Clinical Laboratory Science Major: Information and Requirements
Clinical laboratory scientists (CLSs) or clinical laboratory technologists assist physicians by performing laboratory tests to detect disease and infection. A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Clinical Laboratory Science program is the first degree program that students need to complete in order to work in this field. Graduates can go on to receive professional certification from a number of national organizations.
Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science
Students in this degree program learn to utilize laboratory equipment to test cells or fluids like blood and urine. A CLS may test a person's blood to determine blood type for transfusion purposes, to detect drugs or to determine the white blood count of a patient with cancer or leukemia. CLSs may also perform tests to examine genes that contribute to diseases or tests that detect bacteria and parasites. Studies in immunology teach students how the human body fights disease and infection and how immune systems become compromised. Laboratory management and leadership studies teach students the professional and ethical responsibilities of a CLS.
Applicants to this program should have a strong science and mathematics background. High school students who are interested in this program should take biology and chemistry courses to prepare them for the intensive science and laboratory curriculum. Students must complete coursework in organic chemistry, microbiology, genetics, immunology and pre-calculus before they enter their clinical year of study.
Coursework varies from school to school. Generally, programs consist of classroom studies and clinical rotations. Students learn theory during the classroom phase of the program and put it into practice when completing their clinicals. Typical courses in this program include:
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CLSs held over 300,000 jobs in the United States in 2008. This number is projected to rise 14% between 2008 and 2018. CLSs made a median annual salary of $55,140 in 2009.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of this degree program can pursue professional certification from the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB), American Medical Technologists (AMT) or American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). These organizations offer certification in a number of disciplines, as well as annual conferences, career services and continuing education opportunities.
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