Clinical laboratory scientists, also referred to as medical technologists, are highly trained professionals that perform hundreds of types of tests critical to the diagnoses, treatment, management and prevention of disease. The information provided by clinical laboratory scientists generate as much as 70 percent of the data in a patient's medical record, making them critical members of the health care team.
A CLS uses sophisticated biomedical instrumentation, microscopes and computers to analyze blood, tissue and body-fluid specimens. Some of the jobs available in this profession include staff technologist, forensic scientist, laboratory manager, medical sales representative, research associate (for new medical products or drugs), college/university faculty and regional blood bank director.
Members of this profession work in a variety of laboratory settings, including hospitals and clinics, research facilities, public health departments, clinical testing-related industries and forensic laboratories.
According to a report from Illinois State University, the average starting salary for a CLS graduate is in the lower $30,000s, with graduates with five years of work experience reporting earnings in the $40,000s.
Job prospects for clinical laboratory scientists are excellent. Hospitals and other health care facilities throughout Illinois and the nation are facing a critical shortage of qualified clinical laboratory personnel. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2002 and 2010, U.S. laboratories will need approximately 13,200 new CLS workers per year to properly staff clinical laboratory facilities. Since accredited clinical laboratory programs are graduating less than 5,000 students per year, job security and increased wages are predicted for graduates of CLS programs.
The CLS transfer program offers students a seamless transfer to one of the college's affiliated four-year institutions. After completing an Associate in Science degree at COD, a student then transfers to an affiliated institution as a junior to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in CLS. A student is then eligible to take the certifying examination administered by the Board of Registry of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the National Certification Agency for laboratory personnel.
There is not a separate or additional admissions process to begin the CLS program at College of DuPage. However, students must have a high school diploma or GED. In addition, students are required to:
1) Complete English 1101 with a "C" or better (or receive a Category 1 score on the
college's Reading Placement Test)
2) Earn a Category 4 score on the Writing Placement Essay; and
3) Complete Math 1431 with a "C" or better (or receive a score of 53 or above on the Math Placement Test.