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About the Profession

Medical Laboratory scientists (MLS) are highly educated laboratory scientists who are involved in all aspects of clinical laboratory testing.  In addition to performing the many types of important laboratory tests, MLSs interpret data, analyze results, develop new procedures, manage information, and communicate with other members of the health care team.

MLSs culture and identify bacteria, microscopically differentiate cells, microorganisms, and crystals, and operate complex electronic instruments to analyze blood for the presence of normal, abnormal, and malignant chemical elements, cells, and components.  They determine drug levels to assess treatment and to detect drugs of abuse, prepare blood for transfusion, and evaluate the chemical, cellular, and immune composition of blood, urine, and other body fluids.  Other duties are to operate sophisticated computerized instruments, data management, inventory control, and quality assurance.

MLSs work in each of the major areas of the laboratory: a) Blood Banking, b) Chemistry, c) Hematology, d) Immunology and e) Microbiology.  In industry, MLSs develop, market, and sell products, conduct research, and monitor quality assurance. Medical technologists can also advance to management, consulting, specialist, or teaching positions.

Career Opportunities

Job opportunities are excellent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that hospitals will need nearly 10,000 new clinical laboratory scientists each year.  Jobs are readily available in Arkansas and across the country.  There is a critical shortage of clinical laboratory personnel, and this shortage will likely become more acute in the near future. 

MLSs have many choices for practice including hospital, clinic, public health, research, and private laboratories; companies manufacturing laboratory analysis systems, supplies, equipment or media; state or national crime labs; physician office laboratories; paternity testing laboratories; and biotechnology, food, and cosmetic industries.

MLSs earned an average salary of $55,620 in the United States in 2009.  Salaries ranged from $37,540 to $75,960, baesd upon experience and job location.  Higher salaries are available for working evening or night shifts.

A Career in Medical Laboratory Sciences Offers You So Much:

  • Medical Laboratory Science is a rewarding, exciting, career.
  • Flexible and stable jobs as medical laboratory scientists are readily available.
  • Medical Laboratory Science is a helping profession that involves less direct patient care than nursing and fewer years of education than medical school.
  • Medical Laboratory Science is ideal for students who love biology or chemistry.
  • Medical Laboratory Scientists enjoy analysis, problem-solving, accuracy, and attention to detail.
  • A bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science is an excellent option for those preparing for medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, or an advanced degree in biology, microbiology, or chemistry.