Considering a college degree program that will lead to immediate employment upon graduation? Then the Medical Laboratory Science program at The University of Southern Mississippi might just be the ticket.
For the past several years, the University’s Medical Laboratory Science program has seen a 100 percent job placement rate for graduates. Program Director and Assistant Professor Dr. Sabrina Bryant notes that a national shortage of medical technologists has helped expand the job market for degree candidates.
“Right now there is a 14 percent shortage as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so there is a critical need for medical laboratory professionals,” said Bryant. “The primary benefits of becoming a medical laboratory scientist are that jobs are consistently available throughout the U.S., and pay rates are increasing particularly in areas of need.”
A medical technologist (medical laboratory scientist, clinical laboratory scientist, medical laboratory technologist) is a healthcare professional that analyzes and tests body fluids and tissues. This includes blood, urine, CSF, synovial fluid, all types of tissue samples, and almost any type of sample removed from a patient for testing. They are responsible for operating and maintaining complex analyzers that are used in a laboratory and ensuring the laboratory results of each patient are accurate and timely.
“Laboratorians are a necessary part of patient outcomes, because 70-80 percent of laboratory results contribute to the diagnosis and treatment of patients,” said Bryant.
A medical technologist typically holds a bachelor's degree and has been through an internship. The internship can either be a portion of the degree program or be done after the laboratorian has already completed his/her degree.
Currently, there are approximately 100 students enrolled in the Southern Miss Medical Laboratory Science program. Last year 18 students completed the degree requirements. Most Southern Miss students who complete the program work in hospitals, while others go on to medical school or other professional programs.
To become a certified Medical Laboratory Scientist, student must pass the ASCP certification exam – widely considered the gold standard and accepted throughout the world.
Bryant notes that Medical Laboratory Science is often overlooked by students who are looking to enter the healthcare field. Part of the reason could be the rigorous and challenging requirements of the program. A high bar of expectations is set for those seeking an MLS degree.
“All healthcare related curricula are development with the same goal in mind, which is to educate practitioners with the appropriate knowledge and skill,” said Bryant. “The application of the knowledge and skills has a direct relationship to the quality of care patients receive. Thus, the student who endure these challenges and complete our program will be prepared to serve their patients, their healthcare institution, and their community with the highest quality and standards.”
To learn more about the Medical Laboratory Science program, call 601.266.4908 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/medical-laboratory-science%20