Clinical Laboratory Science

Medical technologists must pass an acceptable national certification examination before becoming eligible to practice in this state. Students who graduate from accredited medical laboratory science programs are also eligible to take the national certification examinations, such as those administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the National Certification Agency for Medical Laboratory Personnel (NCA), or the American Medical Technologists (AMT), and other organizations. Continuing education hours are required every two years for license renewal.

The average hourly wage for Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists in Florida in 2009 was $25.70.

Educational Programs
Bayfront Health System
Bethune-Cookman College
Florida Gulf Coast University
Shands Jacksonville
Southeastern University
St. Vincent's Healthcare
Tampa General Hospital

Bachelor's Degree
Bethune-Cookman College
Eckerd College
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Memorial University
St. Leo University
Stetson University
University of Central Florida
University of South Florida
University of West Florida

Professional Associations
American Medical Technologists
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
American Society for Clinical Pathology

Medical technologists, also known as clinical laboratory scientists, analyze human blood, tissues, and body fluids. They also oversee the performance of thousands of types of medical laboratory tests using a wide variety of precision instruments. They may also conduct research and develop scientific methods to advance the study of disease processes.

Medical technologists exercise independent judgment, correlate test results, and interpret the findings with respect to normal or abnormal ranges. Physicians depend on medical technologists to produce reliable and valid results which may be used in determining the presence, extent, and possible cause of disease.

Medical Technologist/ Clinical Laboratory Scientist

Areas of Specialization
Medical technologists may work in several different areas of the clinical laboratory including clinical chemistry (analyzing chemical substances present in blood); blood banking (involving the preparation of blood components and plasma for transfusions); immunohematology (determining if donor's blood can be safely transfused to the patient); hematology (examining abnormal cells and diseases affecting blood); microbiology (identifying the bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites that cause infectious disease); immunology (examining the degree of immunity or resistance to disease and assisting in studies for organ transplantation); urinalysis (involving chemical and cellular analysis of urine); and toxicology (the identification of toxic substances and drugs in body fluids).

Work Environment
The majority of medical technologists work in hospital laboratories. Others work in independent laboratories, reference laboratories, clinics, health maintenance organizations (HMO), public health agencies, pharmaceutical firms, research institutions, scientific equipment companies, physicians' offices, and as teachers in college clinical laboratory science programs. The working environment is as varied as the types of practice in which medical technologists are engaged. Because of hospital standards, the laboratory environment is generally well-lighted and clean. National requirements for safety equipment and proper professional attire provide assurance to those who work in clinical laboratories.

Job Outlook
The number of Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists employed in Florida in 2006 was 8,559. It is projected that in 2014 there will be 10,170, an annual average growth rate of 2.4 percent The 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 13,000 new laboratory professionals will be needed in the United States each year; however, current training programs only graduate 5,000 students each year.

Length of Training/Requirements
Bachelor's degree programs in medical technology require three or four years of college education plus one year of clinical laboratory education and experience in an accredited health facility. The courses include general college courses with high emphasis in chemistry, biological sciences, mathematics, and computer sciences plus all of the clinical courses that are practice areas for medical technologists. These include clinical chemistry, bacteriology, immunology, hematology, immunohematology, virology, parasitology, mycology, and molecular diagnostic testing.

Experienced medical technologists may advance to supervisory positions as chief medical technologist, or laboratory manager, or laboratory director in large hospitals. Specialization and graduate education are available in most of the clinical sciences. Opportunities for faculty positions in medical laboratory science programs are open to those with graduate degrees and interest in teaching.

Updated: 2009