RN wanting a lab assistant position

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Michelle in Durham, North Carolina

91 months ago

I am currently a RN. I have 2 yrs lab assistant experiences before I became a nurse. I have applied for a lab assistant jobs at labcorp and a local hospital. I got one call back with labcorp's human resource dept. A telephone interview was done. I told her that I understand it will be a huge pay cut. But, I really like working in the lab and I can get a part-time RN job to work around my lab assistant schedule. She said she would forward my application to a hiring manager.
It been two weeks and I have not gotten a second call back from labcorp.

My questions are: Is the fact that I am a RN hurt my chances being hired as a lab assistant?
And after I have earned a BS in clinical laboratory science(I plan on going back to college soon) will being a RN hurt my chances getting a MT job?

Responses are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Michelle

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Kathy in Chesapeake, Virginia

90 months ago

I sincerely doubt that you'd have any problem getting a job as a med tech, regardless of whether or not you have been a nurse. I work in a hospital laboratory and we almost always have openings. When you go through the med tech program, you will do clinical rotations in hospitals. Almost every student who has done clinical rotations in my hospital gets a job there (including me). As long as you have a decent work ethic, you will be fine.

You being a RN may hurt your chances of being a lab assistant mainly because they might consider you 'overqualified'.

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Michelle in Durham, North Carolina

90 months ago

Kathy,

Thank you so much for your response.

I can not wait to start working on earning a degree in medical technology.

-Novice

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Terry Johnwson in Corsicana, Texas

85 months ago

Michelle in Durham, North Carolina said: I am currently a RN. I have 2 yrs lab assistant experiences before I became a nurse. I have applied for a lab assistant jobs at labcorp and a local hospital. I got one call back with labcorp's human resource dept. A telephone interview was done. I told her that I understand it will be a huge pay cut. But, I really like working in the lab and I can get a part-time RN job to work around my lab assistant schedule. She said she would forward my application to a hiring manager.
It been two weeks and I have not gotten a second call back from labcorp.

My questions are: Is the fact that I am a RN hurt my chances being hired as a lab assistant?
And after I have earned a BS in clinical laboratory science(I plan on going back to college soon) will being a RN hurt my chances getting a MT job?

Responses are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Michelle

Why are you NOT working as an RN? Do you just not like nursing? RN's here in Texas make considerably more $$ than MT's do and their job status is better.

TJ in Texas

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Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina

85 months ago

TJ,

Thanks for responding.

However, a continue to work as a RN prn while I am in school for MT. I am very unhappy with being a nurse.

Nursing is very stressful and no amount of money is going to help me get over that amount of stress and potential liabilities that comes with being an RN.

The reason that RN make a lot of money is that nobody wants or can do the job as an RN.

You would have to become a RN AND work as an RN to understand why I feel this way.

Individuals that are not RN are on the "outside looking in". I was once like that.

Now that I have worked as an RN and dealing with the amount of stress and hard work, the money is not worth it.

I rather be setting at a lab bench, making a little less money, than doing "bedside" nursing such as med/surg and long-term care nursing.

By the way, you have to put in at least 5 years of bedside nursing and alot of times have a BSN to get a non-bedside nursing job. I am not willing to spend any more time at the bedside.

There are nurses in the field that are doing it for the money and don't like being a nurse. I refuse to be one of those nurse.

I want to make a living doing something that I enjoy and less stressful.

-Michelle

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RN in Flushing, New York

85 months ago

Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina said: TJ,

Thanks for responding.

However, a continue to work as a RN prn while I am in school for MT. I am very unhappy with being a nurse.

Nursing is very stressful and no amount of money is going to help me get over that amount of stress and potential liabilities that comes with being an RN.

The reason that RN make a lot of money is that nobody wants or can do the job as an RN.

You would have to become a RN AND work as an RN to understand why I feel this way.

Individuals that are not RN are on the "outside looking in". I was once like that.

Now that I have worked as an RN and dealing with the amount of stress and hard work, the money is not worth it.

I rather be setting at a lab bench, making a little less money, than doing "bedside" nursing such as med/surg and long-term care nursing.

