When your doctor orders lab work, the lab technicians who receive those blood or tissue samples become some of the most important players on your healthcare team. While you're waiting for the results, lab personnel are performing the tests, verifying accuracy, and making sure samples are safely handled so that no contamination occurs during the testing process. Joining this professional team requires a minimum of an associate degree and certification as a Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT). The job outlook is positive — careers in this field are expected to grow as much as 22 percent by 2025.
If you're already working in a medical laboratory however, chances are that you know meeting the minimum qualifications can take you only so far up the career ladder. To move into lab management or more complex areas of testing and interpretation, a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science (BS-MLS) is needed. A BS is also a must for experienced lab professionals who wish to earn the American Society for Clinical Pathology's Board of Certification credential required for licensure in Louisiana and many other states.
A Wider Range of Specialties
A BS in Medical Laboratory Science opens a lot of doors, especially since the number of job vacancies in this area of medicine is currently larger than the number of graduates. This means there are plenty of opportunities to specialize and work in some of the most compelling areas of laboratory science. Potential career paths for BS-MLS lab professionals encompass a variety of workplace settings and growth opportunities. Employment choices include:
- City and state crime labs
- Pharmaceutical research
- Veterinary medicine
- Biotechnology and pharmaceuticals manufacturing
- Public and private clinical trials
- Hospital and clinic-based diagnostic labs
- College and university health centers
- Foreign and domestic military hospitals and care units
- State health and environmental agencies
- Industrial research labs
- Molecular biotechnology labs
- Federal agencies (including FBI, Veterans Administration, Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense labs)
A Jump up the Pay Scale
Even if your goal isn't to help defeat the next superbug or test the latest wonder drug, having a BS in Medical Laboratory Science can lead to better pay right where you are. Many laboratory professionals see an increase in their short- and long-term earning potential after adding a BS-MLS to their resume. The average salary for lab technicians with MLT certification is $41,600 per year, while the average for BS-MLS graduates is $64,000 per year. If your ambition is to manage the laboratory where you currently work or to take on supervisory responsibilities in a new position elsewhere, completing an undergraduate degree in Medical Laboratory Science can only enhance your ability to make it happen. While pay rates vary by city and region, the average salary for lab supervisors is $67,769 per year, and managers of clinical laboratories make an average of $87,722 per year.
Whether you want to become the next CSI star or do the behind-the-scenes work that helps keep the public healthy, a BS in Medical Laboratory Science can take you wherever your aspirations lead.
Learn more about LSUA's online Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science program.
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