Clinical Laboratory Scientists Often Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology Degree
In 1987, an alarming article published by the Wall Street Journal shook New York City. It was a story about the substandard readings and interpretation of Pap smear samples that led to deaths caused by cervical cancer. The New York laboratory that conducted the readings was exposed and penalized.
The alarming discovery has prompted the state government to impose stricter provisions on clinical laboratory experts to be exercise proficiency in reading and interpreting medical examinations. In 1998, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) was enacted and greater stipulations on medical technologists were implemented.
One mistake can be fatal in the medical world. This is why, physicians, surgeons and medical specialists base their decisions on clinical test results conducted and interpreted by Medical Technologists. A doctor cannot advise medications without the proper clinical tests on a patient. So those who work in clinical laboratories have the responsibility to be accurate and precise in their interpretations.
The increasing demand of competent clinical laboratory scientists in the medical industry is widespread. In Asia, Australia, North America and Europe, the medical industry rapidly expands with tens of hundreds of hospitals and clinic being built every year. Also, more and more suffer from lifestyle diseases each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that the leading causes of death worldwide include heath diseases, hypertension and diabetes. This means more and more patients monitor their blood chemistry, thus many clinics provide service to these patients.
To become a clinical laboratory expert, one has to study Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology. The degree covers courses in biology, chemistry, microbiology, laboratory technology, anatomy, physiology, statistics and clinical laboratory training.
It is usually a four-year degree program while for those with related degrees like nursing or B.S. Biology, only a one year certificate program is required.
Most of the schools or universities offering the degree of Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology have tie-ups with hospitals as the degree is usually a hospital-based program.
There are several certifying examinations for medical technologist. These are required because a license is needed to practice the profession.
These are the following:
- American Medical Technologists (AMT) certification, the
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) certification
- National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel’s (NCA) certification
The Medical Technologists should be able to work on details just like forensic scientists because they usually test microscopic cellular samples from the patients’ blood, urine or tissues. They should also be patient, meticulous, analytical thinkers and committed to long hours of examinations.
Students who graduate from with B.S. Medical Technology degrees are required to undergo actual practice for two years before completing the license accreditation. This is practiced in many states including California.
Career Jobs for Medical Technologists
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2008 to 2009 listed Medical Technologists’ jobs to be growing by 20 percent. These jobs include the following: Blood bank technologists, or immunology technologists, clinical chemistry technologists, cyto-technologists, immunology technologists, dental technologists, sonogram technologists, radiologists, microbiology technologists, molecular biology technologists, histo-technicians and medical laboratory technicians.
In 2010, there were about 330,600 medical technologists working in hospitals (state and private), medical and diagnostic laboratories, private physicians’ offices and in the federal government. Most of these clinical laboratory scientists work full-time. The average salary for Medical Technologists is US $35,000 to US $65,000 per year.