By the way, you have to put in at least 5 years of bedside nursing and alot of times have a BSN to get a non-bedside nursing job. I am not willing to spend any more time at the bedside.

There are nurses in the field that are doing it for the money and don't like being a nurse. I refuse to be one of those nurse.

I want to make a living doing something that I enjoy and less stressful.

-Michelle

I agree with most of your comments about nursing, but without my BSN and less than one year as a bedside nurse I was able to get a job working as a facility nurse with Developmentally Disabled adults. If you hate the hospital scene and don't want to work in long term care, you might want to try developmental disabilities nursing - you have autonomy and it can be very interesting. It's not perfect - it's still nursing, but it isn't back breaking or mentally and emotionally draining, you aren't working shifts and you don't really have the liability issues. I've been able to go back to school and get my BSN while working in this field of nursing.

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Kathy in Chesapeake, Virginia

85 months ago

Michelle has pointed out something that I think everyone looking at starting/changing careers ought to consider: money isn't everything. I knew before going into medical technology that I would get paid less for my bachelor's degree than a nurse would for his/her RN training. I accepted this. It has bugged me and my co-workers complain about it. Do I think it's fair? Not really...we work our tails off just as much as any nurse. But then again, I don't have to deal with grumpy patients. Nurses have to put with a lot of junk that I don't.

Nursing is a noble profession. I would never discourage anyone from going into it if that's the sort of thing that they enjoy and are good at. Medical technology is an equally noble, though less appreciated profession. Each is a vital part of health care. Both are in short supply. Decide what's most important to you and go from there.

By the way, Michelle, how is your progress going toward getting your med tech degree?

-Kathy (B.S. in Medical Technology 1991, have been working in my current position as a medical technologist in the transfusion service of a local hospital for 16 years.)

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Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina

85 months ago

Kathy,

Thank you for responding.

I am just getting started with my first semester of classes. I have a few science and general education courses I need to take before I can start the CLS/MT program.

Hopefully by next fall, I will be taking actual CLS courses. I am currently taking Intro to CLS and I love this course. I am learning about the CLS profession and it get interesting every week I am in that class.

Again thanks for your response,

Michelle

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Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina

82 months ago

Thank for your comment Benjamin.

I have to get a degree in Medical Technology FIRST before I can be certifed as a medical technologist. And I am back in school to get that degree.

Alot of people have this misconception that an RN can do any/all kinds of medical jobs and that is NOT true.

In nursing school, we are not taught how to perform a particular test. We are taught what the results means.

Here is another example: a RN can work in the radiology dept to provide patient care in radiology. But the RN is NOT the radiology tech. A different type education is required to become a radiology tech.

The reason I wanted to work as a lab assistant is that it is a less stressful job than nursing to have while I am in school for medical technology and I have 2 years of working experience as a lab assistant

-Michelle

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Glenn in Lake Mary, Florida

82 months ago

For heavens sake dont do it. If you get your degree in CLS use it as a stepping stone to a real career. MTs are treated like garbage, and have a tremendous amount of stress (in the hospital/reference labs at least). I am leaving the field with a PhD and JD. It provided me with a great background to move into a professional career. MTs have a job...not a profession, which is a shame given the intelligence, knowledge base, and skill that is required to be a good tech. I am very glad to be leaving the field.

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Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina

82 months ago

Glenn,

I plan on using my degree in CLS as a stepping stone to become a physician.

I may not have worked as a MT, but I can not understand or image the stress level of working as a MT to be more than stress level in nursing. MTs do not have to deal with patients and family directly. That one fact is a HUGE difference from nursing. And about how hospital/reference labs treat their MTs, it may depend on where you work as for as how they value MTs. That's just my opinion.

I have met MTs that been in the profession for over 20 years or more. So, it must not be that bad....especially not dealing with patients directly.

Thank you for your honesty. However, even through I am leaving nursing, I would never discourage a person from pursuing the nursing profession. I alway say, "what I don't like about nursing, you may like".

-Michelle

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Kathy in Chesapeake, Virginia

82 months ago

You know, when I was a student doing my clinical rotations, I cannot tell you the number of times I was told by techs not to get my degree in medical technology. I'm glad I didn't listen to them.

