Welcome to Health Care POV | sign in | join
Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Clinical Lab Science Still Competitive

Published May 28, 2008 2:49 PM by Glen McDaniel

According to an article in Money magazine, laboratory technologist (clinical laboratorian) ranks 46 out of the 50 best jobs.  

This ranking is based on a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which makes projections of which professions--requiring at least a bachelor's degree--will grow at an above-average rate over the next 10 years. The Bureau uses a formula that factors in criteria such as starting and average salaries, growth rate, training required and even level of stress expected.

Given the current state of disillusionment among some in the profession, readers might be surprised that CLS made the list. It is instructive to visit the Money site, click on the various links and see how a CLS compares with other professionals like Physician Assistant (No. 5), Pharmacist (No. 9), physician (No. 30) and even a CEO. It might surprise you to know that nurse ranks below CLS at No. 47.

Given a dwindling workforce, closing programs, attrition, retiring baby boomers, stress, increased automation and the like, it's positive that CLS is a viable option for those looking for a "growth career"

There is some independent data that some older workers are choosing CLS as their second career when they make a career change. This will not address the aging profession, but might well bring in workers who are mature and motivated to join the profession. Interestingly in the nursing profession, some professional nurses claim "older newcomers" choose nursing simply as Plan B after burn out, or choose it simply because it pays relatively well.

Do you see the same thing happening in clinical lab science?  More importantly, do you still see CLS as a competitive profession? Why or why not?

23 comments

One more thing - for just the Clinical Microbiology department of Duke University Health System, the procedure manual consists of at least 10 different volumes, as opposed to the one binder a small hospital's microbiology department most likely has for its procedure manual.

How many 150- to 200-bed hospitals have any of you heard of that perform Pneumocystis carinii stains (on respiratory specimens from immunocompromised patients); fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to identify Candida albicans vs. other Candida species in positive blood cultures exhibiting yeast on Gram stains; viral cultures; or AFB cultures?

Stephanie Mathis, MT(ASCP), Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Danville Regional Medical Center November 3, 2008 8:10 PM
Danville VA

I'm sure that many medical laboratory technologists out there who have only worked as a generalist and have never specialized in one area of the lab believe the misconception in the previous comment.  

In fact, smaller hospital laboratories in which MT/CLS professionals work as generalists often "send out" more complex or esoteric testing for which they do not receive enough requests to make in-house testing cost-effective (i.e. antibody identification panels in blood bank; Mycoplasma/Ureaplasma cultures of genital specimens; identification/susceptibility testing of fungi; even Clostridium difficile toxin assays for stool cultures in the first hospital in which I worked as a generalist).

I have worked at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center's transfusion service and Duke University Health System's Clinical Microbiology laboratory.  There are definitely plenty of critical thinking opportunities in Blood Bank (2-3 or more antibodies produced by one patient, warm autoantibodies, cold-reacting antibodies, ABO/Rh testing discrepancies) and Microbiology (Gram stain interpretations are not always a cake walk!). Also, both of those large facilities' training checklists included columns next to each task for "observing performance," "performing under supervision" and "performing independently."

Smaller hospitals, in which I have also worked as a generalist recently, can tend to insist that their laboratories follow certain procedures because "that's the way they've always performed them."  At Duke, however, I was informed that methanol fixation of Gram stains dries specimen and fixes it to the slide more quickly and efficiently than heat fixation - and it is less likely to distort microoorganisms into those weird "morphologies" that may make interpretation ambiguous and/or difficult.

Stephanie Mathis, Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Danville Regional Medical Center November 3, 2008 1:40 PM
Danville VA

I have to comment on Stephanie Mathis's statement on this post (which was published in the Oct 6 Advance for MLP:

"...this field may become MUCH more competitive if those of us who specialize in the extremely complicated fields of the lab that require a great deal of high-level, critical thinking - Microbiology and Blood Bank - are compensated at an at least slightly higher rate than John/Jane Doe, MT/MLT,"jack of all trades" (a.k.a. generalist)"

This statement cannot be applied in all laboratory settings.  Generalists in the labs that I have worked at have to perform all the same testing as the blood banking techs, on top of their duties in at least 2 other departments, sometimes including microbiology.  I think pay raises for each department that you are trained to work in would make much more since.

The "jack of all trades" MT has to keep track of many more policies and procedures than the MT that works in one department.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the opposite of your statement is often the case: generalists have more duties and critical thinking to do than the techs devoted to one department.

