About the Department of Clinical Laboratory Science

Clinical laboratory scientists (medical laboratory scientists, medical technologists) work behind the scenes. They impact patient care by providing diagnostic test results.

Professional Duties Include:

  • Identification of normal and abnormal blood cells
  • Culture and identification of bacterial pathogens
  • Processing blood products for transfusion
  • Performing tests for metabolic diseases
  • Laboratory test result interpretation
  • Operation of laboratory instrumentation      
  • Monitoring test quality control
  • With experience, work as supervisor or laboratory manager

Consider this profession if you:

  • Have a strong interest in science
  • Want a career in health care with minimal patient contact
  • Like challenge and responsibility
  • Like to solve problems
  • Are a team player
  • Work well under pressure
  • Are self motivated
  • Enjoy working with computers

The pre-professional requirements of the CLS program include successful completion of ECU’s foundation courses, plus pre-requisite courses which include four semesters of chemistry and three semesters of biology. The professional phase of the program consists of 5 consecutive semesters, which includes two semesters of clinical rotation at one of the program’s clinically affiliated sites.

The junior year consists of on-campus classes and student laboratories in the four major disciplines of hematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology and immunohematology. In addition to clinical rotation during the senior year, students take on-campus courses in molecular diagnostics, management, education, research, and special topics.

Upon completion of the CLS program, which is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS - Rosemont, IL), ECU CLS graduates are awarded a B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science. They may then take the national certification exam offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Successful completion of the exam grants nationally recognized professional credentials as a generalist in medical laboratory science.

Between 2015 and 2017, the program’s student retention rate was 98%. During this time frame, graduates demonstrated an 86% first-time pass rate on the national ASCP certification exam. Of those graduates who sought laboratory-related jobs, 100% were employed within 6 months.

The ASCP 2016-2017 Vacancy Survey of Medical Laboratories in the United States, revealed the following: Transfusion services: 8.4%; Core Lab: 7.5%; Clinical Chemistry: 9.0%; Microbiology: 5.9%, and Hematology: 8.5%. View the ASCP vacancy survey (pdf).

The ASCP 2015 Wage Survey of Medical Laboratories in the United States reported a national average hourly wage for medical laboratory scientists of $27.90. Hourly wages varied by geographic location, worksite, size of hospital/laboratory, professional education, certification and experience, as well as assigned duties (supervisor, etc.). View the ASCP wage survey (pdf).