Why Your Science Background Aligns Perfectly in a Medical Lab Career
Do you have a strong background in chemistry, biology or physiology, but haven’t had success finding the job you were hoping for? Maybe you’re looking for a unique, alternative avenue to leverage your scientific skills and interests. Have you ever thought about applying those abilities in a career that helps improve the lives of others?
If any of the above resonates with you, a medical lab career might be the perfect solution!
Becoming a medical lab technician (MLT) would allow you to take advantage of the exciting career growth in healthcare while also capitalizing on your love of science. You’ll be making a difference in a technical, behind-the-scenes job.
Keep reading to learn why this move makes perfect sense and hear firsthand from someone who’s boosting her biology background to build a rewarding medical lab career.
Why consider a medical lab career?
Hospitals and doctors’ offices wouldn’t be the same without MLTs. They work under the supervision of physicians, lab managers or lab technologists to conduct lab tests on specimens, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). You might spot this person by the full lab coat, mask, gloves and goggles they are wearing while collecting or handling specimens for testing.
FACT: MLT jobs are expected to increase 13% through 2026.
“The MLT also uses chemistry to help aid in the diagnosis of patient disease or illness,” explains Rebecca Smith, Rasmussen College MLT program coordinator.
Have we piqued your interest? One of the top signs you’re cut for a medical lab career is your love of science and knowledge about tissues, cells and chemical compositions and interactions.
And if that’s not intriguing enough, the career outlook is sure to grab your attention. The BLS projects MLT jobs to increase 13 percent through 2026, which is nearly twice the average for all occupations! The aging population is increasing and more individuals are gaining access to healthcare, which means more MLTs will be needed to help diagnose medical conditions like cancer or type 2 diabetes.
Before you start wishing you had found this article before you studied chemistry or biology, listen up! It’s perfectly plausible to change careers from science to healthcare. Don’t believe us? Hear one woman’s story about how she made the jump from biology to the medical field and found her science background was a perfect fit.
The transition from science to healthcare
Lauren Christnovich, a current Rasmussen College MLT student, previously graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology and was one class short of earning a chemistry minor. She originally sought after a career in healthcare, but had a difficult time finding a position that would train her and allow her to take the board to become certified.
“My biology degree alone was not enough to allow me to get a job in a hospital, so I needed something else to get me in,” Christnovich says.
In the meantime, she needed to find a job so she applied for several lab jobs, eventually landing a position at Food Safety Net Services as a lab technician. The company specializes in the food science industry, and she was mostly performing microbiology testing on food products from different manufactures in Wisconsin.
Four years and one promotion later, Christnovich was still not satisfied with her career. She was finally ready to go back to school, but she needed to find a reputable program that offered online classes.
“With a young family and the hope to add to it, I didn’t want school to hinder our plans,” Christnovich says. “I needed a school with no waitlist that had a flexible, fast program that also allowed me to work at the same time.”
"I'm so happy I made the switch to healthcare!"
That’s when she discovered Rasmussen College’s medical lab technician program. After doing her research, she determined it was the right move for her.
Christnovich’s passion for healthcare and lab work, along with the fact that her mother was a medical technologist, made her decision to pursue a medical lab career a no-brainer.
Besides the family connection to healthcare, she says she chose it because she finds the process of diagnosing diseases and attaining test results very interesting. The optimistic career outlook also contributed to her decision. She felt much more at ease knowing she would have job security should her family have to move to another city or state.
Does Christnovich regret her original decision to earn a biology degree? Not at all, she says. As it turns out, after working as an MLT she’ll be eligible to take the board exam for her medical technologist certification without having to return to school.
“I am so happy I made the switch to healthcare,” she says. “I feel excited about my future career and know that this is worth it. I want to go to work and come home a happier person because I am happy with my job.” She is eager to graduate, enter the workforce and start making a difference doing what she loves.
Make the switch
Are you ready to put your science background to use in a meaningful way? Pursuing a medical lab career might be the answer you’ve been seeking. Christnovich’s story shows that it’s not only possible, but could actually put you at an advantage in the field.
If you’re ready to learn more about the day-to-day life of a medical lab technician, check out our article: What Does a Medical Lab Tech Do?