If you are talking specifically about techs that manage a department (tech specialist or manager), then of course they would deserve a pay raise (which they usually do).

We need to be focused on pay discrepancies between 2 year RNs and 4 year MTs before we start squabbling over pay between laboratorians.  The wage disparities between our field and other fields is paramount.

Ken Charpie, Generalist - MT, McKenzie Willamette Medical Center October 12, 2008 6:00 PM
Springfield OR

Grace:

The CLS profession is suffering a dire shortage of  trained professionals right now so you should have no problems getting a job. The profession would  be glad to have you!

The very first thing I would suggest is that you get in touch with the California Departnment of Health to find out if you have to retake the state licensure exam. This is their website

https://secure.cps.ca.gov/cltreg/

There are also agencies offering "re-entry" courses. At one time the CLS program at San Francisco State University had an excellent 6 month refresher program for folks exactly like yourself. Try contacting them at 415-338-2332 or by emailing

ninah@sfsu.edu

The Nebraska Public Health Lab also has a free online CLS refresher course that is definitely worth checking out. I dont have their contact info, but you can always Google them.

Another avenue to consider is that of volunteering at a local hospital. Even if you dont have to resit the licensure exam, you might want to get your skills (and confidence) up to speed by actually working in  a laboratory and familiarizing yourself with current processes and technology.  Most labs are shortstaffed and would gladly utilize your skills for free for a few hours per week. Be prepared to  chip in as needed (as opposed to choosing what YOU want to do), and I bet you will learn a lot.

Good luck with your career and please let us know how it turns out!

Glen McDaniel October 8, 2008 7:50 PM
Atlanta GA

Hi ! my name is grace and i am a CLS but no experience in the U.S. i passed the California board exam in Medical Technology 14 years ago but went on "vacation" because of a high demand of raising my family. Now i have difficulty in looking for a job as a CLS and my goal is to go back to my profession but i don't know where to get my refresher training. PLS. help! thank you. grace

grace , medical - lab asst/CLS, laboratory October 5, 2008 2:18 PM
Roseville CA

A colleague of mine, also a traveling/temporary MT/CLS, just had a very interesting conversation last night about how this field may become MUCH more competitive if those of us who specialize in the extremely complicated fields of the lab that require a great deal of high-level, critical thinking - Microbiology and Blood Bank - are compensated at an at least slightly higher rate than John/Jane Doe, MT/MLT,"jack of all trades" (a.k.a. generalist).  

My co-worker would love to return to school and earn his SBB certification, BUT he does not see any point in shelling out big bucks for basically a few more letters added to his title, which may simply qualify him for a Blood Bank supervisor position the way things are now.  He has no interest whatsoever in managing employees, and I CANNOT blame him, given my experiences which have provided me with a valuable perspective on what makes an effective manager - a remarkable person who has great people skills and talent for positively motivating people with different personalities.

Anyway, does anyone out there think, now that the NCA/ASCP collaboration may actually happen AT LONG LAST, that this may sufficiently "increase credibility and respect" for laboratory professionals "among other health care professionals and employers" for some of said facilities to consider such a radical idea as higher pay rates and more forms of other positive recognition for clinical microbiologists and transfusion medicine laboratorians?

Stephanie Mathis, Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Aureus Medical Group September 18, 2008 5:01 PM
College Station TX

I agree, Nick. A few years ago I worked on a recruitment/retention task force for a large hospital corporation and when I mentioned the growing laboratory shortage no one else believed it. The concentration was almost entirely on nursing, then pharmacists and somewhat on imaging professionals. Administrators did not see it, the public did not see it and those who conceded that it was a "potential problem" did not give it the same importance as shortages in other areas.

I know segments of the readership of Modern Healthcare are totally shocked on reading this article.  The general public is even more unaware about this shortage or its implications for their own healthcare.

I find your comment on boomers retiring enmasse also very insightful. In fact I wrote a blog on that very subjecta nd it will be posted shortly.

Glen McDaniel July 1, 2008 1:21 PM

The article from Modern Healthcare / ASCP was very good in addressing the modern Laboratory's blight.  However, none of this is news to laboratorians.  It would be news to the general public if it or other articles like it were to be published in newspapers, magazines and other healthcare trade magazines that people outside the laboratory would read.

One thing that I am skeptical of is the 'mass retirement' of boomers that many are predicting.    What is to say that many may stay on the job for another 5-10 years due to financial reasons?  (increased costs, retirement fund (401k) in the dump, mortgage problems, etc...)

