Clinical Laboratory Science - Prospects for the Future

Cutting Edge of Technology

Over 3,000 laboratory tests are currently available for diagnostic use. With the completion of the Human Genome Project, introduction of new medical technologies will cause this number to more than double. Genomic laboratory testing allows identification and quantification of:

  • infectious disease agents, e.g. bacterial, viral, or parasitic
  • cancer cells
  • inherited diseases
  • human cells, e.g., for organ transplantation, criminology, paternity testing, and forensic medicine.

Who performs this testing?

Clinical Laboratory Scientists

The LLU CLS program currently provides 20 percent of California's clinical laboratory scientist graduates. What opportunities will these graduates have for employment and career advancement?

These positions may be found in:

Medical Opportunities

Hospital Laboratories

Hospital laboratories are found in small 30-bed hospitals up to large medical centers with over 1000 beds. Employment opportunities exist in rural, suburban, and metropolitan areas.

Transfusion services

Transfusion services perform collection, processing, and testing of the nation's blood supply, as well as maintain donor information for bone marrow and organ transplantation.

Reference laboratories

Reference laboratories provide laboratory services to medical clinics. Large regional reference labs are becoming major employers. These labs perform the more sophisticated, unusual, and esoteric laboratory tests. These are the Lab's Lab.

Molecular diagnostic services

Molecular diagnostic services utilize genetic testing and molecular biology methods for diagnosis.

Molecular biotechnology companies

Molecular biotechnology companies use molecular biology methods to produce pharmaceutical and laboratory compounds.

In Vitro Fertilization laboratories

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) laboratories work with fertility clinics in monitoring hormone production as well as IVF procedures.

Veterinary clinics

Veterinary medicine uses the same technologies and laboratory services as clinical medicine.

Research Opportunities

Research laboratories

Research laboratories push the frontiers of new development in medicine, nutrition, genomics, biochemical, and cellular biology.

Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Diagnostic product manufacturing and manufacturing companies

These companies develop, manufacture, and market products for:

  • scientific & medical applications
  • laboratory supplies, reagents, and instrumentation
  • cellular culturing and harvesting
  • biochemical and chemical compounds
  • pharmaceutical use

Positions include:

  • Product development
  • Technical specialists and advisors
  • Quality management specialists
  • Marketing/sales

Consultation services

  • Physician office laboratories
  • Quality control management
  • Regulatory agency compliance

Teaching Opportunities

Public health applications

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology/virology
  • Environmental health
  • CDC - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
  • NIH - National Institutes of Health

Forensic applications

  • Criminology and crime labs
  • Drug testing/toxicology
  • Anatomic pathology

Information management & computer applications

Medical laboratories are becoming the medical information integration centers for patient care.
Computer and information management skills are in high demand, as systems are developed and maintained for entire hospital, medical center, scientific, and medical manufacturing institutions.