Looking for an exciting and challenging laboratory career?
Medical Laboratory Sciences (sometimes also called Medical Technology or Clinical Laboratory Sciences) is the branch of laboratory medicine that deals with the study of blood and other body specimens to aid in the diagnosis of human disease, determine optimal therapy, and monitor the progress of treatment. As a Medical Laboratory Scientist, you're part of an exciting and growing field where you serve as an integral part of the healthcare team and provide results that impact up to 80% of important medical decisions.
Medical Laboratory Sciences at UConn
Join a field that's growing at a faster-than-average rate, where demand for qualified laboratorians continues to outpace the supply of skilled workers! Medical Laboratory Scientists are key members of the healthcare team and provide critical testing that influences patient care at all levels. They work in diverse contexts including hospitals and healthcare facilities, private and public laboratories, research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and industry settings, and governmental and non-governmental agencies.
In our MLS programs, you'll study clinical chemistry, clinical immunology, clinical microbiology, diagnostic molecular technologies, hematology, transfusion services, and urinalysis while also becoming familiar in laboratory protocols and instrumentation. Our graduates leave well prepared for the national certification examination offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and for immediate entry into the workforce.
Over the last three years, 100% of our graduates have found employment in the field or have begun full-time graduate work within six months of program completion. Additionally, 100% of our graduates have passed the national certification exam (compared to the national average of approximately 80%).
Two accredited program tracks are available:
How many students are accepted into the program each year?
The Medical Laboratory Sciences program can only accept a maximum of 24 students per year, combined undergraduate and post-baccalaureate certificate students. As a result, the program is highly competitive.
What does a medical laboratory scientist do?
As a Medical Laboratory Scientist, you are an integral member of the healthcare team, providing physicians with information essential to patient care. You perform analyses, evaluate normal and abnormal results, and correlate results with disease states. Over the course of your career, you are likely to be involved with every aspect of clinical laboratory testing including method development, analysis, quality assurance, training of personnel, and laboratory management.
What can I expect as an entry-level salary?
Salaries vary by region, with base starting salaries ranging from $38,000 to $70,000 per year. In Connecticut, base starting salaries typically range from $55,000 to $65,000 per year. Additional monies are often available for evening, night, and weekend shifts.
Where could I work after graduating from this program?
Medical Laboratory Scientists work in diverse laboratory and healthcare settings including:
- Clinical – hospitals, physicians’ offices, reference laboratories
- Community – local, state, and federal laboratories; Native American reservations, VISTA
- Management & Supervision – laboratory departments, hospital administration
- Business – sales & marketing
- Education – teaching, directing or coordinating medical laboratory sciences programs
- Research – product development, pharmaceuticals, food products, cancer
- Industry – equipment development, technical representative
- Consulting – physicians’ office laboratories, healthcare facilities
- International – Peace Corps, governmental and non-governmental agencies
What are some of the benefits of being a Medical Laboratory Scientist?
Medical Laboratory Sciences is a challenging and constantly changing field that offers multiple career opportunities including full- and part-time positions with flexible hours, excellent entry-level salaries, and a foundation for other health-related careers. In addition, as a Medical Laboratory Scientist, you are an integral member of the healthcare team and play a vital role in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring patients.
What will I study?
Because you can work as a generalist, rotating through all laboratory sections, or a specialist in a specific discipline, your studies will include exposure to all seven major areas of Medical Laboratory Sciences:
- Clinical Chemistry – The biochemical analysis of blood and body fluids for the detection of disease including the operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of laboratory instrumentation.
- Clinical Immunology – The study of immune responses in normal and diseased states including the detection of antigens and antibodies in blood and body fluids in infectious and auto-immune diseases.
- Clinical Microbiology – The isolation and identification of normal flora and clinically significant bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, including anti-microbial susceptibility testing.
- Diagnostic Molecular Technologies – DNA and RNA technologies used in clinical settings, including cancer management, transplantation, infectious disease, and genetic disorder diagnosis.
- Hematology – The study of hemostasis and blood cell formation and function, including the diagnosis of coagulation disorders, anemias, leukemias, and lymphomas.
- Transfusion Services – Evaluation of laboratory results for selection of blood components for therapy, including human blood groups, HLA antigens, and compatibility testing and donor selection.
- Urinalysis – The chemical and microscopic examination of urine for the detection of disease.
What are the job market and career progressions like for Medical Laboratory Scientists?
There currently is a nationwide shortage of qualified laboratorians, which will likely continue into the foreseeable future. You also have the opportunity to specialize in one or more areas of laboratory work and to pursue positions in management, research, and education. With additional graduate work, there are even more opportunities for professional growth. In today’s laboratories, areas of scientific exploration include the immune system, cell marker technology, bioengineering, and cancer research. In the clinical area, drug testing, therapeutic drug monitoring, and biogenetics are just a few of the specialties with openings. In industry, Medical Laboratory Scientists are needed for positions in marketing, sales, quality assurance, environmental health, and insurance, to name just a few.
Is this a career for me?
Only you will know for sure if Medical Laboratory Sciences is the career path for you. However, if you’re fascinated by science and medicine, committed to helping others, work well under pressure, and enjoy working with the latest technologies, you should explore further. Medical Laboratory Scientists also tend to be problem solvers who are accurate, reliable, and detail-oriented and who have high standards for themselves and others. They are good communicators and like challenge and responsibility.
What are they saying?