American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
February 2011 Clinical Laboratory News: MTs and CLSs Make List of Top Careers


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February 2011: Volume 37, Number 2

MTs and CLSs Make List of Top Careers

In its annual survey of high-demand careers, U.S. News & World Report named medical technologists (MT) and clinical laboratory scientists (CLS) among the top careers. The news magazine called clinical lab technicians and technologists “unsung heroes of the healthcare industry” in its 2011 list of the 50 best careers.

“It is no surprise to me that medical laboratory careers are once again considered as high-demand jobs in this economy,” said Rick Panning, MBA, MLS(ASCP), vice president for laboratory services at Allina Hospitals and Clinics and chair of the Coordinating Council on the Clinical Laboratory Workforce (CCCLW). “Although in late 2009 and the early part of 2010, we were seeing a slowdown in hiring and even layoffs occurring in healthcare, we seem to have returned to a normal hiring pattern.” CCCLW, a coalition of representatives from the laboratory community, has been spearheading efforts to ensure an adequate supply of laboratory professionals in the future.

Hopefully this survey’s positive job outlook will give a boost to the ever-growing shortage of MTs and CLSs as many in the lab workforce near retirement age. According to the Labor Department, job growth is expected to be faster than average, with the number of clinical lab workers increasing about 16% between 2008 and 2018, adding roughly 25,000 jobs. “There are a number of factors that will increase the demand for phlebotomists, medical laboratory technicians and scientists, cytotechnologists and histology technicians,” noted Panning. “The explosion of new tests in the market, primarily in molecular diagnostics, and the ultimate complete implementation of healthcare reform in 2014 that will add 32 million citizens with insurance coverage are also going to result in increased demand for laboratory testing.”

The demand for skilled clinical laboratory professionals is predicted to remain strong in the coming years. The report indicates that the most significant growth will take place in private diagnostic labs, as well as in physicians’ offices.

See the full list online.