Why choose a career in the medical laboratory?

Heroes in the Medical Laboratory
• Turn your love of science into a fun and rewarding career.
• Enjoy strong job prospects nationwide.
• Make a great salary while helping Don’t Just Make a Difference.
people around you.
Be the Difference.
What are you waiting for?

To learn about all of the career
paths available to you, look inside!

Medical Laboratory Scientist
Medical Laboratory Technician
Phlebotomist
Pathologist
Pathologists’ Assistant
Clinical Chemist
Histotechnologist
Cytotechnologist
Technologist in Cytogenetics
Technologist in Molecular Biology

MLS(ASCP)CM Studying patients’ specimens to help doctors diagnose and treat diseases Medical Laboratory Technician Page 5 Robert Callaham. ASCP Board of Certification Page 18 1 2 . Kemp. PhD. CT(ASCP)CMPACM Having fun doing Providing the hands-on assistance that pathologists need to help patients something that Clinical Chemist Page 11 Ross Molinaro. yourself in the future? Medical Laboratory Scientist Page 3 Shareen Lee. FASCP. better ways to diagnose patients Histotechnologist Page 12 Melissa C. MHS. MT(ASCP) interests you? Guiding doctors toward new. CT(ASCP)CM Examining cells to find cancer and infections today Technologist in Cytogenetics Page 14 Ashley Mariano. your dreams? Pathologist Page 7 fuller lives? Alexandra Harrington. MB(ASCP)CM Fast-growing area of laboratory medicine Look inside to find a career that can take you where you want to go. MT(ASCP) The doctor who diagnoses diseases at the microscopic level Pathologists’ Assistant Page 9 Cheryl Talbott.Where do you see Find out which career is right for you Learn about these jobs in the medical laboratory and what you’ll need to get started. and stories Resources Page 17 from the real professionals who do them every day. MD. McNair. HTL(ASCP)CM Preparing tissue samples to help pathologists diagnose diseases Cytotechnologist Page 13 Sean A. CG(ASCP)CM A medical laboratory career Looking into genes to find the diseases of tomorrow can help you get there! Technologist in Molecular Biology Page 15 Johanna Sloss. Each page has information Specialize to Further Your Career Page 16 on exciting jobs in the medical laboratory. MLT(ASCP)CM Earning an Conducting tests that influence doctors’ treatment decisions Living and excellent salary Phlebotomist Page 6 working in while helping Karen Penrod. PBT(ASCP)CM the city of Working face-to-face with patients to draw blood samples people live longer.

” Education Requirements: »»Bachelor’s degree in science Shareen Lee. In a single day. with different antibiotics in Los Angeles when a young boy was rushed into her hospital’s emergency to find out which one works best to treat an infection. Laboratory Scientist may be the right choice for you. and his condition stabilized. In some cases. It ensured his system could handle the transfusion offers when they graduate. and even cancer. supervisor. of the most complex tests on blood. or the Blood Bank). This helps provide doctors with most of the information where they help diagnose and treat infections. Once you get started you can become a that helped keep him alive. Supervisor: $65. tissue. Medical Laboratory Scientists actually provide treatment information for the physician. Chemistry. body fluids. was working as a Medical Laboratory Scientist test bacteria. For example. laboratory professionals and doctors needed to get If you enjoy science and solving problems. a career as a Medical information about his blood. And because positions are becoming available faster than employers can fill them. He had suffered a gunshot wound and needed a blood transfusion right away. They can also work for reference laboratories. room.413. and even specialize in a specific area that interests you “We issued blood quickly. and they were running out of time fast. Average Salary: »» $54. taken from a patient. they can Shareen Lee. But first. It played a »» Interest in solving puzzles huge role that day in saving his life. they’re a vital part of the emergency medical team— and can even save lives. a Medical Laboratory Scientist performs some to save lives. so they can find the best treatment for each patient. anemia. MLS(ASCP)CM. they use to treat infections and diagnose cancers and other diseases. and pharmaceutical or biotech companies from many patients. Then they relay that information to doctors.” Shareen says. That’s where Shareen came in.8941 Photography by Sara Press 3 4 . MLS(ASCP) CM »» Medical (or Clinical) Laboratory Science program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) Certification: »» Earn certification as a Medical Laboratory Scientist from the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification (ASCP BOC). Medical Laboratory Scientist Studying patients’ specimens to help doctors diagnose and treat diseases The Medical Laboratory Scientist is one of the most important people in Medical Laboratory Scientists don’t have to work in a hospital medicine. and his What you’ll need: »» Strong science background condition stabilized. and other samples medical offices. “It played a huge role that day in saving his life. At the same time. Microbiology. She performed tests to find the correct Medical Laboratory Science students often have their choice of job blood type for the boy.” “We issued blood quickly. (like Hematology.

