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A laboratory technologist is a scientist who analyzes samples of living and nonliving matter in a laboratory setting. He or she carefully examines a sample using sophisticated laboratory equipment to learn about its composition. Most laboratory technologist jobs are found in clinical labs or scientific research labs, and there is considerable room for specialization in both settings. A professional in a clinical lab may concentrate on histology, virology, hematology, or another medical specialty, while a technologist in a science lab might focus on chemistry, food science, or forensic studies. Educational requirements for laboratory technologist jobs can vary, though a professional must usually obtain at least a bachelor's degree in his or her specialty.
Most clinical laboratory technologist jobs are found in hospitals, health clinics, and private medical labs. Technologists work alongside other scientists and laboratory technicians to collect and analyze samples of human tissue, fluid, and blood. They attempt to determine the presence and identities of of different diseases, bacteria, or other harmful or unnatural substances. Technologists frequently correspond with physicians to explain their findings and decide on the proper treatment for a patient.
A technologist in a clinical lab might choose to specialize in one or more fields. A professional who specializes in histology examines tissue samples, looking for signs of bacteria, parasites, or fungi. A hematology technologist collects and screens blood samples to identify disease, and a blood bank technologist prepares healthy blood for transfusions. Experts in virology and immunology analyze strains of viruses and other types of disease, hoping to learn more about their causes, their effects within the body, and potentially effective treatments against them.
Scientific laboratory technologist jobs can be found in independent labs, universities, biotechnology companies, and research and development firms in many different industries. Technologists often conduct thorough experiments on matter to determine its components, function, and capabilities in manufacture or medicine. Most professionals work in teams to ensure that experiments are not biased and that results are accurate.
Chemistry technologists specialize in analyzing the chemical composition of organic and inorganic samples. They may wish to determine the amount of a certain chemical substance, such as a pollutant, in a sample of air, water, or soil. Food science technologists develop new foods, preservatives, processing techniques, and packaging materials. Forensic laboratory technologist jobs involve the collection and investigation of crime scene evidence, in order to determine the exact nature of crimes, identify criminals, and bring justice to those harmed. Other technologists may specialize in microbiology, aquatic studies, or environmental science.
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