How do I Become a Medical Laboratory Scientist?

Daniel Liden

Becoming a medical laboratory scientist takes a great deal of time and effort; one should begin to take the necessary steps as early as high school. An interest in science is extremely important in one who wishes to become a medical laboratory scientist. Medical science involves many fields of science, ranging from psychology and biology to chemistry and physics; interest and experience in at least one of these fields is essential. A strong high school and college education generally are not enough, however, for one who wishes to become a medical laboratory scientist. Colleges and employers often look for a strong history of civic service and lab experience as lab positions are often quite competitive.

A clinical laboratory scientist uses equipment like centrifuges to conduct experiments.
A clinical laboratory scientist uses equipment like centrifuges to conduct experiments.

One must not realize that he specifically wants to become a medical laboratory scientist when he is in high school, though an interest in science in high school definitely helps. Good scores in science and participation in science-related clubs helps students get into colleges that specialize in sciences, particularly in medical and life sciences. Overall, to become a medical laboratory scientist, one must simply aim to receive decent grades in high school so he can gain admission into a college with a good science program.

Medical laboratory scientists often test urine and other body fluids.
Medical laboratory scientists often test urine and other body fluids.

Undergraduate education is very important to those aiming to work in a medical laboratory. One should either major in a scientific field, typically chemistry or biology, or he should follow a pre-med track if he wants to become a doctor or medical researcher. During this time, it is important to apply for internships; many professors actually allow students to work in their labs, and universities with medical schools often hire interns as well. Medical laboratories tend to want to hire people with experience and a proper education, so it is important to get both during one's undergraduate years. Graduate studies are also important, though they primarily benefit those who want to go into medical research or who want to enter academia.

An individuals interested in becoming a medical laboratory scientists should focus on either biology or chemistry.
An individuals interested in becoming a medical laboratory scientists should focus on either biology or chemistry.

An individual who wants to become a medical laboratory scientist has many options to consider, as there are many kinds of medical laboratory jobs. Some people choose to work at hospitals or at doctors' offices conducting such tasks as checking blood samples and urine samples and engaging in other kinds of basic laboratory work. Others choose to go into medical research, which often requires more education but has the potential to be much more rewarding. Sometimes, one who wants to become a medical laboratory scientist first becomes a doctor, then begins conducting medical research.

Medical laboratories test blood samples on a regular basis.
Medical laboratories test blood samples on a regular basis.
Medical laboratory scientists may work in immunology, hematology, or another specialty area.
Medical laboratory scientists may work in immunology, hematology, or another specialty area.
Medical laboratory scientists use lab equipment to perform tests on body tissues and fluids to help detect and treat disease and illness.
Medical laboratory scientists use lab equipment to perform tests on body tissues and fluids to help detect and treat disease and illness.

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