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Career Opportunities

clinical lab
clinical lab

A medical laboratory profession opens doors to diversification and advancement along scientific, managerial and teaching routes. Typically additional education is required.

Varied scientific settings - a few examples


Although most medical laboratory professionals work in hospital laboratories, there are other laboratories where their skills are valued including:

Advanced scientific careers - just a sampling

staining slides
staining slides

For individuals who want advancement with a focus on science

  • Forensic scientist - a master's degree or PhD in Chemistry is recommended for those who want to work in forensics/crime laboratory testing. A clinical experience in a crime laboratory is required. View a video interview with a forensic scientist.
  • Laboratory specialist - After some years working full time in a department, and with additional studies, a Clinical Laboratory Scientist can qualify for the specialty exam in Microbiology, Blood Bank, Chemistry, or Hematology.
  • Trace Analysis/Toxicologist - Recovers samples from crime scenes and tests for minute amounts of substances, especially toxins. Usually a Ph.D. in Clinical Chemistry or Toxicology is required.
  • Laboratory Technical Director - a Ph.D. specialist in one of the laboratory disciplines such as microbiology or clinical chemistry will be responsible for development and implementation of new methods as well as management of the department.
  • Pathologist - a medical doctor who specializes in laboratory medicine
  • genetic
    DNA testing - tests for the presence of DNA and performs DNA matches with the help of computer databases. Usually requires a Master in Forensic Science degree is needed when doing DNA testing in a crime lab.
  • Infectious disease surveillance officer - a bachelor's prepared individual can qualify to monitor infectious agents within the hospital to help prevent patients from developing infections.
  • Research scientist - although individuals at all levels of education can find jobs in research, primary investigators will hold doctoral degrees. They may work in industries like pharmaceuticals or on college campuses. View a video interview with a research scientist.

Advanced management careers - some examples

  • microscope
    Department supervisors - bachelor's degree individuals in any laboratory specialty area can advance to supervise daily operations in their area expertise. View a video interview with a laboratory supervisor.
  • Laboratory manager or administrator - bachelor's or master's degrees prepare individuals from any laboratory specialty to manage the operations of the entire laboratory including finances, personnel, physical facilities, marketing, regulatory compliance, information systems and more. View a video interview with a laboratory manager.
  • Information systems manager - laboratory information systems are a significant component of laboratory operations and bachelor's prepared individuals can specialize in this are. View a video interview with an information systems manager.
  • Compliance office - bachelor's and master's prepared individuals may take on the responsibility of insuring that the laboratory or other hospital departments meet all legal requirements including insurance billing, safety, waste disposal and more
  • Hospital administrator - from director of personnel to hospital CEO, the analytical thinking skills of laboratory professionals can be applied to administrative decisions and duties. Typically a master's degree will be required for advancement to such positions.
  • Sales representative or marketing manager - medical supplies and pharmaceutical sales offer opportunities to individuals with associate or bachelor's degrees who enjoy meeting the public and the art of persuasion. View a video interview with a laboratory product sales representative.

Advanced careers in education and teaching - just a taste of what is possible

  • Teaching scientist/technologist - individuals with a special interest in teaching can assume responsibilities within the laboratory to teach students and new hirees
  • Education coordinator - most laboratories designate an individual to coordinate continuing professional education as well as training of new staff and students.
  • Educational program director - for institutions with formal educational programs, master's prepared individuals can direct those programs overseeing student selection, assessment, and monitoring; curriculum development; accreditation compliance and more
  • University/college faculty member - master's and doctoral prepared individuals become faculty in academic educational programs in laboratory sciences. Besides teaching, they conduct research and serve their professional communities in various ways. View a video interview with a university faculty member.
  • Technical representative - laboratory supplies and instrument companies employ individuals to train customers in the use of their products