Home > Other Health Careers > A Laboratory Science Career

A Laboratory Science Career

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 3 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Laboratory Science Career Medical

If you are in your absolute element when meddling about in the laboratory at school, you should think about continuing in the field and becoming a medical laboratory scientist. Clinical laboratory scientists or technicians are essentially detectives in health care. They work in an investigative role within the laboratory, where they uncover important health information for patients. By analysing laboratory samples and helping medical doctors to accurately diagnose disease in patients, a laboratory scientist plays a vital role in ensuring that patients receive the appropriate diagnosis and treatment to give them the best outcome possible. Laboratory scientists will also perform routine tests to monitor a patient's illness, which can help a physician decide when and how to adjust a medication regime.

Important Skills for a Laboratory Science Career

First and foremost, a studious and unwavering attention to detail is mandatory for a successful career as a laboratory scientist. You also need to enjoy science and be comfortable in the laboratory as well as having a strong respect for safety. In the medical laboratory, carelessness can result in severe injury or fatality to you and those around you. Another important aspect of this kind of work is a comfort around blood and bodily fluids. Depending on which area you choose for specialisation – microbiology, immunology, haematology and many others – you could be working with samples of urine, blood or stool.

You also need to be well-versed in computer and technology applications, particularly given the trend towards electronic records. You will be working with sophisticated technology to create and maintain patient records. Confidentiality is another necessary aspect of this kind of work, which ensures that a patient's privacy and sensitive health information are respected. Your work will help to diagnose diseases such as cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases. You may also identify bacteria and viruses or detect drugs of abuse. All of these tests generate large volumes of data, which you will need to carefully and accurately record.

If you are considering a career in laboratory science, you should have excellent motor skills, hand-eye coordination along with good time management skills and communications skills. You also need to be capable of reading graphs and charts as well as working well independently and in a laboratory team.

Working in a Laboratory Science Career

If you do not want to invest the time and money to train for an undergraduate degree in the biomedical sciences, then you can work as a laboratory technician or assistant instead of a scientist. Usually, a year of university leading to a certificate is sufficient to work as a medical laboratory assistant. Those who complete a diploma over the course of approximately two years will work as technicians while those who work as scientists will have a degree and practical training, plus the appropriate national registration. Often, you will be hired immediately following graduation, where you will work for a year or two in a trainee role before becoming registered.

In a typical day, you will process and analyse laboratory specimens and samples, maintain instruments used for analysis and produce accurate findings after the analysis is complete. Those who work in more clinical roles will have greater responsibility such as evaluating results and problem-solving as well as researching and testing out new methods of analysis. You may also be involved in training new graduates or providing teaching to those enrolled in university programs.

Choosing a Career in Laboratory Science

The demand for laboratory scientists is expected to grow by ten to twenty percent before the end of this decade. The average starting salary is approximately £23,000 but easily reaches £35,000 or more as you gain experience. Those who work in laboratory management will make in excess of £45,000 per year. With shortages of qualified laboratory workers in many geographic areas, graduates usually find that they can obtain employment quite rapidly.

If laboratory work is exciting and challenging for you and a career at a desk or out in the public is far from appealing, then consider a medical career in laboratory science. Whether you want to work in a more supportive assistant or technician role or you prefer greater responsibility in a scientist role, there is a place for you in the laboratory that best fits your education goals, skills and needs. You can play an important role in analysing patient samples to help physicians make accurate diagnoses and provide effective treatments to improve patient health outcomes.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Jen
    Re: Work as a Travel Nurse
    Hello - are there any similar avenues for physiotherapists? Thanks!
    24 January 2021
  • Jacob
    Re: Work in Respiratory Therapy
    Hi to work in the field of respiratory therapy you have to have a physiotherapy degree or be able to convert to a physiotherapy…
    8 January 2021
  • JHN280419
    Re: Working in Health Economics
    I have a BSc in Public Health. Will a diploma in economics suffice to pursue this Masters qualification? Or should I pursue a…
    4 January 2021
  • Mary
    Re: Work in Respiratory Therapy
    I am a Respiratory Therapist in Philippines. How would I be able to apply for a job here in UK? People do not seems know and…
    12 December 2020
  • Judy
    Re: Unions for Health Workers
    I work for a selfish private company that are taking advantage of my lack of experience and the fact they don’t see me because I work…
    7 December 2020
  • Craig
    Re: A Career as a Surgical Technologist
    I'm a Certified Surgical Tech with 10 years experience and 1 as a service lead in Spine. I'm looking to work in either…
    30 November 2020
  • Ara
    Re: Pharmaceutical Brand Manager
    i have to attend an interview for post of Brand Manager of Pharmaceutical company after two days, Can you help me to upgrade my…
    9 November 2020
  • Sid
    Re: Working in Ocular Prosthetics
    Dear Health career, I hope you’re taking care in these difficult times. I am reaching out to find out if there’s job…
    8 November 2020
  • Webbie
    Re: Unions for Health Workers
    I work as an Activities / Lifestyle co-ordinator for a care home in Richmond. During the recent lockdown my job role has become even…
    7 November 2020
  • Hiba
    Re: A Career as a Surgical Technologist
    Hi. Im surgical technologist. And i have 4 years experience. Im looking for emigrate to uk. How i can do process?
    21 October 2020