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Careers in Medical Technology/Clinical Laboratory Science

What is it?
Medical laboratory technicians and technologists examine and analyze body fluids and cells. They look for bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms. They analyze the chemical content of fluids, match blood for transfusion, and test for drug levels in the blood to show how a patient is responding to treatment. Technologists also prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids. They use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests simultaneously, as well as microscopes, cell counters, and other sophisticated laboratory equipment. Then they analyze the results and relay them to physicians. With increasing automation and the use of computer technology, the work of technologists and technicians has become less hands-on and more analytical.

What is the education requirement?
Medical Laboratory Technician/Clinical Laboratory Technician: Associate in Applied Science Degree Medical Technologist/Clinical Laboratory Scientist: Bachelor of Science degree.

Will I get a job?
Job opportunities are expected to be excellent, because the number of job openings is expected to continue to exceed the number of job seekers. Hospitals are expected to be the major employer of clinical laboratory workers; however employment is expected to grow faster in medical and diagnostic laboratories, offices of physicians, and all other ambulatory health care services. Replacing workers who transfer to other occupations or retire will also account for increased job openings. (Source:

The current vacancy rate for medical and clinical lab technicians is 12.3%. This vacancy rate is expected to increase to over 30% by 2020. (Source: The Health Care Workforce Shortage: An Analysis of the Scope and Impact on Northern Virginia, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 2005 pg. 45, 47.)

What will I get paid?
In 2004, median annual earnings of laboratory professionals ranged from approximately $31.000 at the technician level to approximately $ 45 000 at the technologist level.

Industries employing the largest numbers of medical and clinical laboratory technicians and technologists were as follows: General hospitals Medical and diagnostic laboratories Physician offices

Educational and Career Pathways

Where to study to become a Medical Laboratory Technician in the northern Virginia region:

Associate in Applied Science Degree

Northern Virginia Community College Medical Education Campus
Allied Health Division 6699 Springfield Center Drive Springfield, Va. 22150 Contact: Frankie Harris-Lyne
(703) 822-6639
The curriculum is designed to prepare the students for certification and employment as medical laboratory technicians in hospital laboratories, private laboratories, physicians' office laboratories, health department laboratories, and industrial medical laboratories. Upon completion of the program graduates will be eligible to take the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) Board of Registry, the National Credentialing Agency (NCA) and other national certification exams.

NVCC has a transfer agreement to complete the online B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a formal articulation agreement with George Mason University to complete a B.S. in Medical Technology.

Bachelor of Science: Medical Technologist / Clinical Laboratory Scientist

Virginia Commonwealth University
Medical College of Virginia Campus/VCU
Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences
P.O. Box 980583
Richmond, VA 23298-0583
Program Director: Dr. Teresa Nadder
(804) 828-9469
(804) 828-1911 Fax

George Mason University
Department of Biology
3014 David King Hall, MSN 3E1
Fairfax, VA
Contact: Dr. Marcia Coss,
(703) 993-4031

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