If you are interested in becoming a medical laboratory scientist, you will likely need to earn a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science or similar bachelor's degree. Depending on your location, you may also need to earn a certification or license. Certifying bodies include the American Medical Technologists, the Board of Registry of the American Association of Bioanalysts, and the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel.
What is a medical laboratory scientist?
Medical laboratory scientists, or technologists, typically work in a lab collecting samples and analyzing data. They operate complex medical equipment and machinery to analyze body fluids, tissue samples and other substances. They analyze chemical components of health and run samples looking for infections. Medical laboratory scientists conduct tests to detect and treat various diseases. They also make reports for doctors and other medical personnel.
Where they work
Medical lab technician jobs can be found in large hospitals as well as smaller labs. In a small lab setting, scientists need to be competent in several areas. These generalists will perform a variety of tests like gathering culture and evaluating tissue, blood and other samples. With those samples they may also evaluate cholesterol, electrolytes or other body functions. General laboratory scientists may be responsible for examining tumors or checking chemical compounds in blood for medication dosage.
In a larger lab setting, like at a hospital, medical laboratory scientists may specialize in a specific area. For instance, someone specializing in immunology would run tests to see how a patient's immune system responds to an allergen or foreign body.
Earn a Bachelor of Science online
Those holding an Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Science (ASMLS) are eligible to earn a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science entirely online. In the past, online programs often required labs to be done on campus. However, there are now ASMLS to BSMLS programs that are 100 percent online. This option makes completing course studies much more convenient for many students. Coursework can be done around the student's schedule with less interruption to family or job obligations.
Laboratory scientists are in demand
The career outlook for medical technician jobs is strong, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2012 to 2022, the projected growth is 22 percent. As the population ages, there will be a larger demand for laboratory scientists. They will be tasked with meeting an even greater need to diagnose various medical conditions through lab procedures and testing. The opportunity to earn this degree online has opened up the possibility for many new scientists to enter the field.
While the responsibilities of a medical laboratory scientist may vary depending on the size and needs of the lab, and the certifications and license requirements depend on location, earning a bachelor's degree is the best next-step for those with an ASMLS degree interested in pursuing a career as a medical laboratory scientist.
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