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Can anyone tell me about Medical Laboratory Science?

toomanyteenstoomanyteens 1020 replies61 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
My nursing major is having 2nd thoughts about daily patient interaction but loves the helping people aspect and the science/anatomy. She is not sure she is going to switch but is possibly interested in this 3 + 1 major that she can continue where she is (York College of PA).

I have honestly never even heard of it -- it seems like a decent career but I am just not sure. Nursing I knew, good salary, high demand, ability to move up, train more etc. But this I am not sure.

Anyone heard of it?
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Replies to: Can anyone tell me about Medical Laboratory Science?

  • FallGirlFallGirl 8045 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The fact that you have never heard of it is telling. My first career was as a Medical Technologist- 4 year degree, 1 year internship and had to pass a board exam. This was several decades ago but the pay was very low, little opportunity for advancement, worked nights, holidays and weekends. The job was stressful but we got very little respect.
    Unless conditions have improved, I would not recommend this career.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1428 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My sister graduated with that degree a long time ago. She spent most of her career managing a research lab at a university.

    Patient interaction shouldn’t be her concern. It should be family interaction.
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  • mabelmabel 88 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I retired last year after working 30+ yrs in a hospital clinical laboratory. What FallGirl said is still true, and unless you work for a few years and then take a position in sales or tech rep. for a bio/ clinical lab company salary is still dismal.
    Only plus, just like nursing, you are able to work PT , eve/ nites or weekends, if that works best for your family.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78232 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 20
    https://www.ascls.org/what-is-a-medical-laboratory-science-professional says:
    ASCLS wrote:
    The medical laboratory science profession has more than one career track based on level of education: medical laboratory technician (2 years) and medical laboratory scientist (4 to 5 years). Medical laboratory technicians are competent in the collection, processing, and analysis of biological specimens; the performance of lab procedures; the maintenance of instruments; and relating lab findings to common diseases/conditions. Medical laboratory scientists have a more extensive theoretical knowledge base. Therefore they not only perform laboratory procedures including very sophisticated analyses, but also evaluate/interpret the results, integrate data, problem solve, consult, conduct research, and develop new test methods.


    In 2015, the median salary for medical laboratory technicians was about $41,420, and $60,520 annually for medical laboratory scientists, based on geographic location.

    (Presumably, entry level pay is typically lower than the median.)
    edited September 20
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38904 replies468 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Does she have any interest in becoming a CRA? Nursing background is a big plus, and it does involve both science and helping people:

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  • SybyllaSybylla 3817 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 21
    What sort of interaction doesn't she like? Specifically? I assume she had some picture in her head about what the job looked like, but being a student is not the same as having a BSN/RN. Lots of options.
    edited September 21
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  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens 1020 replies61 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sybylla wrote: »
    What sort of interaction doesn't she like? Specifically? I assume she had some picture in her head about what the job looked like, but being a student is not the same as having a BSN/RN. Lots of options.

    I think she has herself nervous about being too 'personal' with strangers every single day. I had a long talk with her on Saturday and think perhaps I have talked her off the ledge a little bit. I also found a great nursing journal article listing 100 different types of jobs you can do with a BSN that range from super high personal patient interaction to absolutely none and everything in between. There were many neither she nor I thought about including research positions and case management etc.

    Her first clinicals are next semester and I also explained to her that sometimes fear of the unknown is worse that the unknown actually turns out to be (often times actually I find that) and I would hate for her to make a rash decision without even getting there yet. She is doing very well in her classes so far. I told her she will probably hate some of them and probably love some of them (clinicals) and that she should probably give herself the chance to find out. She's wanted to be in nursing her whole life and she even went to a hands on medical camp at Drexel (she loved surgical). Her best friend (also nursing) has a part time job caring for a man that is paralyzed and I think she is thinking a lot about THAT kind of thing rather than the many different types of BSN work she will be qualified to do once she is done.

    My next door neighbor at our summer place at the Jersey Shore is also a retired nurse -- and she is doing an interview for my daughter (she has a nursing communications class that is requiring this project). So I talked with her on the weekend too and she is going to try and also talk her off the ledge.

    I think she is worrying herself a lot over the unknown. If the unknown turns out to be I know I hate this I will help her figure out the next steps -- but I think she is rushing in worrying she might have to go to school an extra semester if she switches later -- I told her that is NOT the biggest deal and not a great reason to bail to early on something she has always wanted to do.
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  • eb23282eb23282 553 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    I suggest you read one of the industry trade magazines... https://www.medlabmag.com/
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  • MAandMEmomMAandMEmom 1636 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I work at a community college and the topic of our CLS program was discussed and the dean of that area (who happens to be one) says many students do not enter the field because they don't know what the career entails. She said the exact thing you mentioned - great for nursing-type students who do not want the interaction with people. It is a good and sometimes flexible career path that works nicely when you have children.
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