■ PROFESSIONAL TASKS AND WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Clinical Laboratory Scientists / Medical Technologists perform laboratory tests used to diagnose and treat disease and maintain health. Clinical/Medical laboratory scientists work in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology, microbiology, molecular diagnostics and urinalysis. They assure that test results are accurate and reliable. In the hospital clinical laboratories, laboratory scientists analyze blood, body fluids and tissues to detect disease. They work with sophisticated computerized technology such as automated chemistry and hematology analyzers, GLC-Mass spectrophotometers and molecular testing such as PCR and DNA probes. Medical technologists also develop and evaluate new test procedures, maintain quality assurance programs, educate laboratory professionals and manage the laboratory. Medical technologists are sought in clinical areas, research and industry.
■ SKILL AND INTERESTS SUITED TO A CAREER IN CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE
Accuracy, dependability, a strong sense of responsibility, the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to consistently meet deadlines, manual dexterity and good eyesight are essential. Related career interests include research, medicine, technical specialties, computer analysis, criminology and management.
■ EMPLOYMENT AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Clinical/Medical Laboratory Scientists are employed in general hospital laboratories, physicians' offices, private laboratories, mission fields, armed forces, Peace Corps, Project HOPE, public health, medical research programs, pharmaceutical laboratories, blood banks and industry.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job outlook for clinical/medical laboratory scientists is expected to be excellent. Clinical/Medical laboratory scientists and technicians currently hold 302,000 jobs in the United States. Job openings will exceed the number of job seekers. Employment is expected to grow faster than average through 2014, with the projected growth of employment between 18-26 percent.
Students with a baccalaureate or master's degree in clinical laboratory science from Augusta University will receive education and training in clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology, immunohematology (blood bank), microbiology, and molecular diagnostics with additional coursework in education, clinical services delivery, and research. Graduates may advance to supervisory or specialist positions, depending on capability, experience and/or additional education.
■ SALARY INFORMATION
Beginning salaries for recent graduates with baccalaureate degrees in clinical laboratory sciences average $40,000 in the clinical areas and $55,000 in industry. This figure varies depending on location and job responsibilities. Experienced clinical/medical laboratory scientists who become laboratory managers in large hospitals may earn $90,000 or more.