Skills in High Demand Despite Down Economy
By Karen Angelo
All graduates from both Medical Laboratory Science and Clinical Sciences programs have been successfully employed after graduation, in spite of the economy, with many medical laboratory science graduates receiving multiple job offers.
The reason? It is an essential medical profession.
“Seventy percent of a physician’s decisions about patient diagnosis, prognosis and treatment are based on accurate and precise medical laboratory tests,” says Prof. Kay Doyle, director of the medical laboratory science program in the Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences Department. “This critical function will continue to grow as the baby boomer generation retires.”
The demand is so great that students are receiving multiple job offers during their laboratory internships. Before Aaron Stella graduated, he was offered positions at Lahey Clinic, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Anna Jaques Hospital and Cambridge Hospital. He accepted a position at Mayo Medical Laboratories New England in Andover.
“It's like a ‘try-out’ for a sports team,” said Stella, who received a bachelor’s degree in 2008 and a master’s degree in 2010 and is currently enrolled in the University’s biomedical engineering and biotechnology Ph.D. program. “Each student has five weeks to demonstrate their skills in front of potential employers. You end up getting so many career offers that you have to turn some of them down.”
Ann Lucchesi, who graduated in May 2011, received two offers while interning. But she says that receiving a job offer before completing her degree was just one advantage of her chosen career.
“I achieved skills for a fulfilling career where medical decisions are made based on my valuable role,” says Lucchesi, who works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The Best of the Best
Graduates can work in hospitals but also in management, reference laboratories, biotechnology, research laboratories and sales and marketing of medical devices. The UMass Lowell program teaches students about instrumentation and laboratory techniques as well as how to apply a high level of interpretation, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
“I am confident in the way that UMass Lowell faculty prepared me for my job. There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment I have when I walk into work each day thanks to the Clinical Laboratory Science faculty and my peers. I love my work and the new family I have at Brigham and Women’s Hospital,” says Lucchesi.
“The education I received at UMass Lowell is priceless. There are so many options that medical laboratory scientists can choose from after graduation,” says Stella.
The 2010 national accreditation report and site visit from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences resulted in the Medical Laboratory Science program’s fourth straight perfect accreditation scores (since 1984) with the site visitor team leader stating “the UMass Lowell’s program is one of the very best in the country.” This is supported by the program's 100 percent employment for graduates and the 95 percent pass rate on the national board certification exams, compared to lower national averages in the high 70s to low 80s.
New Credential Reflects Knowledge Necessary
The UMass Lowell program name recently changed from “Medical Technology” to “Medical Laboratory Science” to reflect a new national board certification credential.
The American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification approved the credential Medical Laboratory Scientist for all bachelor of science degree graduates who meet both the educational and clinical internship criteria and successfully pass the national board certification examinations at this level.
“This not only streamlines the national board certification examinations into one, but the new credential better represents the level of knowledge that medical laboratory science graduates must possess in today’s high-tech medical laboratory,” says Doyle.