How Do I Choose the Best Medical Laboratory School?

N. Madison

Medical laboratory schools educate people who want to work in medical labs and use their science skills to perform tests and analyze results. Selecting the right school can put you on the path toward a successful career; you can base your choice on the credential you want to earn, school accreditation, and reputation. Schools that offer job placement and cover topics required for certification may make it to the top of your list as well.

A Bunsen burner, a type of medical laboratory equipment.
A Bunsen burner, a type of medical laboratory equipment.

As part of choosing the best medical laboratory school, you can consider the particular credential you want to earn. Different schools will likely award different types of credentials, and the choice you make may influence the job for which you can qualify. If you want to secure a job as a medical laboratory technician, for instance, choosing a medical laboratory school that grants certificates in this field my prove appropriate. A school that offers associate's degree may be even better, as some employers give preference to individuals with degrees rather than certificates.

A medical lab technician holding a urine sample.
A medical lab technician holding a urine sample.

In some cases, you may be best served by choosing a medical laboratory school that offers bachelor's degrees instead. You will usually need a four-year degree, for example, if you want to secure a technologist job rather than a technician position. While technicians and technologists perform similar job duties, technologists are expected to have more related knowledge and skill. In turn, they are typically offered jobs that require more responsibility and offer higher pay.

If you are hoping to pursue a management-level position, you will likely have to choose a medical laboratory school that grants graduate degrees. This may also prove necessary if you want a job with a high level of responsibility and independence. For example, you could choose a school that offers a master's degree in a field such as clinical laboratory science to improve your chances of getting the higher-level job you want.

Once you have made a list of appealing medical laboratory schools based on the credential you want, you can narrow the list by considering accreditation and reputation. School accreditation is usually critical when you are seeking an education in the hopes of pursing a career. Likewise, you may have a better chance of choosing a school at which you can learn and excel if you select based on reputation. You might also consider any job placement assistance a school offers when making a decision.

Additionally, if you intend to use your medical laboratory education to help you gain certification, specific class and program content may prove important in your decision. In such a case, you may do well to compare the topics covered in the program with those you will need to know to pass a certification exam. This way, you can choose a school that will properly prepare you for earning certification.

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