” As with Medical Laboratory Scientists. the job market for Medical Sometimes. »» Ability to be careful and organized day-to-day tests on blood. they run the simple. That’s what Laboratory Technicians continues to grow—and there are opportunities Karen did when she noticed a baby in her hospital had strange-smelling to raise your salary and advance in the laboratory by getting certified breath—a tell-tale sign of diabetes. He had.080. MLT(ASCP)CM.” Karen says. and other samples with Other duties performed by Phlebotomists include point-of-care testing. MLT(ASCP) CM Karen Penrod. Education Requirements: high-tech equipment in the medical laboratory. tissues. »» $40. who helped lower the child’s blood sugar just in time. in Columbus. Average Salary: »»$28. “I get the opportunity to meet and help a lot of people.” What you’ll need: »»Precision and accuracy »»High attention to detail »»Excellent people skills “No one could figure out what was “If you’re good at talking to people.” Robert says. a Phlebotomist at a hospital “No one could figure out what was wrong. on you and not the needle going work experience and restore his health. Supervisor: $41. you can get them to concentrate on you and restore his health. and it found a rare disease in his blood work.” people ask for her by name when they need to have blood drawn. Certification: Laboratory Technician from New Mexico. have skilled hands.7661 Photography by Mark Erickson 5 6 Photography by Polina Osherov . Supervisor: $49. you even get the opportunity to save a life. “Finally. Ind. It’s an awesome feeling. good at talking to people. Medical Laboratory Technician Phlebotomist Conducting tests that influence doctors’ treatment decisions Working face-to-face with patients to draw blood samples What you’ll need: Phlebotomists are on the front lines in the medical laboratory—the ones If you love performing experiments in science class. PBT(ASCP)CM Technician or Donor Phlebotomy Technician from the ASCP BOC. body fluids. the ranks of Medical Laboratory Technicians. »» Earn certification as a Medical who had told his doctor that he was tired.” Karen says. baby’s doctor. They’re also responsible for identifying patients prior to sample collection. program accredited by NAACLS To become a Phlebotomist.3381 “Some people are nervous about needles. Average Salary: A new test was ordered. My test helped the doctor you can get them to concentrate »»High school diploma »»Phlebotomy training or diagnose and treat the patient. and ensuring »» Associate’s degree Those test results help doctors determine the right treatments for that each sample is correctly identified for future testing. you can often start right after high school. She reported the smell to the by the ASCP BOC. such as glucose testing for diabetic patients or infants. PBT(ASCP)CM. He once ran a test on a patient and love working with people. Education Requirements: wrong.768.” into their arm. if the patient had traveled outside the United States. That’s what happened to Robert Callaham.” he says. “I love my job. and not the needle going into their arm. I asked ASCP BOC. Each day. you may want to join »» Interest in science and technology who work hands-on with patients to collect blood samples. »» Medical Laboratory Technician patients—and occasionally lead to extraordinary breakthroughs. Laboratory Technician from the Just ask Karen Penrod. Because of her gentle nature and happy attitude.” Certification: »»Earn certification as a Phlebotomy Robert Callaham. “So if you’re “The test I ran helped the doctor diagnose and treat the patient. a Medical You just need to be able to handle stressful situations.

