What is Clinical Laboratory Science?

The field of clinical laboratory science holds vital importance to the development of general science, but particularly to the healthcare industry and to research relating to illnesses. Even though a large portion of people have never heard of the field, it still holds serious importance for our everyday lives, because, without clinical laboratory science, there are many insights in the medical field that we wouldn’t have and many solutions to health problems that would not exist otherwise.

What is it?

This field in the science world can also be referred to as “Medical Technology”. A clinical laboratory scientist conducts tests and then evaluates and checks the reliability of those tests in order to advance the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. They provide the information, technology, and skills needed to work on finding cures to diseases and then testing out the medicine and technology developed to implement those cures. Some tests they may conduct are: locating cells that cause leukemia, examining the enzyme activity that occurs during a heart attack, finding the type of bacteria that results in an infection, and examining the DNA that contributes to genetic diseases.

Programs that involve it?

There are many options for work in this field, but most of the opportunities for jobs are in research labs at universities. It’s fairly convenient that many job opportunities are at universities because professional training is required to work in the field. Many universities offer training programs, one of which is at the San Francisco State University.

In this training program, trainees have the opportunity to receive:

“the academic and practical experience necessary to attain entry-level competency in the field. This educational model has a strong academic structure and offers intensive technical development. This model also emphasizes the critical importance of leadership in the field of clinical laboratory science through the application of principles related to problem solving and evaluation, education, communication, research, and management.”

Each trainee completes a 16-week semester of on-campus classes and experiences and then participates in a 40-week intern program off-campus. At the completion of this program, the trainee will be prepared to embark on a career in the field of clinical laboratory science.

Benefits from it?

In some of my previous blog posts, I mention various recent discoveries or advancements in the medical and general science fields. One post, “Clues in Breathing Linked to Cancer Testing,” is an example of the type of discoveries possible through clinical laboratory science. There is so much valuable research that comes from clinical laboratory science, even though it’s a field that few people have heard formally identified. Scientific research is vital to making advancements in the field and learning how to treat and what causes various diseases.

With clinical laboratory science, we’re able to complete sophisticated research that likely wouldn’t have been achieved otherwise. In order to develop new techniques and medicine, a fair amount of research must first be done in order to test and evaluate these resources. That research is conducted in clinical laboratory science. This career choice is often swept under the rug and few people are told that it’s an option for them, even though there are various job opportunities, the chance to work in a college or hospital research lab, and a rewarding end result of actually doing work that leads to saving lives.