Clinical lab job boom coming - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Clinical lab job boom coming

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Demand for clinical laboratory jobs will increase during the next decade, according to U.S. News and World Report and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions.  

U.S. News ranked clinical laboratory jobs third in the health-care category in their list of the top 50 careers for the next 10 years. The list is compiled from information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's new job-growth projections for the next decade.  Occupations that made the list were those that will add jobs at an above-average rate during the next decade and provide an above-average median income.  

"We are extremely pleased that the job forecast for this very important career is expected to grow at such an impressive rate in 2010 and beyond," said Janelle Chiasera, Ph.D., director of Clinical Laboratory Sciences at UAB, in a statement to FOX6 News.  "In fact, we expect that the overall growth trend in the health-care sector will continue to progress rapidly as aging baby boomers place new and increased demands on health-care providers.

"Our program in Clinical Laboratory Science at UAB educates highly skilled professionals who will play a crucial role in the diagnosis, management and treatment of diseases," Chiasera said. "As such, our graduates become vital participants of the health-care team that contributes to the very best in personalized care."

According to U.S. News, job growth in the clinical laboratory is expected to be faster than average with the number of job opportunities rising by about 16 percent. The fastest job growth will come from clinical, pathology and physician-office laboratories. The report also highlights other positive factors including the fact that health care is the only industry that expanded payrolls during the recession due to the increasing demands for health-related services.

"Clinical laboratory professionals are among the most important within the health-care industry," said Sherry Polhill, administrative director of Hospital Laboratories at UAB.  "This is an extremely rewarding and important profession, and I am pleased that it is receiving the recognition it deserves."

The clinical laboratory plays a crucial role in the practice of medicine by providing health-care professionals with clinically relevant data needed to make diagnosis, management and treatment decisions. Clinical laboratory science professionals, also referred to as clinical laboratory technologists and medical technologists, perform a variety of tests to uncover essential information needed by others. These professionals work in fast-paced, highly automated environments and interact with sophisticated equipment in five major areas of the laboratory: chemistry, hematology, immunology, microbiology and transfusion medicine.  

"An estimated 60 to 70 percent of all decisions regarding patient's diagnosis and treatment, hospital admission and discharge are based on laboratory test results," said Chiasera. "The profession is currently experiencing a 10 percent vacancy rate, and 13 percent of the current professionals are likely to retire in the next five years, creating wide spread opportunities for jobs across the country."

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