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Published April 01, 2022
By Alyssa Sudermann
A Medical Laboratory Science Degree (MLS) consists of pursuing a bachelor’s degree related to testing clinical specimens to assist in the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of medical conditions. This is a perfect program for anyone interested in the science and medical/healthcare field. In addition, it yields rewarding career opportunities with an average salary that is higher than the national average. Finally, it can also be obtained with just a bachelor’s degree, which is much quicker than other medical degree programs. Want to learn more about why an MLS Degree is worth it? Continue reading for more information!
First, let’s clarify what people with an MLS degree do. These professionals analyze a wide variety of biological specimens. In addition, they also work in conjunction with physicians by providing them with testing sample results. Although Medical Laboratory Scientists have minimal patient contact, they still play a crucial role in identifying and treating medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. If you want to pursue a career that plays an integral role in helping others, this might be the perfect career for you!
A key benefit of the MLS degree is that after high school, it only takes four years to complete. Most medical programs require you to complete your undergraduate degree, go to medical school, then to residency, before finally being able to become a professional in your desired field. In comparison to other medical degree programs, an MLS degree provides the best return on your investment because you are able to spend a shorter amount of time in school, while also getting into the professional workforce quicker. In order to become an accredited MLS, all three of the following steps must be met.
Step 1: Graduate High School
First, one must earn a high school diploma.
Step 2: Earn an MLS Bachelor's Degree
The next step is to pursue and earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in MLS, which takes four years. While pursuing your Bachelor’s degree, be sure to look for opportunities to participate in clinical research or work as a lab aid or phlebotomist in order to gain hands-on experience, which is something that future employers want to see!
Step 3: Complete Certifications
Finally, one must successfully complete the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC) exam. Once this is complete, then the student will gain the necessary certification to earn the title of a MLS. Just think: with an MLS degree, you could enter into the workforce straight out of your undergrad, rather than spending over eight additional years in school after high school.
Paying for a college education sounds daunting, but let me give you an idea of the investment you would be making in your future. According to Shemmassian, the median cost of attending medical school in 2020-2021 was close to $39,000 per year for in-state students at a public university, while it was $63,000 per year for out-of-state students. These numbers will only increase as the years go by, but there are some Universities that offer affordable prices for students. For example, you could pursue your MLS undergraduate degree for less than $18,000 (as a resident of Wyoming) or less than $33,000 (as a non-resident of Wyoming) at the University of Wyoming-Casper. This is a great opportunity to make an investment in your future, and at a lower cost in comparison to the national averages.
ZipRecruiter provides the following labor statistics: in 2021, the average annual salary for an MLS professional is $72,604 a year, and this number can range anywhere from between $23,000 to $138,500. The starting salary is $52,000. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2019, the median household income was $68,843. This means that an MLS degree pays higher than the national average income in the US. Further, in terms of the salaries for a medical laboratory scientist, the outlook is bright! Demand for employment is likely to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028, which means that this degree will prove to be a quality decision in terms of providing job security.
If you are still on the fence about if an MLS Degree is worth it, it is crucial to note there are a plethora of options available after earning an MLS degree! There are two main distinct career paths: Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) and Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT). Both jobs require one to work in a laboratory and to analyze data. However, even though these two career paths sound similar, there are differences.
Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS)
A MLS is a more sophisticated role because they tend to have more education, meaning that they are allowed to participate in more advanced lab work and use specialized equipment.
Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)
On the other hand, laboratory technicians are more concerned with the day-to-day operations within the laboratory. Also, technicians are usually supervised by a higher-level professional.
In addition, with an MLS degree, there are many different professional opportunities to choose from. In comparison, other degree programs might limit the pool of job options available after graduation. After completing your MLS degree, you could explore career roles as any of the following, just to name a few:
Well, the answer to this question will depend on your personal interests and desires, but if you are interested in a career with benefits that will allow you to perform integral research and testing that can save lives, provide hands-on learning experiences, and keep you on your toes, then you will find that an MLS Degree is extremely rewarding!