Different Kinds of Laboratory Careers

Different Kinds of Laboratory Careers
  • Opening Intro -

    Many laboratory careers provide the kind of intellectual challenges that satisfy a curious, scientific mind.


These careers may require certification, licensure, specific coursework, or additional specialized training in programs accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, and/or certification or licensing from specialized medical boards. All laboratory careers require excellent attention to detail and meticulous documentation of processes and results.

If careers in science intrigue you and you have studied biology, chemistry, physics, statistics and math, then some of these different kinds of laboratory careers may be choices for you. Visit your campus career services office to learn more.

Medical Lab Technician or Technologist

Medical technicians or technologists perform diagnostic or mechanical tests in medical laboratories. Running biopsies and collecting and testing tissue samples, blood, and other body fluid samples are among a medical lab technician’s responsibilities.

A variety of specialized roles in medical labs may require particular prerequisites or coursework, certification, or licensing.

These roles may include that of a pathology assistant, who collects and tests human tissue for diagnostic or investigative purposes; a cytogenetic technician, who examines genetic material within cells; or a nuclear medicine technologist, who helps with imaging tests that use radioactive materials to identify tumors or other problems within the body.

Forensic Lab Technician

Forensic science lab technicians assist with crime scene investigations involving laboratory analysis. These lab techs use various techniques such as light, chemicals, and specialized equipment to study evidence. They may also perform fingerprint analysis by using databases to identify fingerprints and DNA and to determine if they match any previously identified samples.

Many forensic lab technicians elect to specialize in an area such as ballistics—which involves analyzing how firing a weapon affects the bullets or other projectiles or the weapon itself—or DNA analysis, which involves trying to match genetic materials with existing data or criminal suspects.

Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and Metrology Lab Technician

One type of lab career you may not have thought about is working in a lab that tests products, foods, or medicines to ensure that they meet required specifications and standards. Quality assurance is a proactive practice that happens before and during production.

Quality assurance professionals devise systems and processes that ensure every step in a manufacturing process—from sourcing materials to producing the end product—meets the identified standards. Similarly, quality control professionals test materials after production in a reactive practice to identify defects or inadequacies in products.

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Finally, metrologists specialize in measurement. They ensure that machinery is properly calibrated and that the results are reliable within acceptable ranges. Metrologists are critical to reliable lab test results because they ensure that any measurements are accurate and validated.

Medical, forensic, quality, and metrology technicians can all take specialized training to earn certification and to ensure that the labs in which they work meet international standards in their operations.

Image Credit: laboratory careers by Pixabay

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Categories: Career Planning