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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 Dont 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
Where do you see Find out which career is right for you
Learn about these jobs in the medical laboratory and what youll need to get started.
yourself in the future?
Medical Laboratory Scientist Page 3
Shareen Lee, MLS(ASCP)CM
Studying patients specimens to help doctors diagnose and treat diseases

Medical Laboratory Technician Page 5


Robert Callaham, 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,
your dreams? Pathologist Page 7
fuller lives? Alexandra Harrington, MD, FASCP, MT(ASCP)
The doctor who diagnoses diseases at the microscopic level

Pathologists Assistant Page 9


Cheryl Talbott, MHS, 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, PhD, MT(ASCP)
interests you? Guiding doctors toward new, better ways to diagnose patients

Histotechnologist Page 12
Melissa C. Kemp, HTL(ASCP)CM
Preparing tissue samples to help pathologists diagnose diseases

Cytotechnologist Page 13
Sean A. McNair, CT(ASCP)CM
Examining cells to find cancer and infections today

Technologist in Cytogenetics Page 14


Ashley Mariano, 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, MB(ASCP)CM
Fast-growing area of laboratory medicine
Look inside to find a career that can take you
where you want to go. Each page has information Specialize to Further Your Career Page 16
on exciting jobs in the medical laboratory, and stories Resources Page 17
from the real professionals who do them every day. ASCP Board of Certification Page 18

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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 dont have to work in a hospital
medicine. In a single day, a Medical Laboratory Scientist performs some to save lives. They can also work for reference laboratories,
of the most complex tests on blood, tissue, body fluids, and other samples medical offices, and pharmaceutical or biotech companies
from many patients. This helps provide doctors with most of the information where they help diagnose and treat infections, anemia,
they use to treat infections and diagnose cancers and other diseases. and even cancer. Then they relay that information to doctors,
so they can find the best treatment for each patient.
At the same time, theyre a vital part of the emergency medical team
and can even save lives. In some cases, Medical Laboratory Scientists actually provide
treatment information for the physician. For example, they can
Shareen Lee, MLS(ASCP)CM, was working as a Medical Laboratory Scientist
test bacteria, taken from a patient, with different antibiotics
in Los Angeles when a young boy was rushed into her hospitals emergency
to find out which one works best to treat an infection.
room. He had suffered a gunshot wound and needed a blood transfusion
right away. But first, laboratory professionals and doctors needed to get If you enjoy science and solving problems, a career as a Medical
information about his blood, and they were running out of time fast. Laboratory Scientist may be the right choice for you. And because
positions are becoming available faster than employers can fill them,
Thats where Shareen came in. She performed tests to find the correct
Medical Laboratory Science students often have their choice of job
blood type for the boy. It ensured his system could handle the transfusion
offers when they graduate. Once you get started you can become a
that helped keep him alive.
supervisor, and even specialize in a specific area that interests you
We issued blood quickly, and his condition stabilized, Shareen says. (like Hematology, Microbiology, Chemistry, or the Blood Bank).
It played a huge role that day in saving his life.

We issued blood quickly, and his What youll need:


Strong science background
condition stabilized. It played a Interest in solving puzzles

huge role that day in saving his life. Education Requirements:


Bachelors degree in science
Shareen Lee, 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).
Average Salary:
$54,413; Supervisor: $65,8941

Photography by Sara Press 3 4


Medical Laboratory Technician Phlebotomist
Conducting tests that influence doctors treatment decisions Working face-to-face with patients to draw blood samples

