Clinical Laboratory Science

The use of laboratory tests to diagnose, monitor, and predict diseases in medical patients

High School Preparation

A high school diploma or GED will be required for careers in clinical laboratory science since they require college degrees.  The minimum suggested high school curriculum includes:

  • Mathematics through alegra
  • chemistry
  • physices
  • biology
  • English composition

Education Required

In clinical alboratory science, there are 2 professional levlesl: clinical laboratory technicians and clinical laboratory scientists

Clinical Laboratory Technician (or Medical Laboratory Technician)

Must earn an associates degree in clinical laboratory science from an accredited instituions.  The Curriculum may include basic courese in college mathematics through algebra, chemistry, biology and basic computer skills with professional courses in:

  • Hematology - the study of blood cells and associated diseases such as sickle cell anemia and leukemia
  • Clinical Microbiology - the study of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites that cause disease
  • Clinical Chemistry - the study of the testing to detect abnormal levels of chemical constituents in blood and body fluids.  Examples include the elevated blood glucose associated with diabetes mellitus, elevated cholesterol associated with heart disease, and the presence of drugs like alcohol or amphetamines
  • Immunohematology - the study of how to find compatible blood for transfusion, includes blood typing
  • Urinalysis - the study of the detection of abnormal constituents in urine that may indicate diseases of the urinary system or other body organs, such as liver disease
  • Hemostasis - the study of the blood clotting system to detect defects such as hemophilia, a hereditary disease that leads to excessive bleeding

Clinical Laboratory Scientists ( or Medical Technologists)

Must earn a bachelor's degrees and complete an accredited education program.  The accredited educational program may be include in the bachelor's degree requirements or may be a certificate program following college graduation.  Preparation for an accredited program should include college mathematics through algebra, chemistry including inorganic and organic, general biology, and English composition.  Basic computer skills are also essential.  Additional recommended courses would include biochemistry, statistics, physics, genetics, cell and molecular biology, immunology, anatomy, physiology and general microbiology.

The curriculum of the professional phase of the corse work, either within the bachelor's degree or during the certificate program, will include advanced study of the same topics that clinical laboratory technicians study - hematology, clinical chemistry, etc.

To support the roles of clinical laboratory scientists as supervisors and managers in laboratories, clinical laboratory science curriculums will also include:

  • Laboratory management - including financial management of the laboratory; hiring scheduling, and training of personnel; quality assurance activities; regulation affecting laboratories.
  • Training and education - including how to teach laboratory skills to students and employees, how to administer educational programs in laboratory science.

Certification/Career Ladder

Clinical laboratory technicians and scientists who have completed accredited educational programs are eligible for a national certification exam.  This exam allows clinical laboratory professionals to validated their professional knowledge.  Medical laboratory employers prefer to hire certified individuals.

Clinical Laboratory Technician (or Medical Laboratory Technician)

can advance their certification to the clinical laboratory scientist level by work experience plus completing a bachelor's degree.  They are the eligible to take the clinical laboratory scientists examination.  This advancement increases the job opportunities open to individuals.

Clinical Laboratory Scientists ( or Medical Technologists)

can gain recognition as specialsists n the various disciplines (i.e. hematoloogy, clinical chemistry, micorbiology) by virute of additional work experience that qualifiees them for the specialty exams.  Specialty certifications may increrase the job opportunites avaalable. to individuals.

Some states will require clinical laboratory science professionals to be licensed.