Choosing the Career of a Clinical Laboratory Scientist

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The clinical laboratory scientist is also referred to as a medical or laboratory technologist. Laboratory sciences deal with analysis and examination of tissues and cells of living organisms, and use them for generating statistical reports, and in depth results. The laboratory scientists form a part of the group of research scientists as well. Their role is vast in the healthcare industry and includes processes of sterilization, examination and analysis of the materials provided. Clinical lab scientists may also function as biologists who specialize in specific fields of research.

Some of the key responsibilities of clinical laboratory scientists include verification and performance of diagnostic tests. They prepare reports which are used by doctors for treating diseases and illnesses, and thus have a pivotal role in saving lives. The reports prepared by the clinical laboratory scientists determine the admission to or release of a patient from the hospital. Analysis of blood, fluids, tissues, cells, or body fluids is done by these technicians. Preciseness of study and report preparation are vital tasks. The laboratory scientist also helps in interpreting data derived from the acquired samples. The data is then processed, examined and explained by the technician. They have to devise routine laboratory plans, which should be in conformity with the existing norms.

Since they have to deal with various kinds of infected samples, ensuring sterilization of the lab, and staff members is vital. A certain sterilization procedure requires to be implemented before entering the laboratory premises, and also after the examination is over. This ensures preventing the spread of the disease outside the lab. The use of sophisticated lab equipment and data analysis is essential for understanding the normal or abnormal ranges of the infected virus or bacteria.

As a clinical laboratory scientist, you should have the ability to organize and plan your work. Maintaining strict standards of hygiene during the processes of examination and analysis in the laboratory is mandatory. The lab scientist also has to coordinate activities between the different departments of the laboratory for analyzing complex cases, and identifying solutions to existing problems. Having a keen eye for detail, maintaining records of previous reports, and using computer enabled technology can make the process much faster.

To qualify for this profession you should have a bachelor's or associate degree in microbiology, biology, anatomy, chemistry, and physiology. Those from the fields of hematology and immunology can also qualify for work in this field. Internship is a vital part of the curriculum as it helps in learning more about diagnostic testing. You can also opt for higher research and studies in the area through a master's degree and PhD.

Salaries for an entry level lab technician can range from $2,000 to $4,000, while experienced and highly qualified technicians can earn from $5,000 to $10,000 per month. With the arrival of new diseases and complex viruses, there has been a surge of demand for clinical laboratory technicians who can help speed up the process of identifying the problem.
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