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College of Nursing and Health Sciences

UT Tyler Clinical Laboratory Sciences

Clinical Laboratory Careers

Clinical laboratory testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Clinical laboratory scientists, also called medical technologists, perform most of these tests. Clinical laboratory scientists examine and analyze body fluids and cells. They perform complex chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological tests. These scientists use microscopes, cell counters, and other sophisticated laboratory equipment. They also use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests simultaneously. After testing and examining a specimen, they analyze the results and relay them to the physicians.

Technologists microscopically examine blood and other body fluids. They make cultures of body fluid and tissue samples to determine the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites, or other microorganisms. Clinical laboratory scientists analyze samples for chemical or drug content and determine concentrations of compounds such as blood glucose and cholesterol levels. They also prepare, type, and crossmatch blood for transfusions.

Clinical laboratory technologists evaluate test results, develop and modify procedures, and establish and monitor quality assurance programs to ensure the accuracy of tests.

Clinical laboratory personnel are trained to work with infectious specimens. When proper methods of infection control and sterilization are followed, few hazards exist.

Clinical laboratory scientists work in

  • hospital laboratories
  • clinics and physician’s office laboratories
  • reference laboratories
  • public health departments and facilities
  • research and development
  • health education
  • veterinary hospitals and labs
  • industrial (non-medical) laboratories
  • companies and manufacturers of medical equipment and supplies

Rapid job growth and excellent job opportunities are expected throughout the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations.

Median annual wages of medical and clinical laboratory technologists were $53,500 as of May 2008. The middle 50% earned between $44,560 and $63,420 per year. (From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition.)