Description of the Profession
Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) has traditionally been known as the branch of medicine dealing with the performance of laboratory analyses used in the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of disease, as well as the
maintenance of health. This definition is rapidly undergoing expansion due to the diverse employment opportunities available to the graduate. Today's graduates seek careers in clinical settings (hospital or private laboratories performing tests related to disease conditions in humans and animals); industry (marketing, pharmaceuticals, biomedical technology, occupational health, research and development, quality control, health promotion, laboratory consultation); or public health (epidemiology, crime laboratory science, Peace Corps). In addition, many graduates choose to continue education in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant, health information technology, health law and other graduate programs.
The MLS program at Salisbury University prepares so-called laboratory generalists who are prepared to practice in each of the content areas listed below. Some medical laboratories, usually the smaller ones, have generalist practitioners. In many medical laboratories, staff tend to specialize in just one or two areas. Microbiology/ immunology is a common combination as is chemistry/hematology in labs featuring a “core lab” arrangement. Seats in the MLS program are limited and the application process is competitive. Priority is given to students who are MLS majors, and these students will take the generalist curriculum. On a space-available basis, the MLS program offers
minors in four areas- clinical microbiology, clinical chemistry, transfusion services and clinical hematology- for students not interested in pursuing the generalist degree.
Each of the links below will lead you to one of the areas practiced by medical lab scientists. The brief descriptions of each area only hint at the many possibilities that a medical lab scientist can pursue.