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Medical Laboratory Science -Introduction

The Profession

Medical Laboratory Scientists, also called Clinical Laboratory Scientists or Medical Technologists, use sophisticated instruments and biochemical, microscopic, molecular and immunological techniques to analyze blood, tissues and other medical specimens. In a clinical laboratory, they use their knowledge and skills in science, biotechnology and medicine to provide essential information to physicians and other health care professionals about the presence, extent, or absence of disease, as well as effectiveness of treatment. Working in a laboratory requires excellent technical skills as well as problem solving, data analysis, computer skills and good oral and written communication. Clinical laboratory tests are extremely important. Over 70% of the objective information used by physicians for diagnosis and treatment is provided by medical laboratory scientists. The practice of modern medicine would be impossible without the valuable services provided by medical laboratory scientists.

Medical Laboratory Scientists use their biomedical expertise to:

  • Provide lab data and information to physicians to help diagnose cancer, diabetes, liver and kidney disease, drug overdoses, and many other conditions.
  • Identify pathogens and determine their susceptibility to various drugs.
  • Analyze DNA and RNA in infectious agents to identify drug resistance mutations.
  • Prepare stem cells, red blood cells and platelets for safe transfusion.
  • Identify leukemic cells so appropriate therapy can be initiated
  • Identify mutations associated with genetic diseases by analyzing patients' DNA, RNA or proteins.
  • Monitor therapy with anticoagulants and other drugs to ensure patient safety.


Career Opportunities

Medical Laboratory Scientists have a wide variety of career opportunities: 
  • Hospital, physician office, veterinary, national and regional testing laboratories
  • Biotechnology, pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries
  • Local, State or Federal Health Agencies
  • Research and Teaching Institutions
  • Advanced degrees in medicine and dentistry
  • Masters and doctoral degrees in biomedical sciences

The following video illustrates the impact that Medical Laboratory Scientists have on patient care:


A baccalaureate degree in Clinical Laboratory Science is an excellent starting point for career advancement in:

  • Technical Areas
  • Education 
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Health Care Administration
  • Consultation
  • Health Care Law
  • Public Health
  • Research

Career Information

A baccalaureate degree is the entry level for a career in Medical Laboratory Science.


'Rapid job growth and excellent job opportunities are expected" for medical and clinical laboratory technologists (scientists) according to the 2008-2018 Employment Projections of the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 12% growth in new positions is projected for this period with an increase from 172,400 to 193,000 positions nationwide. On top of that, many additional positions will be available due to retirement or attrition from the field. (Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Employment Projections for 2008-2018, December 17, 2009. )

The national vacancy rate for Medical Technologists (Medical Laboratory Scientists) positions was 10.4% according to a survey conducted in 2008 by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (Source: Lab Med, 40:133-141, March 2009).



In a survey conducted in 2008 by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the national median average wage for staff Medical Technologists (Medical Laboratory Scientists) was $47,840 annually. The annual median wage for Medical Technologist supervisors and managers was $58,240 and $70,720, respectively. (Source: Lab Med, 40:133-141, March 2009)

According to, median annual staff Medical Technologists salaries in hospitals (those already working in the field) range as follows:

Newark, Essex County
10th Percentile
25th Percentile
75th Percentile
Middlesex County

Salaries are higher for supervisory and managerial Medical Laboratory Scientists
Accessed 01/05/10



Graduates of accredited programs are eligible for certification examinations in the Medical Laboratory Scientist category given by the Board of Certification, American Society for Clinical Pathology: MLS(ASCP). This credential was Previously called Medical Technologists, MT(ASCP). Information can be obtained at:

Rutgers School of Health Professions



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