Education and Training for Clinical Chemist Career

To be a clinical chemist or clinical laboratory scientist, you should:

  • have a strong interest in the health sciences;
  • be able to complete tasks accurately under pressure;
  • enjoy solving problems and trouble-shooting;
  • be comfortable working with technical equipment; and
  • have good communication skills (verbal and written)

Education requirements for becoming a clinical laboratory scientist:

This table can help you customize your training and education to reach your desired career goal in the clinical chemistry field.

  Assistant Technician Medical Technologist Chemistry Supervisor/Specialist Scientist/ Laboratory Director

What Would You Do?

Perform routine tests

Participate in continuing education activities

Perform routine tests (perform quality control or special tests with supervision)

Participate in continuing education activities

Perform routine tests for service and/or research

Develop new test methods under supervision of doctoral-level staff

Perform quality control tests

Participate in and deliver continuing education

Become group or team leader

Become section or shift supervisor

Perform daily quality control

Manage a clinical chemistry laboratory

Teach technicians, medical technology students, medical students and residents

Direct and manage operations

Consult with physicians regarding interpretation of test results

In industry or other settings, lead research teams

Teach health professionals

Where Would You Work?

Hospital laboratory or clinic

Industry, for companies that manufacture test kits, equipment, or test materials (reagents)

Commercial or reference laboratories

Doctor's office

Hospital laboratory or clinic

Industry, for companies that manufacture test kits, equipment, or test materials (reagents)

Commercial or reference laboratories

Some physicians' office laboratories

Pharmaceutical companies

Hospital laboratory or clinic

Manufacturing (industry)

Commercial or reference laboratories

Pharmaceutical companies

Hospital laboratory or clinic

Manufacturing (industry)

Commercial or reference laboratories

Pharmaceutical companies

Hospital laboratory or clinic

Medical school/

Teaching hospital

Industry

Commercial or reference laboratory

Pharmaceutical companies

Government: NASA; regulatory agencies such as OSHA or the FDA

Research foundations for specific diseases

What Schooling Do You Need?

Vocational school or associate degree

Vocational school or associate degree

Licensure/certification

4-yr. college degree (B.S.) in science

Licensure/certification

Master's degree (M.S.)

Licensure/certification

Doctoral degree or postdoctoral studies

Board certification recommended

What Special Skills Will Help Ensure Success?

Good eye-hand coordination; manual dexterity; attention to detail; experience with computers

Good eye-hand coordination; manual dexterity; attention to detail; experience with computers

Good thinking skills, manual dexterity, attention to detail; problem-solving abilities to detect human and machine error and to resolve problems

Good thinking skills; problem-solving and supervisory abilities; for management, good communication skills, understanding of budgets and cost accounting; organization, to manage projects and evaluate them

Ability to integrate attention to detail with "big picture" analytical skills for method evaluation, instrument selection, long-range planning; good communication and thinking skills; leadership; some teaching skills

 *Lisa Pallatroni (senior associate editor) and Pasquale Buttitta (research analyst), " MLO's national salary survey: Compensation and respondent profiles ," MLO, July 1999: Suppl: 17-20.