What does a medical laboratory scientist do?

A medical laboratory scientist, also known as a medical technologist, performs lab tests that detect, diagnose and treat patients. These lab tests help determine the presence or absence of a disease. A medical lab scientist analyzes the test results and relays them to doctors.

Medical lab scientists perform complex tests on patients’ samples using sophisticated equipment like microscopes. The data they find plays an important role in identifying and treating cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other medical conditions.

Medical lab scientists often oversee the work of a medical lab technician. Both perform tests, but medical lab scientists usually perform more involved procedures.

People they work with: Doctors and medical lab technicians

Where they work: Doctor’s offices, medical clinics, and research and diagnostic labs

Career outlook for a medical laboratory scientist

Job openings for medical and clinical lab technicians, including medical lab scientists, are expected to increase, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The volume of laboratory tests continues to increase with both population growth and the development of new types of tests.

With additional training and experience, a medical lab scientist can become a department lead or lab manager. Others may seek specializations to advance their careers. Typically, a medical lab technician will progress to a medical lab scientist with more training.

Medical laboratory scientist programs at Mayo Clinic

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