Clinical laboratory testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, also known as medical technologists and technicians, perform most of these tests.
Clinical laboratory personnel examine and analyze body fluids, tissues, and cells. They look for bacteria, parasites, or other micro-organisms; analyze the chemical content of fluids; match blood for transfusions, and test for drug levels in the blood to show how a patient is responding to treatment. They also prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for abnormal cells. They use automated equipment and instruments that perform a number of tests simultaneously, as well as microscopes, cell counters, and other kinds of sophisticated laboratory equipment to perform tests. Then they analyze the results and relay them to physicians.
The complexity of tests performed, the level of judgment needed, and the amount of responsibility workers assume depend largely on the amount of education and experience they have.
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists generally have a bachelor's degree in medical technology or in one of the life sciences, or have a combination of formal training and work experience. They perform complex chemical, biological, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological tests. Technologists microscopically examine blood, tissue, and other body substances. They make cultures of body fluid or tissue samples to determine the presence of bacteria, fungi, parasites, or other micro-organisms. They analyze samples for chemical content or reaction and determine blood glucose or cholesterol levels. They also type and cross-match blood samples for transfusions.
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists may evaluate test results, develop and modify procedures, and establish and monitor programs to insure the accuracy of tests. Some medical and clinical laboratory technologists supervise medical and clinical laboratory technicians.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a clinical laboratory scientist and a medical technologist?
None. Over the last decade the profession has pushed to change its name from medical technology to clinical laboratory science to better define their role in health care.
How is the Medical Technology program at Mississippi College structured?
You can complete a degree in Biology at Mississippi College attending MC all four years by following the Medical Technology career tract, then spend a fifth year at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, MS. Or you an do a 3 +1 program where you take 3 years of classes at MC and your fourth year at the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center. If you choose the latter option, you will attend Mississippi College for three years taking the following courses:
- English 101 and 102 or 103, 099 - 6 Sem. hrs.
- Bible 110, 120 - 6 sem. hrs.
- Chemistry 101,102 - 8 sem. hrs.
- Biology 111, 112, 113 - 8 sem. hrs.
- Math 101 - 3 sem. hrs
- Computing Science 114 - 3 sem. hrs.
- Physical Education - 1 sem. hrs.
- English 211, 212, 213 (any two) - 6 sem. hrs.
- Math 207 - 3 sem. hrs.
- Chemistry 241 - 4 sem. hrs.
- Chemistry 303,313,304,314 - 10 sem. hrs.
- History 101, 102 or 211, 212 - 6 sem. hrs.
- Physical Education - 1 sem. hr.
- Biology 351 - 4 sem. hrs.
- [Economics 131 or 231, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology 201, Sociology 205 or 207, Foreign Language 205] - 6 sem. hrs.
- Biology 415 - 4 sem. hrs.
- Biology 417 - 4 sem. hrs.
- Chemistry 341 - 4 sem. hrs.
- Chemistry 325 - 4 sem. hrs.
- Fine Arts - 3 sem. hrs.
- Elective - 3 sem. hrs.
You will complete your fourth year at the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center in Jackson, MS.
Fourth Year (12 months):
This year of clinical training is 40 hours per week. During this time students will rotate through the four major laboratory departments, e.g., blood bank, hematology, chemistry and microbiology as well as some of the smaller department such as immunoserology, immunochemistry, immunofluorescence and urinalysis. Instruction includes text assignments, lectures, discussions, demonstrations, problem solving, practical and written exams.
If you have any questions, you may call Ms. Betty Covington (601) 968- 3070, at the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center.
How much does a Medical Technologist earn?
Median weekly earnings of full time, salaried clinical laboratory technologists and technicians were $520 in 1996. Half earned between $403 and $706. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $298 and the top 10 percent more than $852.
According to a Hay Group survey of acute care hospitals, the median annual base salary of full time laboratory technicians was $26,500 in January 1997. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,700 and $29,500. Full time salaried staff medical laboratory technologists earned about $35,100; the middle 50 percent earned between $32,500 and $37,900. A typical laboratory supervisor makes $41,000-$46,000 per year.
The average annual salary for medical technologists employed by the Federal Government was $40,680 in early 1997. Medical technicians earned an average of $26,130.