The Medical Laboratory Professions

Who works in medical laboratories?

Clinical Pathology Laboratory

Laboratory Aide - individuals with a high school education are trained on the job to do data entry, transport specimens and supplies, and prepare specimens for laboratory tests.

Phlebotomist - trained on the job or in formal programs, this individual collects and prepares blood specimens for laboratory tests. National certification and formal educational programs are recommended.

Medical Laboratory Technician (Clinical Laboratory Technician) - With an associate degree, routine laboratory testing can be performed in most areas of a clinical laboratory, such as Chemistry and Hematology under direct supervision of a qualified Medical Laboratory Scientist.

Medical Laboratory Scientist (Medical Technologist/Clinical Laboratory Scientist) - Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLSs) have a Bachelor of Science and constitute the bulk of the workforce in a laboratory. Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLSs) are educated to perform and interpret laboratory tests in multiple disciplines, including Chemistry, Hematology, Blood Bank, Microbiology and Immunology. They also supervise technicians and phlebotomists and contribute to the management of the laboratory.

Histocompatibility Technologist - insuring the compatibility of transplanted organs and tissues is the responsibility of the histocompatibility laboratory. Bachelor's degree educated individuals work in the histocompatibility laboratory.

Genetic Testing Laboratory

Cytogenetic Technologist- Cytogenetics is a highly specialized discipline focused on the appearance of chromosomes and their relationship to disease. In the laboratory, CG technologists prepare biological specimens (human, animals and plants) for cell culture with subsequent microscopic analysis, computer image analysis, karyotyping and report generation.

Molecular Technologist - Bachelor's degree educated molecular biology technologists study DNA and its relationship to inheritance patterns or disease. Duties include extraction of DNA or RNA for analysis and interpretation of results.

Anatomic Pathology Laboratory

Out of high school- individuals are  trained on the job to do data entry, transport specimens and supplies, and prepare specimens for laboratory tests.

Histotechnician - prepares tissue specimens and slides and stains materials for pathologists to view microscopically. An associate degree program plus a clinical experience is required education.

Histotechnologist - A Bachelor of Science program educates Histotechnologists to prepare tissue specimens and slides, perform special stains, electron microscopy, and molecular diagnostic procedures providing samples for pathologists to assess.

Cytotechologist - following a bachelor's degree preparation, Cytotechnologists prepare and read PAP smears, assist with fine needle aspirates and screen for cancerous cells.

Anatomic Pathologist's Assistant - performs gross diagnosis of tissue specimens removed at autopsy or biopsy. Identifies materials that require microscopic diagnosis. Assists the pathologist in the diagnosis of diseases and participates in autopsies. Requires a Bachelor of Science or master's degree.

Diener - following on-the-job training, prepares corpses for autopsies.

Pathologist - A physician who specializes in reading microscopic slides for diagnosis of diseases from cells and tissues samples. Performs autopsies.