which can take place in several educational environments ranging from two-year community colleges to graduate level courses. It should be noted, though, that individuals considering this option may need to extend their education or earn certification, especially those looking to teach at an accredited university.
The medical laboratory science field has both promising job growth and a number of educational opportunities, making it an exciting choice for individuals looking to enter the health industry. Those who are considering this field have the potential to find career fulfillment in one of the above professions. However, there are a number of other job opportunities outside of the health sector, such as law, food science and teaching.
The University of Cincinnati’s online Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science program is designed for medical laboratory technicians (formerly known as clinical laboratory technicians) who are currently working in the field. Our online MLS program combines the quality and high standards of UC’s campus-based program with the flexibility and convenience of state-of-the-art distance learning. It is a smart choice for busy professionals who want to advance their education while also continuing to meet personal and professional responsibilities.