Medical laboratory scientist jobs all involve the use of lab equipment to help detect and treat disease. Laboratory scientists are also known as lab technicians and technologists, or "techs" for short. The different types of medical laboratory careers are categorized by healthcare specialty. Some common medical laboratory scientist jobs include that of the chemistry technologist, microbiology techs, and blood bank techs. Other scientist job titles include cytotechnologist, immunology technologist, and molecular biologist technologist.
The job of a clinical chemistry technologist is to prepare samples for analysis, and determine the chemical composition of different biological materials. Samples used by chemistry techs may be from blood, urine, or pleural fluid. Clinical chemistry technologists test these samples for the presence of abnormal enzymes or proteins, which can indicate serious health conditions such as kidney and liver problems.
Microbiology technologists use highly specialized laboratory equipment to determine the type of bacteria, viruses, and cells present in a patient. These professionals prepare tissue and fluid cultures, and closely examine these samples in order to detect abnormal microorganisms. Microbiology technologists often work closely with doctors to discover the cause of an illness.
Blood bank technologists are responsible for collecting and categorizing blood that is used for transfusions. They often work in blood collection centers or research laboratories, performing or supervising testing procedures. Technologists in this specialty determine the blood type of each sample, and ensure that no toxins or abnormalities are present in the blood.
Cytotechnologists are experts at analyzing human cells. These techs use microscopes and other laboratory devices to detect cell problems. Cytotechnologists play an important role in the identification of cancerous cells within the body. This early detection of these dangerous cells makes it possible to to fight the spread of cancer in a patient.
Another type of medical laboratory scientist job is that of a molecular biology technologist. These professionals use laboratory equipment to test proteins and nucleic acids, including DNA and RNA. A molecular biology tech is responsible for detecting and diagnosing disorders that occur within human genes. The testing performed by molecular technologist is important in the detection of genetic health problems such as sickle-cell disease and Down syndrome.
Immunology technologists focus on identifying problems with the immune systems of ill patients. These techs perform tests to discover how foreign bodies interact within a patient. The work performed by these professionals is important in the treatment of immune disorders, including AIDS and autoimmune hepatitis.
Most medical laboratory scientist jobs require an associate's or bachelor's degree, regardless of the laboratory specialty. The training used by all medical lab scientists is often obtained from a community college or university. Hospitals and medical laboratories also provide hands-on training for individuals in these careers.