Medical technologists are underappreciated and there is no real career ladder...you are either a tech or you are a supervisor. You will could very well get bored with it after a while and aspire to bigger and better things. On the other hand, if you are not the driven type, you could be content being a med tech for a long time. When you get bored with one area of the lab, you could move on to another. Regardless of what your future holds, a med tech degree is not a waste of money. It will be a good part of your resume and you could always get you master's degree and/or Ph.D in another field.

As for being treated like dirt, here is where I disagree. Some techs are treated like dirt...maybe even a lot of them, but it is certainly not universal to all techs. I think it really depends on where you work and how good the management is. If your school sends you out to many different sites for clinical rotations, you will get a good feel for where you'd like to work.

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ces1230 in Virginia Beach, Virginia

77 months ago

Kathy in Chesapeake, Virginia said: I sincerely doubt that you'd have any problem getting a job as a med tech, regardless of whether or not you have been a nurse. I work in a hospital laboratory and we almost always have openings. When you go through the med tech program, you will do clinical rotations in hospitals. Almost every student who has done clinical rotations in my hospital gets a job there (including me). As long as you have a decent work ethic, you will be fine.

You being a RN may hurt your chances of being a lab assistant mainly because they might consider you 'overqualified'.

Hi kathy! Can you give me some insights? I'm a graduate of B.S. Medical Technologist in the phils. and worked for 9 years in a private hospital in the phils as a registered Medical Technologist. Im here now in Virginia and having a hard time applying in a hospital because i am not yet certified here. I am processing the papers for application for certification and at the same time reviewing for the ASCP and AMT exam. Could you give me some advice or can you give me some hospitals who accepts medical Technologist even without certification from ASCP or AMT? Thanks.

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Kathy in Chesapeake, Virginia

77 months ago

Most hospitals will take new MT graduates who have not yet taken the registry on the condition that they pass it within a certain time period. They may do the same for you...you would have to ask if they would do the same for you. If not, you may be able to work doing easy lab work in a physician's office doing tests that do not require MT certification until you are able to pass the exam.

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Suzie in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

75 months ago

Michelle in Durham, North Carolina said: I am currently a RN. I have 2 yrs lab assistant experiences before I became a nurse. I have applied for a lab assistant jobs at labcorp and a local hospital. I got one call back with labcorp's human resource dept. A telephone interview was done. I told her that I understand it will be a huge pay cut. But, I really like working in the lab and I can get a part-time RN job to work around my lab assistant schedule. She said she would forward my application to a hiring manager.
It been two weeks and I have not gotten a second call back from labcorp.

My questions are: Is the fact that I am a RN hurt my chances being hired as a lab assistant?
And after I have earned a BS in clinical laboratory science(I plan on going back to college soon) will being a RN hurt my chances getting a MT job?

Responses are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Michelle

Hi Michelle,

I think it was a great career move on your part. I don't beleive that you being a RN is going to affect your chances of obtaining work as a MLT! We also have LPN's but the RN's are more respected forsure. I think with any job (and this is only my opinion), attitude is also very important when entering a career such as nursing. I'm sure you are a great person and there's just people 'out there' who like to treat others like crap regardless of what they do - this includes miserable people who are in those positions only to make $$ - not because they want to help people.... The Medical Laboratory Technology Program is very popular right now in Nova Scotia - there are tons of jobs all over right across Canada. I don't beleive that it's 'just a job' as someone mentioned - it's a profession and in my opinion - there is plenty of room to grow professionaally.

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CLS48 in California

75 months ago

Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina said: Glenn,

I plan on using my degree in CLS as a stepping stone to become a physician.

I may not have worked as a MT, but I can not understand or image the stress level of working as a MT to be more than stress level in nursing. MTs do not have to deal with patients and family directly. That one fact is a HUGE difference from nursing. And about how hospital/reference labs treat their MTs, it may depend on where you work as for as how they value MTs. That's just my opinion.

I have met MTs that been in the profession for over 20 years or more. So, it must not be that bad....especially not dealing with patients directly.

Thank you for your honesty. However, even through I am leaving nursing, I would never discourage a person from pursuing the nursing profession. I alway say, "what I don't like about nursing, you may like".

