Medical Laboratory Scientist

Detail shot of reasearcher using pipette in the lab.

As a Medical Laboratory Scientist, you will perform tests to analyze many types of samples from the body for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, as well as monitoring treatments and therapies. Medical Laboratory Scientists often analyze body fluids such as blood, urine, and spinal fluid. Although the majority of patients have normal results, you will also spend your time acting as a medical detective in some cases of abnormal findings. The medical laboratory has sophisticated equipment which requires a highly trained scientist to run, but also many intricate procedures which require hands-on duties. A day in the life of a Medical Laboratory Scientist is never boring as they count cells, prepare blood for transfusion, determine causes of infection, discuss results with the healthcare team, and provide accurate results.

  • Percent Change in Employment, Projected 2018 - 2028 11%Clinical laboratory technologist and technicians

  • 10% Health technologist and technicians

  • 5% Total, all occupations

Note: All Occuations include all occupations in the U.S. Economy

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Outlook and demand

Demand for Medical Laboratory Scientists and Technicians is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. An increase in the aging population is expected to lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or type 2 diabetes, through laboratory procedures. Medical Laboratory Scientists and Technicians will be in demand to use and maintain the equipment needed for diagnosis and treatment.

Employers look for professionals who can: 

  • Understand how to operate computerized lab equipment
  • Follow exact instructions in order to perform tests or procedures correctly
  • Work closely with precision laboratory instruments
  • Enter data from analysis of medical tests or clinical results into computer for storage
  • Spend workdays in laboratories, often away from face-to-face patient contact

Paths that can lead to this career

A bachelor's degree in medical technology or biomedical sciences can prepare you to earn an M.S. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences for an advanced understanding of clinical testing techniques.

  • High School

    If you're currently in high school and interested in becoming a Medical Laboratory Scientist you can do the following steps to prepare for this career:

  • Undergraduate

    If you're currently an undergraduate and interested in becoming a Medical Laboratory Scientist you can do the following steps to prepare for this career:

    • Complete any bachelor degree from an accredited university.
    • Make sure your program of study include the required prerequisite courses.¬†
    • Find opportunities to job shadow a Medical Laboratory Scientist.
  • Graduate

    If you already have a bachelor's degree, the following courses will help you in this program:

    • Pre-calculus Algebra¬†
    • General Chemistry I & II
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Biology
    • Microbiology
    • Genetics

Job titles and employers

Did you know?

The UAB M.S. in Clinical Laboratory Sciences is the onlyMaster's Level Programoffered in Alabama and one of the few graduate-level programs in the southeast.

Medical Laboratory Technologist

Places of work for this career:

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Medical and diagnostic laboratories
  • Physicians offices
  • Outpatient care centers

To find out detailed salary information and more information on this career, you can explore the Department of Labor's O*Net database.

Organizations to check out for this career:

Next steps


Find out more information about the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program.

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