Nick Speigler July 1, 2008 9:49 AM
Buffalo NY

The ADVANCE web site posted a couple of useful articles for anyone considering a career in our interesting, rapidly growing and evolving field of clinical laboratory science.  See

http://laboratorian.advanceweb.com/editorial/content/editorial.aspx?cc=117585&CP=3

I suggest that readers pay close attention to items #6, 8, and 9 ("know the demands of the job," "play well with others," and "you don't know ALL the answers").  Also, #3 about not being afraid to relocate is applicable to our field at least until more hospitals adopt the type of pay scale for medical laboratory technologists recently implemented in a hospital in South Boston, VA, where the starting salary is a little over $21/hour.

The other article I wanted to mention may be considered by some people as "offensive" in that it compares people to animals, but I think it does a good job of describing the quirks, personality traits, and interpersonal habits of some co-workers I have worked with myself during the last four years:

http://laboratorian.advanceweb.com/editorial/content/editorial.aspx?cc=117554&CP=2

Stephanie Mathis, MT(ASCP), Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Aureus Medical Group July 1, 2008 7:52 AM
Winston Salem NC

Clinical laboratory science may be a "high-growth" occupation due to the disproportionately low number of new graduates entering the field compared to technologists who retire or enter another profession.  However, I believe it will never become a desirable field of work for college graduates to consider as a personally and professionally satisfying long-term career as long as many employers out there insist on:

1) using personnel trained on an "OJT" basis in addition to those who have learned the theory behind the numbers they're cranking out and become certified by an agency that requires them to remain educated on current laboratory medicine topics

2) allowing them to perform testing that was not covered in their training and/or certification

3) expecting them to work on a sometimes extremely short-staffed basis, dealing with unrealistically heavy work loads (i.e. coming in on second shift at 4 PM to find about 100 or so sets of blood cultures which have not been accessioned yet, quite a few of which were drawn at 5:00 that morning in the ER); this happened to me on more than one Friday when 1st shift personnel in this particular lab, in which I greatly enjoyed working otherwise, took three-day weekends!

4) whining, complaining, and making do

and last but absolutely, positively not least:

5) not paying them what they are worth unless they are traveling far away from home, family, and friends and working on a 13-week basis through a temporary staffing company!

Stephanie Mathis, Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Aureus Medical Group June 28, 2008 5:38 AM
Winston Salem NC

Thanks for sharing this Stephanie. I had read it in Modern Healthcare and thought how timely and interesting.

Glen June 27, 2008 7:03 PM
Atlanta GA

Here's yet another article on the laboratory staffing shortage - and the dangerous lack of awareness the general public has of this serious threat to patient safety:

http://www.ascp.org/pdf/hilborne.aspx

Stephanie Mathis, Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Aureus Medical Group June 27, 2008 1:35 PM
Winston Salem NC

I definitely did not intend to disregard other professions within and outside of the health care field whose jobs also involve night work.

(My ex-husband is a firefighter and EMT; he went out on several calls throughout the night at one of the stations in the "rough" part of Winston Salem during most of our marriage.  Therefore, he did not care to hear a word about how tough it was to get up every few hours with our new baby daughter - from someone who had never previously experienced sleep interruption or deprivation, through work or other reasons.  

From my perspective, I could not understand how it was significantly tougher for him to work three busy nights out of a seven-day week vs. my getting up with the baby 7 nights a week.  He was getting PAID for his sleep deprivation, whereas I was not - to him, that somehow validated his trivializing the difficulty of my situation.) :P

I definitely understand the concern about sleep-deprived driving because I heard a TV news report about a study demonstrating that sleep deprivation causes similar impairment to alcohol use in drivers who had been awake for 17-19 hours.

See http://archives.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/09/20/sleep.deprivation/

and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_Deprived_Driving

A truck driver became angry with me one night while I was driving to Greensboro (evidently not fast enough for him) after my shift at Duke had ended at 12:30 AM - tailgating, flashing his lights, etc.  By the way, I was not even in the left-hand/"fast" lane of I-40/85!

I take the possibility of injuring/killing myself or others while driving on too little sleep EXTREMELY seriously; that's why I made sure I took care of myself and got at least 5-6 hours of sleep during the day while I worked third shift earlier this year.

Stephanie Mathis, MT(ASCP), Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Medical Staffing Network June 13, 2008 9:46 AM
Danville VA

My point exactly.  Many of us do not function well being awake at those hours.  Unfortunately, these are the only (undesirable) hours available to many MT's - so we have to take them, in hopes of some day retiring to day shift and returning back to a normal sleep pattern.

