National Medical Laboratory Professional Week (April 19- 25,2020) is an annual celebration honoring medical laboratory professionals who play an indispensable role in health care. Louisiana State University of Alexandria’s Medical Lab Science program would like to thank its graduates and students for their hard work and dedication during this challenging time.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of a test result is now more evident than, perhaps, ever before. Without actual testing, physicians are only guessing if a patient has a coronavirus. Behind every lab test for COVID-19 is a certified medical laboratory technician (MLT) or a medical laboratory scientist (MLS). LSUA MLT and MLS students are involved in learning new serologic and molecular based testing methods for COVID -19 samples. Our graduates are already performing and delivering test results to physicians. These students and graduates are not just ‘simply pushing the buttons’ on the analyzers. In fact, they are involved in collection of samples, testing, validation, quality control, maintenance and many more complex tasks in their daily schedules. For these students and graduates, with every sample tested and reported to the physician, they are indirectly touching the lives of patients. This helps in proper diagnosis, care, and treatment of the patients.
In order to work in the field, graduates have to pass a national certification exam through the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) or equivalent. They work in hospital labs, Molecular Biology labs, Microbiology, Public Health labs, NASA labs, CDC labs, Clinical Hematology, Chemistry, Immunohematology and forensics labs. Some also prefer to work as a Travel Tech where they get the chance to work in the laboratories throughout the United States
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of medical laboratory technicians and scientists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. An increase in the aging population is expected to lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or type 2 diabetes, through laboratory procedures. Workforce shortage has been compounded by an aging workforce, an insufficient number of graduates to meet workforce demand, increased overall demand for medical laboratory testing, and lack of public knowledge about the field.
LSUA is proudly serving the community needs for medical laboratory professionals, but the demand has always been more than the graduates produced. If you love science and would like to work in a health care setting with minimal patient contact, please consider applying to the medical laboratory technician (MLT) or a medical laboratory scientist (MLS) program at LSUA. For more information, you may contact the LSUA department of Allied Health at (318) 473-6466 or their webpage.