-Michelle


Why don't you just apply to medical school right away instead of going to med tech school. Especially if you don't plan to work as an MT. It doesn't make sense to swith from RN, to med tech, then to doctor. You might as well apply to medschool already.

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Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina

75 months ago

I don't have a bachelor's degree in Nursing, I just have an associate's degree. Also I have not done all the pre-med science courses. And the ones I have done in the past is 10 years old.

Going to med tech school (bachelor's degree program) and becoming a med tech will give me the opportunity to work in a different side of health care... no direct patient contact.

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Former in Stevens Point, Wisconsin

75 months ago

I was in school with two pre-meds using CLS as a stepping stone----they are not happy because the cls classes pulled down their gpa's...the pre-clinical classes are, and I cannot stress this enough ...HARD...also, you will have to deal with patients if you are a physician...besides med tech jobs are very stressfull especially with the cutbacks...

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Former in Stevens Point, Wisconsin

75 months ago

PS: if you think you ar going to be able to work while doing the internship required for the degree---think again---it is 40 hours a week AND classes/tests...in any case good luck!

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Heather in Pelham, Alabama

74 months ago

I have been a tech for 7 years. I am currently the Senior Tech in Chemistry at a Children's Hospital. I really enjoy this profession and I have never once regretted my decision to get my BS in medical technology. When my husband learned he was being relocated to Birmingham, I never worried that I wouldn't be able to get a job. I knew that I wouldn't have a problem. This is my profession. I worked HARD to get my degree and I work hard every day to make the lives of my patients better. I don't see the patients, but I am instrumental in their care. This is worth more than money to me. Good luck Kathy, but I don't think you need to go into this profession for less stress. You would be disappointed that you wasted your time and money just to find out what we "lab techs" already know: While nurses are responsible for a certain number of patients on a shift, the lab is responsible for every patient in the hospital, ER, and Outpatient clinics. Not to mention, every ticked off physician and every nurse who just wants someone to vent at. Peaceful doesn't describe my job, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

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True in Plover, Wisconsin

74 months ago

..and the doctors depend on clinical tests to diagnose and treat...70%, right?

In any case, if you work in a clinical lab, I already know two things about you:

1) you are a hard worker
2) you take your job seriously

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Heather in Pelham, Alabama

74 months ago

OOPS! Good luck Michelle. Not
Kathy, sorry. Yes, 70% of the diagnosis comes from lab values, and let me tell you, when they need the result they need it NOW.

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Peggy in Mckinney, Texas

74 months ago

Hi...I have been a Med Tech for nearly 28 years and really have enjoyed it for most of those years. My husband is in retail and we have had to relocate 7 times in our 28 year marriage, raised 3 kids (2 through college and one yet to go)--I have always been able to find a job, whether it be in a smaller clinical lab or a hospital lab. I have held several supervisory positions, all of which I was asked to consider and am so glad that I did. Currently I am a Quality Assurance Coordinator in a hospital lab and have held this job for about 3 years now. I love what I do--it is more of desk job at a computer most of the day. Lately, I have had a desire to return to the "bench tech" job and really miss more of a connection to patient care. I passion is blood bank and I hope to return to the testing side of the bench rather than the administration side. You will not regret earning a degree in Medical Technology. Yes, it has it's ups and downs, but then so do all jobs--at the end of the day, however, it is how you feel about going home knowing that you did the best you could and made a difference in maybe even one patient's diagnosis and treatment. Physician rely on the laboratory results in order to care for their patients. I love being a part of that team, regardless where it is.
I wish you the very best.
P.S. I started out in nursing in college and knew that it was not for me--I am a very emotional person and could not bear the thought of getting to close to a patient and then have them die--or having to tell a family that their loved one is dying. I will never regret switching careers and plan to work another 10 years in the field until I can retire. Then, I want to be one of those wonderful "pink ladies" volunteering their time to work in the hospital delivering flowers and good news to patients.
God Bless whatever you decide to do--just follow your heart and go for what will make you happy in your life. Peggy

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Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina

74 months ago

Thank you for comment. I am glad to read a comment from someone that is glad and proud that they become a medical technologist. I hope that I will enjoy this profession as much as you do.
-Michelle

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Leslie in Alexandria, Virginia

74 months ago

Hi,
I'm also RN and am very unhappy in this profession. I would do anythin to get out of bedside care nursing. I don't like direct patient care. I'm,too, seriously thinking of switching careers before I get too old. Medical Technologist career sounds very interesting and I don't have to deal with patients!!!
Of those, who already work in the lab, can you tell me what is the most stressful for you?

