Clinical Laboratory Technologists and TechniciansDoctors rely on laboratory tests to uncover, diagnosis, and treat various health disorders. Clinical laboratory specialists assist doctors with these tests. These specialists collect, analyze, and relay data to the appropriate medical specialists. In addition to technical skills, clinical laboratory technicians and technologists must analyze data, understand the interrelatedness of tests, and understand how physiological factors affect diagnostic tests. They must ensure data is accurate since doctors depend on it to make accurate medical diagnoses. When inaccurate data is submitted, laboratory specialists are often held responsible. These specialists organize and supervise laboratory quality assurance measures and make modifications when needed. Lab results are frequently used to conduct research in hematology, immunohematology, microbiology, urinalysis, chemistry, and other scientific fields.
The majority of clinical laboratory technicians/technologists work in the laboratories of larger hospitals. However they can also be found working in private laboratories and clinics; in federal health agencies; pharmaceutical companies; industrial medical laboratories; private and public research programs; and education institutions. While most graduates work in laboratories many seek and find employment in almost all areas of health care.
As a clinical laboratory scientist/medical technologist, you can specialize in:
- Andrology and assisted reproductive technology laboratories
- Biomedical research and development
- Genetic testing
- Infection control
- Health information management
- Health care industry
- Organ transplantation
- Consultative and entrepreneurial opportunities
- Forensic testing
Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians are required to complete a one year clinical training program following successful completion of a bachelor’s degree program. To prepare for these training programs, undergraduate students should complete courses in general chemistry, microbiology, general biology, immunology, organic chemistry, math, anatomy, and physiology. Students should be aware that remedial math and survey science classes do not satisfy program prerequisites.
Additionally, students must be familiar with basic laboratory procedures, hematology, clinical chemistry, and other concepts pertaining to laboratory analysis.
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