Online Laboratory Degree Programs
Clinical laboratory science professionals work primarily in a laboratory and while technicians and technologists don't often see patients, they play a large role in patient care. They're called upon to perform tests, procedures, or research that contributes to the detection and treatment of disease. Often they assist physicians in making a correct patient diagnosis.
Working as a Technologist or Technician
Following the completion of their online career training, technicians and technologists often take jobs in physicians' offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, research laboratories, government agencies, college and university research facilities. They can continue their learning to qualify for specializations as cytotechnoligists, diagnostic molecular scientists, histotechnologists, or phlebotomists.
Technicians and technologists perform many of the same duties. They work in hospital and clinic laboratories performing tests on patient samples, such as blood and urine. They evaluate the tests and pass along the results to other medical professionals. Depending upon their specialization, these professionals work with ever-advancing computer and medical device technology. Their ultimate level of training and experience often dictates their day-to-day duties.
Online Clinical Laboratory Technician or Technologist Training
Online career training programs offer a blend of distance learning along with directly supervised practical laboratory experience. Some colleges offer training in a series of intensive week-long or multiple-week seminars that combine online studies with on-location practice.
Clinical laboratory science majors typically become clinical laboratory technicians and technologists. Technologists have completed at least a bachelor's degree and are required to be nationally certified. Technicians usually have an associate's degree or certificate, and they are supervised by clinical laboratory technologists.
Clinical laboratory science majors usually are required to take many science courses, including biology and organic chemistry. Courses in urinalysis, microbiology, and lab techniques are also required. At the bachelor's degree level, classes include detailed studies in the biological sciences, microbiology, mathematics, statistics, chemistry, and computer programs.
Technicians may advance their careers by completing their bachelor's degree, while technologists may move into leadership roles following post-graduate studies in management or business. Some states require working laboratory technicians or technologists to hold licenses or registrations. Technologists typically become licensed after passing a state exam. There are also online programs leading to PhDs in the health sciences.
Job Outlook, Salaries for Laboratory Technicians and Technologists
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster-then-average growth in jobs for laboratory technicians and technologists between 2006 and 2016, with an overall increase by 14 percent. Job openings are expected to exceed the total number of qualified applicants. Additional career positions will come open through retirement of current personnel or advancements into management, creating additional needs at the entry level.
More than half of today's jobs are in hospitals, with the balance at physicians' offices and diagnostic laboratories. While hospitals are expected to remain the principal employer, the fastest growth of jobs is predicted at medical and diagnostic lab facilities. Clinical laboratory technologists earned $51,720 annually in 2007, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Clinical laboratory technicians earned $34,270.