FASCP. but the rewards are worth it. Pathologist The doctor who diagnoses diseases at the microscopic level What you’ll need: »»Strong science background »» Ability to recognize patterns »»Excellent leadership skills Education Requirements: Do you enjoy being a leader? Taking on a high degree of responsibility? Had these leukemia cells not been recognized. “Any delay in diagnosis can be devastating. These medical doctors are at the center of all other positions in the lab. That’s because. Harrington’s expertise.” she says.” One day. so the diagnosis was a complete surprise. But because of For Pathologists. it took less than a day to begin the program in anatomic or patient’s life hangs in the balance. FASCP. MD.0132 detected and treated early. It’s hard work. Fortunately. working with each team member on the patient’s behalf. these qualities come naturally. Because early diagnosis can determine whether a person survives. »»$247. healthy.or two-year fellowship Dr. and athletic and only complained of the Pathologist has one of the most important positions in the laboratory recent tiredness.” Alexandra Harrington. she found a rare leukemia cell in the background of many normal cells. “Any delay in diagnosis can be devastating. her leukemia type has an excellent outcome when detected and treated early. these laboratory medicine physicians chemotherapy that saved her life. MD. even fatal. knows this from experience. when reviewing a patient’s blood cells under the microscope. and her leukemia would have »» Residency program in Pathology spread and caused life-threatening complications. when a »»One. Average Salary: “Fortunately. the patient would not »» Four-year medical school program How about rising above challenges to solve problems for others? have had an answer for her tiredness. her leukemia type has an excellent outcome when Alexandra Harrington. MT(ASCP) Photography by Corey Hengen 7 8 . MT(ASCP). The patient was young. and in the entire medical field. clinical pathology or both (optional) need to know they have what it takes to lead a laboratory team and diagnose diseases in a timely fashion. even fatal.

” Cheryl Talbott. The career prospects for Pathologists’ Assistants have grown in recent years. CT(ASCP)CMPACM. Average Salary: »»$74. This can include everything from helping surgeons in the “Sometimes. Supervisor: $77. MHS. a tumor may look benign. I never know what I’ll get that day.922. but we’ll find out it’s cancerous.” with specimens and tissues.” operating room find cancer in organ tissue to performing she says.” interesting career for people who enjoy learning more about how the human body works—like Cheryl Talbott. It’s an exciting and will receive. You’ll get to work directly what I’ll get that day. CT(ASCP)CMPACM What you’ll need: »»High attention to detail »»Ability to touch and examine human cadavers Education Requirements: »»Bachelor’s degree in science »»Pathologists’ Assistant program accredited by NAACLS Certification: »»Earn certification as a Pathologists’ Assistant from the ASCP BOC. “Our work determines what kind of treatment that patient autopsies on people who have died. and experts predict even more growth in the future. “I never know career as a Pathologists’ Assistant. MHS.Pathologists’ Assistant Providing the hands-on assistance that pathologists need to help patients If you like dissecting frogs. “I love the hands-on aspect and variety. a patient lives or dies.” Cheryl says. you might very well enjoy a “I love the hands-on aspect and variety. and be the “eyes” that help Pathologists’ Assistants’ work can be the deciding factor in whether Pathologists diagnose diseases correctly.3761 9 10 Photography by Rick Madsen .

