Medical Laboratory Science Vs Medical Technology

Introduction: Medical Laboratory Science Vs Medical Technology. The terms ‘medical lab technician’ and ‘medical lab scientist’ frequently think these titles refer to the same career. 

Although individuals employed in any of these occupations may work in the same setting and have similar responsibilities, the positions are distinguished primarily by education and levels of managerial responsibilities. 

Medical Laboratory Science Vs Medical Technology
Medical Laboratory Science Vs Medical Technology

First, medical lab technician (MLT) positions require a two-year degree. MLT programs offer courses that lead to an associate’s degree in medical laboratory technology. Upon completion of the program and certification, MLTs are prepared for entry-level work in laboratories in the private and public sectors. 

By comparison, medical lab scientists (MLS) or medical technologists (MT) have more education and job duties. A four-year degree and previous work experience in a laboratory are standard needs to become an entry-level MLS. 

MLT vs MLS -Comparison

While similar, there are some important differences between a medical lab scientist and a medical lab technician. They both work in a lab and perform tests on biological samples. 

However, a clinical lab scientist usually has more education and can perform more involved work in the lab. A medical lab technician performs more routine lab work and is often supervised by a medical lab scientist.

There are other important considerations in choosing a career. These include the time required to complete the academic program, personal career goals, and immediate earning potential.

It is important to note that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies these two professions and refers to clinical laboratory technologists and technicians positions. 

For most positions, the word ‘technician’ refers to a position for people with a two-year degree, while ‘technologist’ describes positions that require a four-year degree. 

We have also included career outlook and salary data on ‘medical scientists’ – a more advanced occupational category – as a basis for comparison under the MLS column.

Medical Laboratory Scientist vs Medical Laboratory Assistant

Medical laboratory attendant is a subgroup of medical laboratory technician. They are responsible for preparing biological samples, recording information, and other lab maintenance tasks such as cleaning equipment and storage. A medical laboratory scientist will work with a medical laboratory assistant to analyse and record the samples they prepare.

Pay (MLT) 

According to the BLS, as of May 2022, the mean annual wage was $55,990. More granularly, Pay Scale (Jan. 2023) notifies that the average yearly salary for medical laboratory technicians is $47,093 based on 1,315 self-reported profiles.

Pay (MLS) 

The mean salary for medical lab technologists, as of May 2022, was $101,800 (BLS). According to Pay Scale (Jan. 2023), medical scientists earn an average of $88,191 yearly based on 54 salary profiles.

Expected job growth (MLT)

It is 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than average for all occupations.

Expected job growth (MLS)

It is 17 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than average (BLS).

Degree requirements (MLT) 

MLTs must have a postsecondary certificate or an associate degree, reports the BLS.

 Degree requirements (MLS)

A doctoral or professional degree is typically needed to become a ‘medical scientist,’ although ‘medical lab scientists generally have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Degrees available (MLT)

 MLT programs are characteristically called ‘medical lab technician’ degrees and often are available in two-year formats through an associate degree. By contrast, ‘Medical lab technologist degrees typically comprise four years. 

Some postsecondary certification programs are also available, but the National Accrediting Agency may only accredit some schedules for medical lab techs. Be sure to check before enrolling, as accreditation can be necessary for certification.

Accredited programs at community colleges present several online two-year MLT degree programs. Graduates from these programs are planning for entry-level MLT positions.

Degrees available (MLS) 

Many MLS programs are called ‘medical laboratory scientist’ degrees and are four-year, bachelor’s level programs.

Be sure to clarify with the school what certification exams are accessible with a two-year and a four-year degree.

Post-baccalaureate certificates are available for bachelor’s degree holders to evolve certified medical laboratory scientists and access leadership roles or specialized laboratory knowledge.

Many online four-year MLS degree schedules are available through reputable colleges and universities.

Program details (MLT) 

Students obtain courses in blood banking, clinical chemistry, hematology, and microbiology. Students may also learn about tools and technology, safety standards, and diagnostic testing.

Many schools have laboratories for learners to practice skills and become skilled in lab work.

Program details (MLS) 

Some programs build from the ground up; others accept MLT students interested in completing a four-year degree.

However, a bachelor’s program covers numerous of the same courses as an associate degree but includes additional anatomy, biochemistry, and chemistry, immunology, and math courses.

In-person laboratory experiences are frequently required in the senior year of a bachelor’s program. Generally, these experiences are done under the mentorship of a Medical Laboratory Scientist in a laboratory setting.

Certifying exams (MLT)

MLTs take an exam to pursue general MLT certification or certification in an area of specialty.

Certification is earned through institutions such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), American Medical Technologists (AMT), or the American Association of Bio analysts (AAB).

Some of the specialized medical lab technician certifications available through the ASCP contain:

  • Phlebotomy technician
  • Histotechnician
  • Medical lab technician
  • Donor phlebotomy technicians

The ASCP, AMT, and AAB offer available MLT certification. There are multiple routes to eligibility for certification depending on education and work experience.

Certifying exams (MLS) 

An MLS also can seek certification via the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) or the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

Some of the certificates available at the technologist level contain:

  • Blood bank
  • Chemistry
  • Cytogenetic
  • Cytotechnology
  • Hematology
  • Histotechnologist
  • Medical biology
  • Microbiology
  • Medical lab scientist

The ASCP and the AMT offer common MLS certifications. There are some pathways to eligibility for certification, including graduating from an accredited four-year program or equivalent professional experience.

Final words: Medical Laboratory Science Vs Medical Technology

Medical laboratory scientists work closely with physicians and clinical laboratory technicians to diagnose and monitor the disease process and the effectiveness of therapy. 

Areas of medical laboratory training contain microbiology, chemistry, hematology, immunology, transfusion medicine, toxicology, and molecular diagnostics. 

Medical lab scientists work in hospitals, clinics, forensic or public health laboratories, as well as in pharmaceutical industries, biotechnology companies, veterinary clinics, or research institutes.

Depending on the setting, their working hours may vary. But labs are frequently run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This allows flexibility in scheduling.

Also read: What Is Medical Technology?; Facts Of Internet Of Medical Things; History Of Internet Of Medical Things