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MT in Harlingen, Texas

74 months ago

Hello Leslie,

I have been a tech for nine years now and the most stressful aspect of my day is working in an understaffed environment. The hospital I work for provides services not only to inpatients but also to five other small hospitals and dozens of clinics.
We do not have enough techs in our lab and too much work. Not to mention, doctors and nurses are constantly calling and interrupting because their results are not ready. They do not know that our work volume encompasses more than just their floor.
I love what I do but at the end of the day I am so exhausted.

I knew I was getting into a high volume position but sometimes we exceed 130% productivity. There have been days that I work 14 hours instead of eight.

With techs becoming more scarce, I can only hope something is done to promote this very important career before patient care is effected.

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Rebecca in New Orleans, Louisiana

73 months ago

Hi Michelle,

Since it has been over a year since your initial post I am curious to know how and what you are doing now.

I have been a medical technologist for 28 years (Yikes - it seems I was only 28 years old a couple of years ago). I have no regrets about my profession. I worked as a Blood Bank technologist in an acute care hospital for about 12 years. During this time I learned the routine bench work, drawing donors, performing apheresis, managing a small blood bank computer system, teaching med tech students, quality assurance and lab safety. After 12 years I moved into a temporary position as an operations manager of a small reference lab and for 1 year I was a Point of Care/QA Coordinator. For 2 years I supervised the phlebotomy group and for the last 8 years have been an Laboratory Systems Manager. So for those who say it is a "dead end career" please realize this is choice those persons have made to remain where they are. If you have the drive and good communication skills there are oppurtunities.

I have never worked as an RN so I do not have an opinion or understanding of the stress level. However, you will encounter job related stress as a Medical Technologist. The reasons are as follows:
1. Shortage of staff
2. You will be "in the background" and because you are not visible to the patient and doctor
3. Medical Technologists are very analytical intellegent individuals, however, automation has caused the job to become rather routine. Most med techs are overqualified for what they are doing - thus they are bored, miserable and unhappy. You will be working alongside people who are not happy about thier job and status. Do not underestimate the stress this can cause.

On the brighter side your RN can be an extremely valuable asset. You can help bridge the gap because you will understand both sides of the issues.

Good luck

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Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina

73 months ago

Thanks for your comment. It is very inspiring.

I just started my junior year in the CLS program at East Carolina University. I am very excitied about all the new things I am learning and going to learn. And to be honest, this program is more demanding than my nursing program was about 5 years ago. I really have to manage my time well while I am in this program.

I continue to work as a RN at a local nursing home 2 days a week for now, but I am strongly considering even reducing it down to one day a week. The demand of this program is something I have to get used to.

I have confidence in myself that I will successful complete this program and pass the certification exams. Even though, I have not started clinicals, I feel that I have made the right choice.

-Michelle

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shelley in Truro, Nova Scotia

64 months ago

IS medical lab assistant a hard job? what are the duties of a medical lab assistant pls help

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Rebecca in New Orleans, Louisiana

64 months ago

I can not say if it is a "hard" job because this is determined by your experience and training. The job duties can vary tremendously from plating specimens in microbiology to performing routine dipstick on urine specimens to filing. If you give me more information on your background and what you are looking for I can give you more information. In my opinion I would say no it is not a difficult job.

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Shelley in Truro, Nova Scotia

64 months ago

Well iam thinking about takeing this course in Sept and iam way nervous about it, thanks for the description.

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Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina

64 months ago

Shelley,

When I worked as a lab assistant/phlebotomist 6 years ago, I worked in the specimen processing section of the lab. My duties included phlebotomy, order entry in lab tests, check-in specimens received from doctor's offices and other hospitals, and processing specimens to go to different sections of the lab or mail out to reference labs.
It was not a hard job. And it was not a stressful job. I really enjoyed it. Because of my work experience as a lab assistant I had decided to go back to school to become a MT.