000 to $110. Education Requirements: For example. I learn about new clinical laboratory tests. I learn about new clinical Job opportunities for laboratory professionals are great. because slice tiny. HTL(ASCP)CM. Just ask Melissa C. so valuable for providing the best health care for patients.” prepare samples quickly during surgery to help surgeons assess the procedure’s progress. FACB.080. Was the blood collected wrong? Or maybe labeled incorrectly? Did the whose love of doing crafts led her to her dream career in the accredited by NAACLS patient eat something he wasn’t supposed to before the test? medical laboratory. and I love making things. “Every day. Histotechnologists prepare tissue samples. DABCC. Certification: By discovering the reason behind testing flaws like these. PhD.7681 “This information is so valuable for providing the best health care for patients. This information is for Histotechnologists is especially strong. Supervisor: $66. once noticed that If you’re good at working with your hands. preparation for them to be analyzed under a microscope. and I love making things. or biopsies. It was Ross’s job to find may be the right choice for you. HTL(ASCP)CM What you’ll need: »»Critical thinking skills »»Ability to organize and lead others Education Requirements: »» Doctorate degree »» Post-doctoral fellowship in clinical chemistry (optional) Average Salary: »»$100. Kemp. Histotechnologists are sometimes called upon to »»$54.” “I love science. I’ve never Ross Molinaro. »» Histology program out why. PhD. His doctorate degree gives him the knowledge been let down in my career as a Histotechnologist.” Dr. Ross Molinaro. Experts believe that trend will continue well into the future. Average Salary: look at to spot tiny imperfections in cells.” Histotechnologist from and respect he needs to run an efficient chemistry laboratory that helps patients the ASCP BOC.0003 Photography by Michael Schwarz 11 12 Photography by Luci Pemoni . paper-thin sections of tissue and apply special stains in the more smoothly the medical laboratory runs. the better care patients receive.” Melissa says.” Melissa C. And that can lead to saving lives. MT(ASCP) been let down in my career as a Histotechnologist. It takes patience and a steady hand to do what Histotechnologists do: »»Precision and accuracy they investigate the procedures that lab professionals use to find errors. he helps make sure the “I love science. MT(ASCP). Molinaro says. being a Histotechnologist »» Bachelor’s degree in science a patient’s blood test didn’t match his doctor’s report. and the job market laboratory tests. that Pathologists quickly. Kemp. This can involve working “Every day. “I’ve never »»Earn certification as a same mistakes don’t happen again. Clinical Chemist Histotechnologist Guiding doctors toward new. Every day. better ways to diagnose patients Preparing tissue samples to help pathologists diagnose diseases What you’ll need: »»Excellent hand-eye coordination Clinical Chemists are the scientific detectives of the medical laboratory. under pressure.

McNair. “I thrive on learning about different »» Cytotechnologist program accredited doctors to changes in those patterns that could turn out to be cancer.” Ashley Mariano. Average Salary: »»$54. all the way down to a single cell. diseases. CT(ASCP)CM. patients will have … even before birth. CT(ASCP)CM What you’ll need: »»An interest in genes »»Familiarity with microscopes Education Requirements »»Bachelor’s degree in science »»Cytogenetic technology program accredited by NAACLS Certification: »»Earn a Technologist certification in Cytogenetics from the ASCP BOC. »»$61.” by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs “My real-time assessments help provide a diagnosis. By discovering how What you’ll need: These laboratory professionals use microscopes to pinpoint diseases and chromosomes affect human development. “We’re crazy about genetics and want to learn more. Ashley Mariano.” Sean says.” Ashley says. can detect whether a baby will be born with a condition like »» Bachelor’s degree in science patterns in their physical features. Today doctors aim to diagnose diseases as early as possible.8941 Photography by Leslie Barbaro 13 14 Photography by Kevin Seifert . Cytotechnologist Technologist in Cytogenetics Examining cells to find cancer and infections today Looking into genes to find the diseases of tomorrow No one gets a closer look at the human body than the Cytotechnologist. By doing this. they help predict diseases that »»Familiarity with microscopes infections. Certification: “It’s a crucial step in determining if a patient needs further treatment.413. CG(ASCP)CM Sean A.” the job market for Technologists in Cytogenetics is predicted to grow. It’s a crucial step in determining We’re crazy about genetics and want to learn more.2611 diagnosis. he can alert Down syndrome or Turner syndrome. McNair. Supervisor: $65. »»Earn certification as a Cytotechnologist from the ASCP BOC. »»Ability to recognize patterns If you’re detail-oriented like Sean A. Technologists in Cytogenetics help us see the future. Each day. Average Salary: “My real-time assessments help provide a “I thrive on learning about different diseases. he magnifies the tiniest cells to find CG(ASCP)CM.235.” if a patient needs further treatment. Supervisor: $71. Education Requirements of career you’ll love. Because of this. it’s the kind By looking at specially treated cells under a microscope.

