MLP Workforce Report
The attrition of lab professionals due to aging and
retirement will open ample opportunities for new technicians and technologists.
The need for diagnostic lab services will continue to increase with the aging
Donning gloves, a protective mask and goggles, they operate
microscopes, study blood samples and analyze tissue samples for normal or
abnormal findings, some even analyzing cells for an indication of a cancerous
growth. This is all in a day’s work for medical laboratory professionals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth
of 22 percent is expected between 2012 and 2022 for medical laboratory
professionals, a rate that is much faster than the average growth for a career
field. And that number could go even higher.
Jon Harol, laboratory recruiter for Lighthouse Recruiting,
expects a vacancy rate of up to 40 percent in medical labs by 2018 because of
older staff members retiring. Not only does this leave potential for new lab
staff to enter the job field, it gives current laboratory professionals with a
few years of experience under their belt to move up the career ladder as baby
boomers exit the work force, leaving behind their career titles and higher pay
Those same baby boomers are autonomously adding to the aging
population, increasing the demand for medical lab procedures used to diagnose
cancer and other diseases, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This will further strengthen job security for medical lab technicians and
technologists who perform the procedures.
Launching a Lab
When considering this profession, it’s important to know that as with any
job, new hires will likely have to pay their dues.
“Early on in your career you are probably going to end up
working a lot of nights and holidays,” Harol said in an interview with ADVANCE.
“However, if you stick with it you can usually work your way on to a day shift
and be called on to work less holidays.
When employers are looking to hire, they’ll assess whether
someone is right for the job. Similarly, people researching occupations should
ask themselves whether they’re right for this line of work. Valuable qualities
for medical laboratory professionals to possess are an ability to use
technology, attention to detail, dexterity in order to work closely with needles
and other lab equipment and physical stamina, since they may need to lift or
turn a patient in order to collect a sample.
Most entry-level technologist jobs require a bachelor’s
degree, usually in medical laboratory technology or life sciences. An
associate’s degree is usually required to become a medical laboratory
technician. Both types of programs typically include courses in chemistry, biology
Something else to take into account is that a number of
schools and programs are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for
Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), which assures quality, value and
innovation for healthcare providers, according to its website.
After graduation, some states require a license or certification to secure
employment in the field. Harol finds that states with these requirements, such
as New York, California and Florida, are often most in need for medical
laboratory technologists and technicians due to the added requirement to enter
As a group, medical laboratory professionals make an average
of $47,820 annually. Technologists command higher salaries in the range of $57,000
according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Technicians educated at an
associate’s degree level make slightly less. With job demand for these positions
on the rise, salaries are expected to increase accordingly over the next few