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Career profile Clinical Laboratory Scientist

Also known as Chief Medical Technologist; Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS); Clinical Laboratory Technologist; Histologist Technologist; Medical Laboratory Technologist (Medical Lab Tech); Medical Technologist (MT); Medical Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Scientist; Microbiology Technologist

Clinical Laboratory Scientist

Also known as Chief Medical Technologist; Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS); Clinical Laboratory Technologist; Histologist Technologist; Medical Laboratory Technologist (Medical Lab Tech); Medical Technologist (MT); Medical Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Scientist; Microbiology Technologist

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$31,450 - $83,700 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Biology
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Conduct chemical analysis of body fluids, including blood, urine, or spinal fluid, to determine presence of normal or abnormal components.
  • Analyze laboratory findings to check the accuracy of the results.
  • Operate, calibrate, or maintain equipment used in quantitative or qualitative analysis, such as spectrophotometers, calorimeters, flame photometers, or computer-controlled analyzers.
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What does a Clinical Laboratory Scientist do?

Clinical Laboratory Scientists perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

In addition, Clinical Laboratory Scientists may train or supervise staff.

What kind of tasks does a Clinical Laboratory Scientist perform regularly?

Clinical Laboratory Scientists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Conduct chemical analysis of body fluids, including blood, urine, or spinal fluid, to determine presence of normal or abnormal components.
  • Analyze laboratory findings to check the accuracy of the results.
  • Operate, calibrate, or maintain equipment used in quantitative or qualitative analysis, such as spectrophotometers, calorimeters, flame photometers, or computer-controlled analyzers.
  • Collect and study blood samples to determine the number of cells, their morphology, or their blood group, blood type, or compatibility for transfusion purposes, using microscopic techniques.
  • Enter data from analysis of medical tests or clinical results into computer for storage.
  • Establish or monitor quality assurance programs or activities to ensure the accuracy of laboratory results.
  • Analyze samples of biological material for chemical content or reaction.
  • Set up, clean, and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Provide technical information about test results to physicians, family members, or researchers.
  • Cultivate, isolate, or assist in identifying microbial organisms or perform various tests on these microorganisms.
  • Supervise, train, or direct lab assistants, medical and clinical laboratory technicians or technologists, or other medical laboratory workers engaged in laboratory testing.
  • Develop, standardize, evaluate, or modify procedures, techniques, or tests used in the analysis of specimens or in medical laboratory experiments.

The above responsibilities are specific to Clinical Laboratory Scientists. More generally, Clinical Laboratory Scientists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist salary?

The median salary for a Clinical Laboratory Scientist is $54,180, and the average salary is $55,990. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Clinical Laboratory Scientist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Clinical Laboratory Scientists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Clinical Laboratory Scientists earn less than $31,450 per year, 25% earn less than $39,680, 75% earn less than $69,650, and 90% earn less than $83,700.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Clinical Laboratory Scientists is expected to change by 10.9%, and there should be roughly 25,900 open positions for Clinical Laboratory Scientists every year.

Median annual salary
$54,180
Typical salary range
$31,450 - $83,700
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
10.9%

What personality traits are common among Clinical Laboratory Scientists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist are usually higher in their Investigative, Realistic, and Conventional interests.

Clinical Laboratory Scientists typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Clinical Laboratory Scientists typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Clinical Laboratory Scientists typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist tend to value Support, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Clinical Laboratory Scientists strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Clinical Laboratory Scientists moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Clinical Laboratory Scientists moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Clinical Laboratory Scientists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Clinical Laboratory Scientists, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Clinical Laboratory Scientists need?

Many Clinical Laboratory Scientists will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Clinical Laboratory Scientists usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Clinical Laboratory Scientists

  • 1.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 10.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 21.7% completed some college coursework
  • 18.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 38.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 6.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 3.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Clinical Laboratory Scientists

Clinical Laboratory Scientists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as medicine and dentistry, biology, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Clinical Laboratory Scientists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Medicine and Dentistry
Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Important Abilities needed by Clinical Laboratory Scientists

Clinical Laboratory Scientists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Clinical Laboratory Scientists need abilities such as near vision, written comprehension, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Clinical Laboratory Scientists, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Clinical Laboratory Scientists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Clinical Laboratory Scientists frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Clinical Laboratory Scientists, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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