Because she’s ASCP BOC-certified. Believe it or not. Photography by Brent Nicastro 15 16 . All because she made the choice to focus on her favorite field. »»$54. MB(ASCP)CM • Cytometry • Laboratory Safety • Dermatopathology • Microbiology • Forensic Pathology • Neuropathology • Hematology • Pediatric Pathology * The 2010 Wage Survey did not include the Technologists in Molecular Biology. Being a out as a Medical Laboratory Scientist but chose to focus on her Certification: favorite area: Molecular Biology. »»Medical (or Clinical) Laboratory Science or Molecular Biology Can you imagine how good it would feel to be one of them? Whether you are a medical doctor like a pathologist program accredited by NAACLS or a certified laboratory professional. That can mean »»Earn certification as a Technologist in field’s few experts. is in. because she’s one of the specialist puts your skills in high demand. you can choose That’s the position Johanna Sloss. Now.8941* colleagues that I have the knowledge and expertise in my field. There aren’t many experts »» Bachelor’s degree in science in the field. She started »»Work experience in Molecular Biology to specialize in your favorite area of expertise. to take advantage of her expertise. once you’ve begun your career and because we are learning more and more about genetic information Education Requirements: are doing a job you love. there are still opportunities in DNA and how it affects diseases. This wage is equated to that of Medical Laboratory Scientist since the level of skills and and responsibilities are similar. “Getting the ASCP certification in molecular biology shows my Areas of Specialty: colleagues that I have the knowledge • Blood Banking • Immunohistochemistry and expertise in my field. her job prospects are booming. to go farther. Technologist in Molecular Biology Fast-growing area of laboratory medicine Specialize and take your career to the next level What you’ll need: »»Interest in the role of genes in laboratory medicine »»Precision and accuracy Molecular biology is the future of the clinical laboratory.” • Breast Pathology • Informatics • Chemistry • Laboratory Management Johanna Sloss. and those who do exist are in very high demand. Average Salary: “Getting the ASCP certification in molecular biology shows my Below are some of the most popular areas of specialty.” Do any of them sound interesting to you? Johanna says. Supervisor: $65.413. MB(ASCP)CM. medical professionals come from all over a better chance of landing the job you want and often Molecular Biology from the ASCP BOC. for a higher salary.

com/Physician-Pathology-Salary. March 2011. Bennett A. PA.org/scholarships for a complete listing of current scholarships.Chicago American Medical Association • www. Contact these institutions for information on programs around the United States. 2012. or PBT after your name Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) 727.org/certification.828. And in the ASCP 2010 Wage Survey of U.html.org high-quality tests. LabMedicine. your certification allows you to: 773. MLT. Cytogenetics. CT. Clinical Laboratories. CG. people who were certified earned up to 14.S. To learn about ASCP BOC educational and clinical requirements.S. you can take an exam to become National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification (ASCP BOC). Medical Laboratory Technology.8880 www.com website. HTL.464. Job Listings: Medical Schools: • www.ascp. Scholarships: visit www.htm References: 1 Garcia E.naacls. MB.4933 www. Salary. Phlebotomy.facebook.mk/ClinicalChemistWage. Lee H. 202.Resources ASCP Board of Certification Still have questions? Providing excellence in certification of laboratory professionals on behalf of patients worldwide. Molecular Pathology. www.pathologyoutlines. 2012.lcme.2350 Being ASCP BOC-certified also shows that you are competent and able to perform www.com/jobs 312. www1.ascp. DeFranco M.210.caahep. If you pass. Education Programs for Medical Laboratory Science.org • Find better job prospects • Earn higher salaries Education Programs for Cytotechnology: • Add credentials such as MLS. Histologic Technology. Rodriguez F.aamc. When you complete your education and clinical rotations. Schulze M.7 percent more per year.org/directry. Clinical Laboratories.com/ASCP.42(3):141-146.0400 2 Physician salaries. Edward J. Accessed March 27.714. HT. and Pathologists’ Assistant.Salary. Tanabe P. Visit www. 17 18 .org/careercenter Liaison Committee on Medical Education Council on Medical Education • www.ascp. American Society for Association of American Medical Colleges Clinical Pathology’s 2010 Wage Survey of U.org/about/medicalschools/ 3 Survey Monkey website. Accessed March 27. http://svy.