What youll need: Phlebotomists are on the front lines in the medical laboratorythe ones
If you love performing experiments in science class, you may want to join
Interest in science and technology who work hands-on with patients to collect blood samples.
the ranks of Medical Laboratory Technicians. Each day, they run the simple,
Ability to be careful and organized day-to-day tests on blood, tissues, body fluids, and other samples with Other duties performed by Phlebotomists include point-of-care testing,
Education Requirements: high-tech equipment in the medical laboratory. such as glucose testing for diabetic patients or infants. Theyre also
responsible for identifying patients prior to sample collection, and ensuring
Associates degree Those test results help doctors determine the right treatments for
that each sample is correctly identified for future testing.
Medical Laboratory Technician patientsand occasionally lead to extraordinary breakthroughs.
program accredited by NAACLS To become a Phlebotomist, you can often start right after high school.
Thats what happened to Robert Callaham, MLT(ASCP)CM, a Medical
You just need to be able to handle stressful situations, have skilled hands,
Certification: Laboratory Technician from New Mexico. He once ran a test on a patient
and love working with people.
Earn certification as a Medical who had told his doctor that he was tired.
Laboratory Technician from the Just ask Karen Penrod, PBT(ASCP)CM, a Phlebotomist at a hospital
No one could figure out what was wrong, Robert says. Finally, I asked
ASCP BOC. in Columbus, Ind. Because of her gentle nature and happy attitude,
if the patient had traveled outside the United States. He had.
people ask for her by name when they need to have blood drawn.
Average Salary: A new test was ordered, and it found a rare disease in his blood work.
$40,768; Supervisor: $49,3381 Some people are nervous about needles, Karen says. So if youre
The test I ran helped the doctor diagnose and treat the patient,
good at talking to people, you can get them to concentrate on you
and restore his health, he says.
and not the needle going into their arm.
As with Medical Laboratory Scientists, the job market for Medical
Sometimes, you even get the opportunity to save a life. Thats what
Laboratory Technicians continues to growand 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
breatha tell-tale sign of diabetes. She reported the smell to the
by the ASCP BOC.
babys doctor, who helped lower the childs blood sugar just in time.

I love my job, Karen says. I get the opportunity to meet and


help a lot of people. Its an awesome feeling. What youll need:
Precision and accuracy
High attention to detail
Excellent people skills
No one could figure out what was If youre good at talking to people, Education Requirements:
wrong. My test helped the doctor you can get them to concentrate High school diploma
Phlebotomy training or
diagnose and treat the patient, on you and not the needle going work experience

and restore his health. into their arm. Certification:


Earn certification as a Phlebotomy
Robert Callaham, MLT(ASCP) CM Karen Penrod, PBT(ASCP)CM Technician or Donor Phlebotomy
Technician from the ASCP BOC.
Average Salary:
$28,080; Supervisor: $41,7661

Photography by Mark Erickson 5 6 Photography by Polina Osherov


Pathologist
The doctor who diagnoses diseases at the microscopic level What youll 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, 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, and her leukemia would have
Residency program in Pathology
spread and caused life-threatening complications. But because of
For Pathologists, these qualities come naturally. Thats because, when a One- or two-year fellowship
Dr. Harringtons expertise, it took less than a day to begin the program in anatomic or
patients life hangs in the balance, these laboratory medicine physicians
chemotherapy that saved her life. 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. Any delay in diagnosis can be devastating, even fatal, she says. Average Salary:
Fortunately, her leukemia type has an excellent outcome when
Alexandra Harrington, MD, FASCP, MT(ASCP), knows this from experience. $247,0132
detected and treated early.
One day, when reviewing a patients blood cells under the microscope,
she found a rare leukemia cell in the background of many normal cells. Because early diagnosis can determine whether a person survives,
The patient was young, healthy, and athletic and only complained of the Pathologist has one of the most important positions in the laboratory
recent tiredness, so the diagnosis was a complete surprise. and in the entire medical field. These medical doctors are at the center
of all other positions in the lab, working with each team member on the
patients behalf.

Its hard work, but the rewards are worth it.


Any delay in diagnosis can
be devastating, even fatal.
Fortunately, her leukemia
type has an excellent
outcome when detected
and treated early.
Alexandra Harrington,
MD, FASCP, MT(ASCP)

Photography by Corey Hengen 7 8


Pathologists Assistant
Providing the hands-on assistance that pathologists need to help patients

If you like dissecting frogs, you might very well enjoy a I love the hands-on aspect and variety, Cheryl says. I never know
career as a Pathologists Assistant. Youll get to work directly what Ill get that day.
with specimens and tissues, and be the eyes that help
Pathologists Assistants work can be the deciding factor in whether
Pathologists diagnose diseases correctly.
a patient lives or dies.
This can include everything from helping surgeons in the
Sometimes, a tumor may look benign, but well find out its cancerous,
operating room find cancer in organ tissue to performing
she says. Our work determines what kind of treatment that patient
autopsies on people who have died. Its an exciting and
will receive.
interesting career for people who enjoy learning more
about how the human body workslike Cheryl Talbott, The career prospects for Pathologists Assistants have grown in recent years,
MHS, CT(ASCP)CMPACM. and experts predict even more growth in the future.