You also forgot to mention the sleep deprived nurses, doctors, EMT's, Pharms, Rad Techs, et al..  We aren't the only ones that are hit hard by undesirable short-staffed shift work. - plus I bet you can see just as many 'errors' being made by all shifts as a result of other factors, i.e., heavy workload, inexperienced staff, lack of communication or working double shifts - to name a few.  

I just know my biggest fear is falling asleep at the wheel on the drive home. - how many other 'tired' night shift workers are out on the road at the same time commuting home then as well?

Ryan June 12, 2008 8:58 AM
Buffalo NY

I have a general question for all night-shift medical laboratory professionals who would much rather work day jobs.  Imagine that you became seriously ill, injured in a car accident, etc., at 2:00 AM and required emergency medical attention.  

Would you feel positively about the care you (or a member of your family) received at that particular hospital if a "sleep-deprived" MT/CLS provided your (family member's) physician with results of potentially compromised quality because he/she "dozed off by the differential microscope," made an analytical or clerical error with your (family member's) blood type/crossmatch, etc.?!

Human beings are not perfect and will inevitably make mistakes, but it is our responsibility to minimize such errors as much as we possibly can.  In clinical laboratories, we all have as much responsibility for the patients we may indirectly serve in most cases as for our own families because they are all SOMEONE's family member.  

As a relatively new (2004 graduate) MT/CLS, I'm still altruistic/"Pollyanna"ish enough to believe that this occupation is more than just "something to do in order to pay bills and put food on the table."

I apologize to anyone who may be offended by my strong opinion, but I also believe that anyone who is not caring or compassionate enough to view all patients as important human beings (who deserve high quality medical treatment) has absolutely NO business working in ANY field of health care, regardless of compensation or lack thereof!

Stephanie Mathis, MT(ASCP), Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Medical Staffing Network June 11, 2008 6:11 AM
Danville VA

I know I would definitely not be crazy about the idea of working third shift for 15-20 years straight... I was lucky to only have to work nights for a couple of months during a traveling position in West Virginia.  My sweet fiance bought me a sleeping mask from Wal-Mart, which very helpfully blocked out the sunlight, but the only apartment available at the time was in a building right next to a very busy street near Bluefield College in Virginia - which made it difficult to get to sleep on quite a few days!  

So I definitely understand Ryan and Nick's frustrations. (Out of curiosity, do the two of you work at the same facility, by any chance?) My mother and her brother grew up in Westchester County, NY, and my Uncle Steve went to college in Buffalo, by the way. :)

My fiance, who has a master's degree in History, is applying for history instructor positions at community colleges in Greensboro and Asheboro, NC - and I've just put in an application for a 5:30 A to 3:30P (four 10-hour shifts!) job at the laboratory of the hospital in Asheboro... wish us luck!

Stephanie Mathis, MT(ASCP), Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Medical Staffing Network June 9, 2008 1:46 PM
Danville VA

I would only want the day shift so that I could have some normalcy in sleep and have an actual weekend off.  I could tolerate or hopefully turn a deaf ear to all of the BS that does take place during daylight hours to have the benefit of being able to get a full tight's sleep every night. (Yes, Stephanie, I do agree with you nighttime is less politically charged..)

Presently, I am graced with the utmost privildge of working every Friday night and every other weekend.  So, in fact, I work every weekend with only one full Sunday off every other week. My so-called weekends off are usually spent fatigued and sleeping or awake and cranky - neither of which me or my family deserves.

I did read all of the letters in the MLO article link you posted and did nothing but nod in agreeance the whole time with them.  

Ryan , MT(ASCP) June 9, 2008 11:41 AM
Buffalo NY

Ironically, in my nearly four years of working as a MT/CLS since becoming certified by ASCP, my evening (4:00 PM-12:30 AM) job in the clinical microbiology laboratory at Duke was the position in which I felt the most respected and appreciated as a human being and a professional - AND encouraged to excel in my responsibilities as a valued member of the laboratory team. (I lived in High Point at the time = 90-minute one-way commute.) Two of the "utopic" day jobs in NC which involved a work week of less than five days also happened to involve sorry excuses for supervisors.

(See the "Work and Play" postings in the October 2007 archives; the remarks made to Glen by a lab manager who did not feel she had any inappropriate attitude toward employees whatsoever inspired me to write about my experiences under that topic long before he came up with the "Boss from Hell" or "Mission/Vision - Just Words?" topics.)

