Career Education - Laboratory Services

Laboratory Services

Is it in your DNA?  

What’s Laboratory Services all about? 

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Laboratory Services plays a critical role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease. We take samples and examine and analyze body fluids, tissue and cells. In a hospital setting, Laboratory Services assists in making 90% of the diagnoses in partnership with physicians. We’re like detectives and we get paid to do some fun stuff. We:

  • Perform diagnostic tests
  • Identify organisms, like E-coli bacteria
  • Count and classify blood cells to identify infection or disease
  • Operate complex diagnostic equipment
  • Perform immunological tests to check for antibodies
  • Type and cross-match blood samples for transfusions
  • Analyze DNA

The perks

  • Fulfilling—Make a difference every day
  • Stimulating—you are never bored
  • Work with the latest technology
  • Get experience with DNA
  • Part timers may be eligible for benefits
  • Fabulous training opportunities

You’d be a good candidate if you are…

  • Intelligent; a critical thinker
  • Not afraid to take initiative
  • Empathetic
  • Able to think on your feet
  • Enthusiastic
  • Mature; professional
  • A great team player
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Good with detail

Opportunities outside the hospital setting 

From a hospital laboratory to a CSI-type crime scene, a career in the laboratory can have a lot of facets to it. Here are just a few examples of other places you can work:

  • Biotechnology companies in research and development
  • Drug companies in sales, research and development
  • Colleges and universities as a faculty member
  • Forensic crime labs
  • Medical instrument company in sales, research and development or service

The benefits

  • Health care benefits
  • Retirement benefits—including a pension!
  • Paid-time off
  • Flexible schedules
  • Employee discounts
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Hospital-sponsored degree completer programs

The pay 

Phlebotomist

  • Hourly pay $21 to $28
  • Annual pay $46,000 to $58,000

Laboratory Assistant

  • Hourly pay $23 to $30
  • Annual pay $49,000 to $63,000

Medical Laboratory Technician

  • Hourly pay $29 to $40
  • Annual pay $62,000 to $83,000

Clinical Laboratory Scientist

  • Hourly pay $37 to $52
  • Annual pay $76,000 to $108,000

What careers are in the Laboratory? 

There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to working in a hospital laboratory. With training or additional education, you can often move into another role. Here’s a look at careers in the laboratory:

Phlebotomist—draws blood for diagnostic tests and transfusions. This is a great way to get started in your laboratory career. Get your high school diploma and complete a short training program through continuing education, a career technical school or community college. Pass the state license exam and get started!

Laboratory Assistant—sets up cultures in microbiology and prepares and processes specimens. They also run analyzers and perform test procedures. You’ll need a high school diploma to join the team.  A short training program through a career technical school or community college is usually required.

Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)—a brand new role within the state of California. This team member assists the Clinical Laboratory Scientist and often goes on to become a Clinical Laboratory Scientist.  These professionals actually perform and report results for many lab tests.  To be an MLT, you need to attend a community college and complete pre-requisites for an MLT program and then enter an accredited MLT program.  You will earn an Associates of Science degree upon completion and need to pass the national board exam to get your license.

Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS)—performs complex laboratory tests.  They also supervise laboratory staff. To be a CLS you need a Bachelors of Science degree, the pre-requisite for a CLS program, and you need to attend an accredited CLS program. You must pass the national exam to get your license.

The need for trained Laboratory Professionals will continue to grow!

Because of advances made in diagnosis, testing and treatment in the last few years and because of the aging population, the number of medical tests, treatments and procedures performed each year is growing rapidly.  This will create even more opportunity for you!