-Michelle

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Joe, MT (ASCP) in Tulsa, Oklahoma

64 months ago

Michelle,

Many medical technologists are frustrated with their careers either because they have been working for "X" number of years without advancement or because they feel the profession is overdue for a change that will never come, and in many cases both. While I love my work as a Microbiologist and have never second guessed it, I would have to agree that MTs are underestimated, overlooked, overworked, and underpaid. Most come into the profession with a certain level of intelligence and passion but become disgruntled after seeing colleages outside of the laboratory advance at relatively incredible rates and pull in salaries almost twice their own with sometimes only half of the education and experience required for medical technology. Because the field is practically invisible, it takes a special person to excell in it, i.e. someone who never needs praise. It would be a very rare occasion for a doctor or nurse to recognize or even thank you as an MT, and patients and families may not even know that you exist. I personally have never worked as a nurse, but I'm sure there is a certain level of recognition and praise that comes with it.

This aside, there is good news. Despite what most believe, the profession WILL inevitably change. If not, hospital labs around the country may actually collapse from extreme short staffing. The combination of rapid closure of MT schools and training programs and an aging workforce has produced an ever growing shortage. Field analysts estimate that by 2012, a minimum of 12,000 new MTs will be needed every year, but only 4,000 to 5,000 will graduate. Although bad news for employers, this means rising demand for MTs and therefore job security and probably rising salaries.

I think some of the best recent news is the upcoming merger between ASCP and NCA. This should bring much needed recognition, respect, and standardization. In my opinion, there are more reasons to enter this profession than not.

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Rohan in Rego Park, New York

64 months ago

well said, and i agree 100% Joe.

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Larry in Richardson, Texas

64 months ago

You get a paycheck so why do you need praise and appreciation? Do you have family issues?

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Annie Attitude in Stevens Point, Wisconsin

64 months ago

Ya know Larry, it seems you have personality issues.

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Larry in Richardson, Texas

64 months ago

I think they build up the profession a little too much when they are trying to sell the MT schools to prospective buyers. I also think that today's children are told they're special a little too much. Grow up, get tough, face the world and quit expecting a pat on the back. I must work with a great group of people because we just don't have this many issues.

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Annie Attitude in Plover, Wisconsin

64 months ago

...like I said...

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Mike in Broadview Heights, Ohio

64 months ago

Yes I read some of the posts larry/joker/spot have written. He works with a great group of people in this head, in reality he is by himself. Try some mess larry, they will help you.

What Joe said is correct, the NCA and ASCP merging will help with more standardization, and with the approval of the DCLS there will be more choices for people with their BS MT to further their careers rather than leaving the lab for another better paying profession.

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x in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

63 months ago

k

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x in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

63 months ago

Nursing is very hard,dangerous, and honestly very unrespected profession. It is definitely not worth $18 to get HIV, hepatitis, never seeing your family, and not to mention those hours and rotating shifts (we were told in nursing school that not sleepying at night and people who work professions like ours have more heart problems, overweight and die younger) and here we are putting our life in danger and bringing home diseases to our families. I also know many nurses who went into premature labor and almost lost their baby due to the demands on nursing to their bodies. And unfortunally most nurses don't care about other nurses and put each other down all the time (eat their own), unreal. If you take the 36hrs x $18-19 dollars for the year, you are looking at only $27,000 or so after taxes, wow not much at all for the stress of this job. Not to mention all the media saying there is a shortage and we need more and more nurses. When this is far from the truth. There are part time nursing jobs here and 400 RN's are apply for one RN job. What are the odds of getting this job, none really. I find this is the case all over the US. Lastly, the insurance the hospitals offer to the RN's is horrible, the health insurance that garbage companies and daycare centers have better benefits!

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Confused in Monticello, Minnesota

63 months ago

"ASCP Continues Advocacy Efforts to Avoid CLS School Closure
Latest Campaign Aims to Save University of South Alabama Program
ASCP continues its efforts to assist Clinical Laboratory Science programs threatened with closure. Most recently the Society has launched an advocacy campaign aimed at staving off plans to close the program at the University of South Alabama..."