I love the hands-on aspect and variety.


I never know what Ill get that day.
Cheryl Talbott, MHS, CT(ASCP)CMPACM
What youll need:
High attention to detail
Ability to touch and
examine human cadavers
Education Requirements:
Bachelors degree in science
Pathologists Assistant program
accredited by NAACLS
Certification:
Earn certification as a Pathologists
Assistant from the ASCP BOC.
Average Salary:
$74,922; Supervisor: $77,3761

9 10 Photography by Rick Madsen


Clinical Chemist Histotechnologist
Guiding doctors toward new, better ways to diagnose patients Preparing tissue samples to help pathologists diagnose diseases

What youll need:


Excellent hand-eye coordination
Clinical Chemists are the scientific detectives of the medical laboratory. Every day, 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, because slice tiny, paper-thin sections of tissue and apply special stains in
the more smoothly the medical laboratory runs, the better care patients receive. preparation for them to be analyzed under a microscope. Education Requirements:
For example, Ross Molinaro, PhD, MT(ASCP), DABCC, FACB, once noticed that If youre good at working with your hands, being a Histotechnologist Bachelors degree in science
a patients blood test didnt match his doctors report. It was Rosss job to find may be the right choice for you. Just ask Melissa C. Kemp, HTL(ASCP)CM, Histology program
out why. 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 wasnt supposed to before the test? medical laboratory.
Certification:
By discovering the reason behind testing flaws like these, he helps make sure the I love science, and I love making things, Melissa says. Ive never Earn certification as a
same mistakes dont happen again. His doctorate degree gives him the knowledge been let down in my career as a Histotechnologist. Histotechnologist from
and respect he needs to run an efficient chemistry laboratory that helps patients the ASCP BOC.
Histotechnologists prepare tissue samples, or biopsies, that Pathologists
quickly. And that can lead to saving lives. Average Salary:
look at to spot tiny imperfections in cells. This can involve working
Every day, I learn about new clinical laboratory tests, Dr. Molinaro says. under pressure. Histotechnologists are sometimes called upon to $54,080; Supervisor: $66,7681
This information is so valuable for providing the best health care for patients. prepare samples quickly during surgery to help surgeons assess
the procedures progress.
Every day, I learn about new clinical Job opportunities for laboratory professionals are great, and the job market
laboratory tests. This information is for Histotechnologists is especially strong. Experts believe that trend will
continue well into the future.
so valuable for providing the best
health care for patients. I love science, and I love making things. Ive never
Ross Molinaro, PhD, MT(ASCP) been let down in my career as a Histotechnologist.
Melissa C. Kemp, HTL(ASCP)CM

What youll need:


Critical thinking skills
Ability to organize and lead others

Education Requirements:
Doctorate degree
Post-doctoral fellowship in
clinical chemistry (optional)

Average Salary:
$100,000 to $110,0003

Photography by Michael Schwarz 11 12 Photography by Luci Pemoni


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. Technologists in Cytogenetics help us see the future. By discovering how
What youll need:
These laboratory professionals use microscopes to pinpoint diseases and chromosomes affect human development, they help predict diseases that
Familiarity with microscopes
infections, all the way down to a single cell. patients will have even before birth.
Ability to recognize patterns
If youre detail-oriented like Sean A. McNair, CT(ASCP)CM, its the kind By looking at specially treated cells under a microscope, Ashley Mariano,
Education Requirements
of career youll love. Each day, he magnifies the tiniest cells to find CG(ASCP)CM, can detect whether a baby will be born with a condition like
Bachelors degree in science patterns in their physical features. By doing this, he can alert Down syndrome or Turner syndrome. I thrive on learning about different
Cytotechnologist program accredited doctors to changes in those patterns that could turn out to be cancer. diseases, Ashley says. Were crazy about genetics and want to learn more.
by the Commission on Accreditation
of Allied Health Education Programs My real-time assessments help provide a diagnosis, Sean says. Today doctors aim to diagnose diseases as early as possible. Because of this,
Certification: Its a crucial step in determining if a patient needs further treatment. the job market for Technologists in Cytogenetics is predicted to grow.
Earn certification as a Cytotechnologist
from the ASCP BOC.
Average Salary: My real-time assessments help provide a I thrive on learning about different diseases.
$61,235; Supervisor: $71,2611
diagnosis. Its a crucial step in determining Were crazy about genetics and want to learn more.
if a patient needs further treatment. Ashley Mariano, CG(ASCP)CM
Sean A. McNair, CT(ASCP)CM