(Both schedules contained 12-hour shifts - the first one in Thomasville adding in a fourth 7-hour day because the large company that owned that hospital wasn't about to do anyone any favors by paying them "incentive" hours in which they did not actually work, and the other one in Rockingham County paying 44 hours for three 12-hour shifts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Believe it or not, such creative scheduling DOES occur in the medical laboratory field, just possibly not in very many NY facilities!)

I have a six-year-old daughter who lives in Winston Salem, NC with her father (my ex-husband) while I work in traveling lab positions so that I can more quickly pay down the debts incurred through my April 2005 separation and October 2007 divorce from the jerk.

($19-22/hour base pay + over $500/week tax-free food, car and housing allowances vs. $17.80/hour, at the Winston Salem hospital where I graduated from MT school, and no additional tax-free help... that was an extremely difficult decision!) :P

I can't speak for all medical laboratory professionals whose family situations may be relatively "easy," or just not quite as complicated as mine.  However, if I received offers for both a day job and a night job tomorrow, I would accept the night job in a heartbeat because I've dealt with enough brow-beating, back-stabbing, favoritism, "politics," etc. in five day jobs to last me a hundred lifetimes!

Stephanie Mathis, MT(ASCP), Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Medical Staffing Network June 8, 2008 5:13 PM
Danville VA

What could be done to aid in the shortage, as stated in the CNN Money magazine article, would be to start making the labs' work schedules more conducive to its employee's lifestyles through alternative scheduling practices.  

We all know for the first 10-20 years we are in the profession, we will be schlepping away on evening or night shift, awaiting a day job.  We also know that off shifts are not fun hours to work, but have to do it as a means of employment.  If schedules were made to be more flexible, so as not to have to work as many shifts, but the same FT hours, - I bet many techs would take that as a consolation.  I know some facilities DO do this, give their employees 4-10 or 3-12 hour shifts.  Many do not.  Many of us have been around long enough to know that wages are stagnant and aren't going up any time soon.  

What I think is that management and administration, who have never seen the far side of midnight in a long time (or at all), do not know what it is like and what kind of toll it takes on one's body, mind and personal life working these hours.  They are unable to sympathize with those that work those hours.

There are many non-laboratory staff that work fewer, but longer shifts and love that aspect of their job - being able to have a FT job, yet have more time at home with their family.  The laboratory, as usual, is behind the times and is reluctant to change.

Forward thinking is critical - being able to forecast trends and needs and demands to stay afloat.  

Which facility do you think would get more applicants, assuming same wages and benefits ?

1.  FT, nights, MT, three consecutive tweleve hr shifts, every third weekend.

2.  FT, nights, MT, five eight hr shifts, every weekend.

.

Nick Speigler, MT June 6, 2008 10:51 AM
Buffalo NY

A letter to the editor of Medical Laboratory Observer magazine from Susan White, the chemistry lab manager of Florida Hospital in Orlando, FL, provides one of many examples I'm sure there are in our field of the correlation between LOW pay rates for medical laboratory "professionals" and many of the newer ones leaving for more highly compensated medical careers!

See http://www.mlo-online.com/articles/0508/0508letters.pdf

Also, Florida's initial clinical laboratory licensure fee isn't quite as high as NY's $345, but it's definitely up there - $205.  Did I mention that I'm one of those disgruntled traveling MTs who refuse to travel to any state that requires such ridiculously astronomical licensure fees of UNDERPAID laboratory "professionals?!"

Stephanie Mathis, MT(ASCP), Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Medical Staffing Network June 5, 2008 10:33 PM
Danville VA

Hi,

I totally agree with comments from Stephanie Mathis and Nick Speigler as a CLS in this field since 1992. If I have opportunity

to go back from the beginning, I would go to Dental or Pharmacy

after finishing the CLS program. I also do not encourage any people I know going to this field as recognition & financial paybacks are worse comparing to other 4 years BS degree! Maybe, they will "import" lab techs from foreign countries like other health care fields as MD, RN... in the future.