If there is such a shortage of Medical Technologists, why are the programs being shut down? The one at UW-Madison is closing too.

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Joe, MT (ASCP) in Tulsa, Oklahoma

63 months ago

Confused in Monticello, Minnesota said: "ASCP Continues Advocacy Efforts to Avoid CLS School Closure
Latest Campaign Aims to Save University of South Alabama Program
ASCP continues its efforts to assist Clinical Laboratory Science programs threatened with closure. Most recently the Society has launched an advocacy campaign aimed at staving off plans to close the program at the University of South Alabama..."

If there is such a shortage of Medical Technologists, why are the programs being shut down? The one at UW-Madison is closing too.

Most medical Technology schools and programs are closing due to lack of student interest among high school and college students. Colleges and Universities are reluctant to fund programs that year after year fill to only half capacity. Most schools are all about $$$, they're not concerned about which fields are experiencing worker shortages, they're generally only interested in programs with high student interest. Most students aren't interested in medical technology because they've never heard of it, so they assume it must be not be a worthwhile career. While in fact, it's just not promoted the way is needs to be.

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Lisa

62 months ago

Michelle in Greenville, North Carolina said: Glenn,

I plan on using my degree in CLS as a stepping stone to become a physician.

I may not have worked as a MT, but I can not understand or image the stress level of working as a MT to be more than stress level in nursing. MTs do not have to deal with patients and family directly. That one fact is a HUGE difference from nursing. And about how hospital/reference labs treat their MTs, it may depend on where you work as for as how they value MTs. That's just my opinion.

I have met MTs that been in the profession for over 20 years or more. So, it must not be that bad....especially not dealing with patients directly.

Thank you for your honesty. However, even through I am leaving nursing, I would never discourage a person from pursuing the nursing profession. I alway say, "what I don't like about nursing, you may like".

-Michelle

I'm still just a CLS student (two semesters left--woo hoo!), but I did work in a research lab for 9 years. People tried to guide me into nursing when I was getting my first bachelor's degrees (biology and chemistry), but I already knew from volunteering at a local hospital that I simply wasn't up to that kind of patient contact. Not that I didn't like the patients, or people in general, but I wasn't and never will be up to it. I'd done the volunteering because I originally thought I wanted to become an M.D.

Lab work, at least as far as I've seen it, is a *different* kind of stress than clinical contact work. And it's not so much that it's less stress, but it's a kind of stress I can happily cope with. I like scientific and technical things. A lot. And that's what balances it out for me. If you love your job, you don't mind the stress nearly as much.

Case in point--I don't think that CLS coursework is easy at all. I have to study, I have to study quite a bit, and I don't get all A's. I have to work at this stuff. However, I don't mind the work.

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Lisa

62 months ago

to continue--I like the work a lot. I like what I'm learning. I think my classes are fun most of the time. I'd rather fight for a B in a class that I love than get an easy A in a class I detest.

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bayareamommy in Oakland, California

62 months ago

Hello Michelle,

Though I am not a nurse, I understand how you feel. I am a CNA and have worked with nurses who are in the field because of the money. And from what I have witnessed in the past, they are not happy human beings. Being a nurse is not as easy as one may think it is. They have A LOT of responsibility and they have to put up with a lot too. The doctors alone are a real pain in the rear to deal with (not all ofcourse, but most), let alone those picky family members too.

As for me, I too thought that maybe becoming a nurse would be a good thing. I mean, I am already a CNA, so why not go up the ladder right? After doing the prerequisites, and after taking time off from school to be at home with my baby, I had time to think about wethere or not to continue on. I thought about the risks of being a nurse (the stress and the needles!). The thought of getting pricked with a needle scared me to death! I even looked it up on line and the more I read about nurses who have gotten pricked with needles, the more I knew that nursing was not for me.

Now, I am pursuing a career change, but one that still is in the medical field, just one that does not have to deal with blood, viruses, bacteria and other bodily fluids that will put me at risk to get sick and whatnot.

