Laboratory Chemists analyze chemicals and create new compounds that may be useful in many aspects of human life. Testing and research are crucial job duties. The minimum education required is a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and some research positions will require a graduate degree.
The Laboratory Chemist will analyze chemical compounds and use the data they discover to find new applications for those chemicals and their ultimate goal is to improve quality of life. Chemists may work in many industries including petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Their general task is to closely study and test compounds to figure out their composition and to discover potential uses for those compounds. The Lab Chemist will set up testing, direct other employees on how to carry out testing and compile the results of the testing. Chemists write reports on their findings and share them with other scientists on their team to push research forward. Working with a lot of complex equipment is part of the chemist’s job. They must operate and maintain the equipment as well, making troubleshooting the technology a big part of the job. Much of the scientific lab work today is done on computers which makes the understanding and operation of modern technology essential in this field.
Cytologists or Cytotechnologists are professionals who study and identify the cells of diseases, such as bacterial infections and cancer. A bachelor’s degree is normally required but master’s degrees are common in this field. Degree programs will include hands-on and classroom work.
The Cytologist will evaluate cell samples for variations that may have been caused by disease. As an example the Pap test secures cells from the uterine cervix to determine if a patient has an infection like meningitis. This is done through meticulous microscopic inspection and can enable the diagnosis of such things as benign or malignant tumors, pre-cancerous cells, cancer and other inflammatory or infectious agents. Normally the cytotechnologist works in the laboratory of a hospital, private institution or university. Often the cytologist may be employed in the pathology department under the supervision of a pathologist.
The Laboratory Technician is a skilled worker that works with complex systems and/or performs highly technical mechanical or diagnostic tests in scientific or medical laboratories. Technicians may work independently or under the direction of a professional. Lab Techs may collect samples, study and perform tests on teeth, chemical compounds, body fluids, biological specimens or other fields of science. They use different types of lab equipment, machinery and complex computer programs to perform testing. The Lab Tech must also record their findings and data for study by physicians and other health care professionals. The lab must be a sterile environment and the lab tech is responsible for maintaining a clean environment. There are many different specialties of lab techs which can include: ophthalmic lab technicians, dental lab technicians, clinical lab and medical lab technicians.
Job Skills and Requirements of the Laboratory Technician may include:
Attention to detail, performing tests requiring exact measurements and a good eye for detail or the results of the testing could be wrong.
Empathy and compassion are required when working with patients, some of whom may be undergoing emotional stress or be in pain.
Lab techs work with their hands and need good dexterity in order to work with test tubes, small vials and delicate lab equipment.
Lab techs need technical skills to understand complex lab machinery and computer programs used to conduct tests.
Long days on their feet requires a lab technician to have stamina as well as long periods at a workstation.
Medical and Clinical Lab Techs need an Associate’s Degree in life science or medical technology to get started but a bachelor’s degree will increase your chances of landing the job. Dental and ophthalmic lab techs can typically get started with only a high school diploma. An aptitude for science and the desire to learn more about biology, chemistry and math would be indicators of a person pursuing this field.
The pathologists assistant is a highly trained health professional providing various services under the supervision and direction of a pathologist. Interacting with the pathologists and carrying out duties under their direction is part of the job of the pathologists assistant. They are academically and practically trained to provide timely and accurate processing of laboratory specimens the majority of which are pathological specimens. The Pathologist renders a diagnosis but the assistant is a key component to helping make a diagnosis. Most pathologists assistants are responsible for the gross dissection and examination of anatomic pathology specimens and the performance of postmortem examinations. The PA will prepare tissue for numerous pathological tests including flow cytometry, frozen section and immunohistochemical staining. The PA may photograph gross and microscopic specimens, provide training to pathology personnel and help prepare educational conferences. Duties may not always be limited to anatomic and surgical pathology. Sometimes PAs can fill supervisory, instructional and administrative duties as well. The Pathologist Assistant is a crucial extension of the pathologist in the healthcare setting, collaborating with other departments and labs to ensure quality healthcare.
The majority of PAs work in community and academic hospitals but others perform their duties in a wide variety of industries such as private pathology laboratories, morgues, reference laboratories, forensic pathology labs, medical training facilities and government healthcare systems. Some are self-employed business owners providing their expertise via contracts.
The Pathologist Assistant contributes to the efficiency of the pathology or laboratory practice in a cost effective manner. The demand for qualified pathologists assistants is growing every year due to the increased pressure on healthcare systems to control costs while providing effective care.
The Phlebotomist or Certified Phlebotomy Technician is a medical professional who works in a variety of settings collecting blood samples. Usually the purpose of drawing blood is for sample work but sometimes the phlebotomist may work at a Red Cross blood drive. The CPT may be responsible for conducting patient interviews, checking vital signs and transporting the blood samples to a laboratory for testing purposes. Phlebotomists may work in blood banks, hospitals and other medical settings.
Having contact with blood can prove quite dangerous and for this reason there are strict medical procedures for this type of work. The phlebotomist must have proper knowledge of the handling and disposal policies. Phlebotomists also use specialized medical equipment to study the samples collected and look at blood type compatibility, cell count and log the information into medical records. The usually work on referral from a physician and will report findings back to them.
Job Requirement and Skills of the Phlebotomist
Empathy and compassion when working with patients in pain and/or trauma
Phlebotomists will be working with needles, drawing blood and workings with their hands. Dexterity and a steady hand are required.
Physicians may give precise orders for work and attention to detail is very important.
The Phlebotomist may spend long hours standing.
Use of complex machinery to test blood
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The assignments available in the laboratory specialties are as follows:
|• Chemist||• Pathology Assistant|
|• Cytologist||• Phlebotomy Tech|
|• Laboratory Tech|