The health care industry is among the fastest growing industries in the world today, but before enrolling in an unusual program like one in clinical laboratory production, you may want to give some thought to what you would do with your degree. A basic degree like an associate’s degree will prepare you for working as an assistant, but if you want to make more money, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and maybe even a master’s degree. Many of the jobs open to graduates in this field are in laboratory settings.

Lab Assistant

With an associate’s degree in this subject, you might find work as a lab assistant. Unlike managers and other higher paid positions, assistants typically handle smaller tasks on the job. You might find yourself responsible for cleaning test tubes, doing a weekly inventory of the supplies on hand in the lab and double checking the tests that others ran for accuracy. Lab assistants can work in specialty labs that focus on infectious diseases, cancer or other diseases and medical conditions. As an assistant, you may also work in a hospital and provide support to doctors and nurses.

Hospital Lab Tech

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the median salary for medical and clinical lab techs is around $50,500 a year. Unlike assistants that work under the direct supervision of doctors and other professionals, hospital lab techs generally have more freedom and do more tasks on the job. They are the ones responsible for taking the samples that nurses obtained from patients and running tests on those samples based on the orders submitted by doctors. Hospitals often require that lab techs have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and some employers may require that you show proof you took epidemiology and similar courses in college.

College Teacher

A degree in clinical laboratory production can also prepare you for working as a college teacher. While you won’t find work as a professor right out of college, you can find work once you gain some more experience. Though many colleges require that professors have a master’s or a doctoral degree, community colleges hire teachers who have a lower level degree and five to 10 years or more of experience working in the field. College professors train students on how to use the testing machines that labs use, how to follow patient confidentiality laws and how to maintain accurate records and files.

Research Assistant

Not everyone who enrolls in one of these programs wants to work in a medical laboratory setting. If you have a passion for research and want to help find cures for common illnesses, consider seeking work as a research assistant. Research assistants work in private labs that major corporations own and operate, but they also work in colleges and for the government. You will take samples for patients and/or animals, run tests on those samples, develop opinions on new treatments and products and test your findings. Most assistants work directly under a doctor.

Laboratory production degree programs teach you the fundamentals of conducting research, testing samples and providing results to doctors and other professionals. With a degree in clinical laboratory production, you have many job opportunities open to you, including working as a research assistant, college teacher, hospital lab tech or laboratory assistant.

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