How to get a job in a medical lab without a degree (or just an AA)?
May 25, 2014 5:58 PM   Subscribe

I remember an old roommate told me that she had a job in a medical lab with a bachelor's in art history (not related to lab work). I have an Associates in Arts degree and am working on my bachelors degree in Clinical Laboratory Science. I will start volunteering at the medical lab in the hospital on Thursday. Are there any jobs in the lab for people like me? Maybe after I've volunteered for a few months? Thanks.
posted by eq21 to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Certainly volunteering and making yourself valuable to the lab you're working in is one of the best ways to help land a job in that lab (or one like it.) After settling in in the lab and if it seems like you're getting on well there's no harm in (gradually and diplomatically) asking about changing your volunteering into a something you get paid for. Many clinical lab jobs require licensing or other qualifications that you might not be able to get until after you have your degree.

Another things to look into are research labs at universities that may be interested in people like you who know how to perform certain kinds of clinicsl tests or use particular machines. They may not care about licensing, etc. that a clinical lab would require. They only need your expertise to run clinical tests for their research, not for any kind of diagnosis or to make treatment decisions. You might look for volunteer or paid spots in those kinds of labs too.

In either case be sure to get course credit for your volunteer work if possible.
posted by sevenless at 7:01 PM on May 25, 2014

I work in a lab doing data entry with some minor specimen handling, but it's also at a fairly major regional hospital. In a smaller hospital my job would probably be part of the job of the folks with CLS degrees. You also might want to look at a job drawing blood (phlebotomy), but again, the size of the hospital will matter, and depending on where you are it may require it's on certification etc etc.
posted by Meeks Ormand at 7:05 PM on May 25, 2014

Depending on local regulations, you could become a morgue assistant with on the job training only.
posted by SyraCarol at 7:09 PM on May 25, 2014

I worked in a clinical lab in high school. Basically moving specimens around, centrifuging, mixing reagents, and doing dishes and cleaning. A good gig- I could read during slow shifts. I kept working until some time in college, when they replaced my job with a robot.
posted by rockindata at 7:58 PM on May 25, 2014

Check out phlebotomist training in your area. Here in California, you can get trained as a phlebotomist in very little time (some programs are as little as two weeks), take the exam and be licensed.

I know someone who had no degree at all, took a longer program (two months), run by the Kaiser School of Allied Health. She now has a really good job at Kaiser in the lab and doing hospital rounds.
posted by jasper411 at 7:21 AM on May 26, 2014

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