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Career Options in Clinical Laboratory Science

Most clinical laboratory scientists begin their career in the clinical laboratory of an acute care or community hospital. In this setting, a clinical laboratory scientist may be a generalist, working in all sections of a clinical laboratory, or a specialist, primarily working in one section, such as hematology, chemistry, blood bank, immunology, bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, or urinalysis.

Clinical laboratory scientists may also be employed in a variety of settings such as:
-physician's office lab-HMO laboratory
-public health laboratory
-biotech company and/or in clinical trials coordination
-pharmaceutical or diagnostic industry     
     research and development
     quality control of reagents or biologicals
     sales and service of laboratory instruments and supplies. 
-forensic laboratory
-governmental agencies at the federal, state, and local level
-Graduates are eligible to apply for direct commissions in the military (US Army, US Air Force, and US Navy) as Laboratory Officers.

It is also possible to find employment in the area of education and training. A graduate may function as the educational coordinator in teaching hospitals or become a faculty member at a community college or university. These positions may require additional education.

Opportunities for advancement are variable; staff technologists with the BS degree may become section supervisors after 2 to 3 years work experience. Advancement potential is improved by acquiring an advanced degree, either a Master's in Medical Technology, Master's or Ph.D. in a specialty, such as Clinical Chemistry or Clinical Microbiology, Masters in Business or Health Services Management, or specialty certification. Promotion often involves changing institutions and geographical location.

At the present time employment opportunities are excellent. Nationally, vacancy rates average about 10%. Beginning salaries vary, depending upon geographical location. In Eastern North Carolina, starting salaries for certified medical technologist, MT (ASCP), range from $28,000 to $32,000 per annum. Administrative technologists in moderate size hospitals earn $40,000 to $75,000 per annum depending on size of hospital and level of responsibility. Earnings in industrial positions may be significantly higher. Some hospitals are offering sign-on bonuses and relocation expenses.

Certification or Licensing Required: Graduates are eligible to take the national certifying examination given by the Board of Certification of the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Some states require licensure.

 

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