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The Profession of Medical Laboratory Science

Medical laboratory scientists use analytical procedures and complex instruments to perform tests on blood and body fluids that assist physicians in patient diagnosis and treatment, disease monitoring and prevention.  Because the tests performed are so vital in medical treatment, the medical laboratory scientist must know not only how to perform these tests with scientific precision and accuracy, but must be well educated in the underlying scientific principles and clinical significance of the results.  The principle areas of practice in the laboratory are chemistry, hematology, microbiology, urinalysis, immunohematology and immunology.  

In addition to performing laboratory tests, MLS professionals also assist to interpret test results in conjunction with patient information and communicate their meaning to other healthcare team members. They monitor quality controls, conduct research, develop new tests and methods, and supervise personnel.  Career opportunities exist in hospital, clinic, and private laboratories; research; public health; sales and marketing; consulting; health administration; and education.  Students who become certified Medical Laboratory Scientists readily find employment throughout the United States.  

In order to participate in a medical laboratory science educational program, students must be able to comply with program-designated essential functions or request reasonable accommodations to meet these essential functions.  Requirements include a sound intellect, good motor skills, eye-hand coordination and dexterity, effective communication skills, visual acuity to perform macroscopic and microscopic analyses or read procedures and graphs, and behavioral skills such as organization, time management and good judgement, even in emergency situations.


Students pursuing medical laboratory science should have an interest and aptitude in the sciences, particularly chemistry and biology. Laboratory work plays a vital role in the daily routine of the medical laboratory scientist, and while direct patient contact is limited, these individuals enjoy being a part of the healthcare team. 

According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics , employment of clinical laboratory workers is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2022.  Mean annual earnings in 2016 were $62,440 ( 

To learn more about MLS, visit:

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-8713 / Fax: (701) 231-7606
Campus address: Sudro Hall 222E
Physical/delivery address: 1401 Albrecht Boulevard, Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 2680 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Allied Sciences

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 10:37:26 AM
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