Christopher, CLS (ASCP) June 2, 2008 5:36 PM
Los Angeles CA

I just read Lucia Berte's "Quality Qorner" column in the June 2008 issue of ASCP Lab Medicine (p.332), and I don't believe that her comments about MTs' "complaints" about their pay scale vs. that of nurses will encourage any reversal of the serious staffing shortage in medical laboratories.  Ms. Berte states that "over 30 years ago" when she began working in this profession, she heard similar grievances from her colleagues.  What she goes on to say greatly offends me - "Guess what? Parity is not likely to happen - certainly not in my professional lifetime and perhaps not in yours...health care most values the people who lay hands on patients.  If you want that kind of recognition and pay, be a doctor or a nurse or a physical therapist."  I wonder if this woman realizes that in smaller hospitals, MTs and MLTs DO lay hands on patients when they are required to perform phlebotomy!

Ms. Berte suggests that the "complainers" who "don't like their professional invisibility" should communicate the importance of their work in patient care to the public, and "what you don't get in dollars you may still find in the satisfaction of contributing from your heart to truly make a difference."  As wonderful and altruistic as such motives may sound to those of her generation, making a difference through heartfelt contributions unfortunately does not help pay our bills.  Refresh my memory, please - what is the percentage of laboratory professionals who hold more than one job today?!

Ironically, there is also an article in this Lab Medicine issue titled "Managing Workforce Health and Wellness" (Ward and McInnis, p. 326-331) that describes low earnings as an obstacle to recruitment of the 137,000 additional laboratory workers the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that we will need four years from now, compared to the 2002 staffing level in this field!  These authors state that "for the shortage of laboratory professionals to improve, SALARIES MUST INCREASE (my capitalization for emphasis!).  The current work force is driven more by salary and economics that those in years past."  Gee, I wonder if that may be because the cost of living (gas and food prices being two glaring examples) has risen significantly higher than that of Ms. Berte and her colleagues when they first started working in this field over thirty years ago!  

Karen Ward and Leigh Ann McInnis, two professionals from the nursing field, also state that "we must attract a greater number of individuals into the (medical laboratory) profession by modeling a RESPECTFUL, SUPPORTIVE (again, capitalized by myself for emphasis) and challenging work environment" and that "RECOGNITION, including from those outside of the profession, of the value and significance of one's work is a substantial factor in JOB SATISFACTION."

I hope more health care facilities listen to the suggestions in the article pertaining to developing a more physically and psychologically healthy work place for laboratory professionals.  

Ms. Berte's opinion suggesting that younger generations of such PROFESSIONALS have no right to feel disillusioned about lack of pay or recognition compared to those who have significantly higher levels of direct patient contact - and should just "suck it up and deal with it" - will only perpetuate the trend that we already DO see of entry-level laboratory professionals moving on to become physician assistants, nurse practitioners, doctors, etc.  Thank you for your glowing support of the vital work that we do every day in the lab, Ms. Berte (note blatant sarcasm)!!!

Stephanie Mathis, Generalist - Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Medical Staffing Network June 2, 2008 3:20 PM
Danville VA

Money.com may have one thing right when it reviewed professions, CLS mainly, in that the growth (demand) in the field will be somewhat increasing.  

Due to what factors?

  Retirements - possibly?

  Decrease in graduation rate - plausible...

  Increased demand or bigger core lab facilities - eh... ?

  Techs that are burnt out or leaving field - increasingly ..

  Ever-Stagnant pay - No.

When looking at the various factors that they used to come to their conclusions, as well as the MoneySalary calculator, I can definately refute that their data is skewed (or incorrect).  For our locality (Buffalo, NY) for the geographic - specific calculator to say that an average MT earns $55,000/yr is a pipe dream.  In fact for many, the new grads are making as much as the 20-year veterans.  The upper end of our facility's MT pay scale is ~$46k.

What isn't a surprise to many in the field is observing the number of new grads that are in the MT program, but use it as a stepping stone to go on to PA, NP, RN, Pharmacy or Medical School, etc.  Some will work a short peroid of time before (or while) going back but with all intentions of leaving the Laboratory field for greener pastures.  

Although through personal experiences as well as those shared with others, can you really blame them?  Who wants to work evenings or nights for the next fifteen years, waiting to get a day job?  Who wants to get a paycheck that barely covers expenses (with a 4-year Bachelors' degree)?  And who would want to be in a profession where there are limited promotional possibilites within the field and only yearly two-percent raises ?  - Many take the exit ramp to Sales, service, Information technology, higher education or leave the field all together.

Nick Speigler, MT June 2, 2008 11:16 AM
Buffalo NY

leave a comment



To prevent comment spam, please type the code you see below into the code field before submitting your comment. If you cannot read the numbers in the image, reload the page to generate a new one.

Captcha
Enter the security code below:
 

Search

About this Blog

Keep Me Updated