CAREERS IN MICROBIAL SCIENCES
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What does this person do?
- Recommends methods for obtaining and transporting clinical specimens that would be most helpful in diagnosing infectious diseases
- Selects the most appropriate tests and identifies bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic agents that are likely to be contributing to infectious processes
- Determines the susceptibility of microorganisms to various antimicrobial agents that could be used to treat infections caused by the microorganisms
- Reports results to healthcare providers caring for patients in a clear, concise, and clinically relevant manner
- Works with healthcare teams, including public health officials, to improve processes to diagnose and control infectious diseases with a strong emphasis on effective communication at all levels
- Works with pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to develop new and improved technologies to confront emerging infectious diseases
Where does this person work?
- Hospital Laboratories
- Commercial and Reference Laboratories (where more complex lab tests are often performed)
- Federal and State Government Laboratories
- State and Local Public Health Laboratories
- Hospital laboratories affiliated with Universities and Medical Schools
- Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic Instrument Companies
Where is the greatest need for clinical microbiologists?
- Develop new tests to identify emerging infectious diseases that are rapid, clinically relevant and cost effective.
- Identify innovative ways to assess the activity of antimicrobial agents against microorganisms that are most predictive of therapeutic outcomes.
- Provide guidance to computer programmers to develop information technology that can best serve clinicians when ordering tests, reviewing test results and integrating test results with each patients electronic medical record.
- Work with healthcare teams to better control transmission of infectious diseases within healthcare settings and in communities in the USA and beyond.
Education and Experience Requirements:
Education & Experience
Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)
Medical Technologist (MT)
Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS)
Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS)
Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Director
What to Consider before Entering the Profession:
- Do you want to use your science knowledge in a healthcare environment?
- Would you prefer to stay “behind the scenes” rather than work directly with patients?
- Are you interested in helping to determine the causes of infections?
- Are you willing to at times work or be available to work weekends, evenings, and holidays?
- Are you organized and able to multitask in a high-workload environment?
- As a MLT, you analyze specimens and report results. MLS’ have an added responsibility to perform more complex testing than MLTs.
- After several years of experience “on the bench” as an MLS, you can become a supervisor or manager.
- As a director of a clinical microbiology lab, you are responsible for tests performed in your laboratory, advise clinicians on test selection and interpretation, and serve as a microbiology resource for your health system beyond the laboratory.
- Most laboratory personnel in the clinical microbiology field are also qualified to work in public health laboratories.
Want to learn more? Check out the additional resources.
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