I wish you the best. And as you know, you only live once, so do what makes you happy and not what makes you more money. I mean, wh yhave a lot of money if you are not trully happy? You will dread going to work. And you might even make a fatal mistake because of it too. It is not worth it. And don't think that you wasted time in nursing school either, because an education is NEVER a waste of time.

Good luck =D

I

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KMur4kits in Bainbridge, Georgia

62 months ago

Michelle,

You seriously need to rethink your career goals. First, if you don't like the "stress" and need a break from direct patient contact, perhaps being a doctor isn't for you.

If you do want to be a doctor do not go to MLS school. You will only be taking the slot from someone who truly wants to be an MLS. Go to a university and major in "pre-med". Then apply to medical schools, and if you are fortunate enough to be granted an interview DO NOT tell them you didn't like being an RN for the reasons you stated or you'll never get in.

If you think being an MLS (MT) is NOT stressful, then someone has bamboozled you because it can be an EXTREMELY stressful job, especially in a busy hospital blood bank. Imagine preparing blood syringes for tiny premature neonates with "new" blood, that is WBC-reduced, CMV negative and irradiated, while doing a stat crossmatch with a mother in labor with antibodies trying to find antigen-negative blood for her while she's bleeding out the whazzoo, while answering phones from ticked-off doctors and nurses wanting units for THEIR patients RIGHT NOW...I could go on and on. That's just the blood bank. We have the entire hospital and ER on our backs for results as fast as we can churn them out while dealing with crappy samples drawn by people who haven't been educated about how to collect specimens. We are constantly having to argue with "nurses" about bad results...one nurse actually wanted me to result a glucose >1000. WHY??? If the doctor has a brain AT ALL, he won't do anything with that result, but what if he doesn't??? I have personally heard of a doc giving heparin to a patient because the PT and PTT results were transposed (not by me! LOL) but you understand we can't just turn out crap and expect the doctors not to do anything with it.

Bottom line...this is a field that requires fast thinking, a lot of knowledge and sharp skills. You're better off staying an RN and working in a doctor's office. Good Luck.

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KMur4kits in Bainbridge, Georgia

62 months ago

I have just seen that you are already in the CLS program. Well, I hope this means you will use this as a stepping stone to something better, as Glenn said, because with your RN you can work as a liaison in a hospital somewhere, maybe as a point of care coordinator. Best of Luck.

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jm515 in Virginia Beach, Virginia

61 months ago

Joe, MT (ASCP) in Tulsa, Oklahoma said: Most medical Technology schools and programs are closing due to lack of student interest among high school and college students. Colleges and Universities are reluctant to fund programs that year after year fill to only half capacity. Most schools are all about $$$, they're not concerned about which fields are experiencing worker shortages, they're generally only interested in programs with high student interest. Most students aren't interested in medical technology because they've never heard of it, so they assume it must be not be a worthwhile career. While in fact, it's just not promoted the way is needs to be.

I am having this problem. I was thinking of going into Nursing, but I just don't want the constant patient interaction - probably best for the patient! But I am having a horrible time trying to locate a medical school that offers a lab tech program. Neither MCI, ITT,B&S,Sentara school of health care, or TCC offers any program in this area.

Where are these people going to school.....I can't find it!

Michelle do whatever you feel is right for you. Unfortunately I have no suggestions for you as I came across your post in search of my own interest in this field. Best of Luck!!

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KathyM in Chesapeake, Virginia

61 months ago

jm, most of the Medical Technologist grads in this area come from Old Dominion University. You would spend your first two years taking mostly general courses which includes Anatomy and Physiology and Organic Chemistry. Once you are accepted into the Medical Technology program, you will spend your junior year doing the academic and in-school lab heavy-duty med tech courses including Clinical Chemistry, Immunohematology, Hematology, Clinical Microbiology, Serology, Parasitology, etc. The senior year is spent doing clinical rotations in hospitals and a few miscellaneous courses such as Research Methods and Laboratory Management. If you do well on your clinical rotations there is a good chance that the hospital where you did them will hire you. You will graduate with a BS and will then be eligable to take your MT(ASCP) registry exam.

If you are looking for a Medical Technician (2 year) program, I can't help you there.

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