Clinical Laboratory Scientists typically engage in high-level testing and research on a range of biological, or chemical, agents and specimens, dependent upon the focus of the company, or laboratory. It is usually conducting inside a secure laboratory facility, often with strict rules concerning contamination and use of potentially dangerous chemicals. Standard safety equipment can include a lab coat, safety glasses, surgical gloves, booties and hair nets.
The role can be independent of others, or consist of some supervising and training of other positions in a laboratory, such as Laboratory Assistants and Technicians. The position usually reports to a supervising Laboratory Manager, or Principle Investigator in academic lab settings.
Working in the private sector, a lab will be employed by outside clients to provide testing for chemicals or specimens, then provide an appropriate analysis of the results. A Laboratory Scientist will often be expected to communicate effectively and clearly to these outside customers and maintain good working relationships. In an academic setting, testing, results and analyzing will provide the basis of academic grant funding and the writing of peer-reviewed papers.
Depending upon the size and volume of work within a laboratory, a Laboratory Scientist may be expected to work longer than a typical 40-hour workweek. Some positions may also require availability on weekends if last-minute tests and analysis is required at short notice.
The position usually requires a BA/BS in a particular scientific area of study, such as Chemistry, Biology or a medical science. There may be some additional licensing required in order to perform certain clinical testing and a number of years of lab experience is sometimes required.
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Tasks
- Investigate cause, progress, life cycle, or mode of transmission of diseases or parasites.
- Evaluate effects of drugs, gases, pesticides, parasites, and microorganisms at various levels.
- Plan and direct studies to investigate human or animal disease, preventive methods, and treatments for disease.
- Conduct research to develop methodologies, instrumentation and procedures for medical application, analyzing data and presenting findings.
- Prepare and analyze organ, tissue and cell samples to identify toxicity, bacteria, or microorganisms, or to study cell structure.