What youll need:


An interest in genes
Familiarity with microscopes
Education Requirements
Bachelors degree in science
Cytogenetic technology program
accredited by NAACLS
Certification:
Earn a Technologist certification in
Cytogenetics from the ASCP BOC.
Average Salary:
$54,413; Supervisor: $65,8941

Photography by Leslie Barbaro 13 14 Photography by Kevin Seifert


Technologist in Molecular Biology
Fast-growing area of laboratory medicine
Specialize and
take your career
to the next level
What youll need:
Interest in the role of genes
in laboratory medicine
Precision and accuracy Molecular biology is the future of the clinical laboratory, Believe it or not, once youve 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. There arent many experts
Bachelors degree in science
in the field, and those who do exist are in very high demand.
to go farther.
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, you can choose
Thats the position Johanna Sloss, MB(ASCP)CM, is in. She started
Work experience in Molecular Biology to specialize in your favorite area of expertise. Being a
out as a Medical Laboratory Scientist but chose to focus on her
Certification: favorite area: Molecular Biology. Now, because shes one of the
specialist puts your skills in high demand. That can mean
Earn certification as a Technologist in fields few experts, medical professionals come from all over a better chance of landing the job you want and often
Molecular Biology from the ASCP BOC. to take advantage of her expertise. for a higher salary.
Average Salary: Getting the ASCP certification in molecular biology shows my Below are some of the most popular areas of specialty.
$54,413; Supervisor: $65,8941* colleagues that I have the knowledge and expertise in my field, Do any of them sound interesting to you?
Johanna says.

Because shes ASCP BOC-certified, her job prospects are booming.


All because she made the choice to focus on her favorite field.

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. Breast Pathology Informatics
Chemistry Laboratory Management
Johanna Sloss, 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. This wage is equated
to that of Medical Laboratory Scientist since the level of skills and and responsibilities are similar.

Photography by Brent Nicastro 15 16


Resources ASCP Board of Certification
Still have questions? Providing excellence in certification of laboratory professionals on behalf of patients worldwide.

Contact these institutions for information on programs around the United States.

Education Programs for Medical Laboratory Science, Medical Laboratory Technology,


Histologic Technology, Cytogenetics, Molecular Pathology, Phlebotomy, and Pathologists
Assistant.
When you complete your education and clinical rotations, 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).
If you pass, your certification allows you to:
773.714.8880
www.naacls.org Find better job prospects
Earn higher salaries
Education Programs for Cytotechnology: Add credentials such as MLS, MLT, CT, HTL, CG, MB, HT, PA, or PBT after your name
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
727.210.2350 Being ASCP BOC-certified also shows that you are competent and able to perform
www.caahep.org high-quality tests. And in the ASCP 2010 Wage Survey of U.S. Clinical Laboratories,
people who were certified earned up to 14.7 percent more per year.
To learn about ASCP BOC educational and clinical requirements,
Scholarships:
visit www.ascp.org/certification.
Visit www.ascp.org/scholarships for a complete listing of current scholarships.

Job Listings:
Medical Schools:
www.ascp.org/careercenter
Liaison Committee on Medical Education
Council on Medical Education www.facebook.com/ASCP.Chicago
American Medical Association www.pathologyoutlines.com/jobs
312.464.4933
www.lcme.org/directry.htm
References:
1
Garcia E, Bennett A, DeFranco M, Schulze M, Tanabe P, Rodriguez F, Edward J, Lee H, American Society for
Association of American Medical Colleges Clinical Pathologys 2010 Wage Survey of U.S. Clinical Laboratories, LabMedicine. March 2011;42(3):141-146.
202.828.0400 2
Physician salaries. Salary.com website. www1.Salary.com/Physician-Pathology-Salary.html. Accessed March 27, 2012.
www.aamc.org/about/medicalschools/ 3
Survey Monkey website. http://svy.mk/ClinicalChemistWage. Accessed March 27, 2012.

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