Medical Laboratory Scientist
Medical laboratory scientists are part of a highly skilled team that works together to solve mysteries, put puzzles together and answer critical questions in medicine. They supervise other laboratory personnel, such as medical laboratory technicians, and perform complex laboratory procedures that play an important role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of many diseases. Medical laboratory scientists work in all areas of the clinical laboratory including blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology, and microbiology. They perform a full range of laboratory tests – from simple premarital blood tests, to more complex tests to uncover diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer. Medical laboratory scientists are also responsible for confirming the accuracy of test results, and communicating laboratory findings to pathologists and other members of the healthcare team. The information provided helps decide what treatment is best for patients and also helps determine the prognosis of a patient’s illness. In fact, the practice of modern medicine would be impossible without these laboratory tests.
In their professions, medical laboratory scientists play a role in developing and evaluating test systems and interpreting algorithms. Their diverse responsibilities include analysis and clinical decision-making, regulatory compliance, education and quality assurance in the laboratory. Medical laboratory scientists are also involved with the financial operations, human resource management, and information management of the clinical laboratory.
Hospital laboratories in the regional hub communities employ most rural Alaska medical laboratory scientists. Private physicians, research programs, or local, state, and federal health agencies employ others.
Medical laboratory scientists have training beyond that of the medical laboratory technician, and may follow an educational program such as this:
- Graduation from high school, preferably with courses in biology, chemistry, math and computer science.
- Completion of a NAACLS accredited four-year bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory science which includes a clinical experience. OR
- Completion of a four-year bachelor’s degree program in biology, chemistry or other related field and a year of clinical experience at a NAACLS accredited health facility.
The University of Alaska Anchorage offers a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science. (This program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.) Interested students should contact:
Dr. Heidi Mannion
Web site: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/alliedhealth/academics/medlab/medtecbs.cfm
Clinical Laboratory Scientists of Alaska (CLSA)
Shannon Billings, President
Web site: http://www.clsaonline.org
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
5600 N. River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
Phone: (773) 714-8880 or (847) 939-3597
Fax: (773) 714-8886
Web site: http://www.naacls.org/
American Society for Clinical Pathology
33 West Monroe, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 541-4999
Toll Free: (800) 267-2727
Fax: (312) 541-4998
Web site: http://www.ascp.org/
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
1861 International Dr., Suite 200
Tysons Corner, VA 22102
Phone: (571) 748-3770
Web site: http://www.ascls.org/
American Medical Technologists
10700 West Higgins Road, Suite 150
Rosemont, Illinois 60018
Phone: (847) 823-5169
Toll free: (800) 275-1268
Fax: (847) 823-0458
Web site: http://www.amt1.com
This page was last updated by Janice Troyer on June 30, 2013