Medical Laboratory Technology

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This field is mostly about sitting in a laboratory running tests all day. But then again what would medicine be without laboratory technicians? In 1923, a doctor by the name of George Papanicolau illustrated one of the earliest/first laboratory tests, simply known as the pap smear. It was “the first observation of cancer cells using a microscope” and today has become one of the most widely used laboratory tests in the world. It has helped reduce cancer development by more than 75%. Thus if herein lies your passion, great things can be done: creating vaccines for diseases, developing cheaper drugs for third world countries and the like.

Fact is laboratory tests are an essential aspect in the medical field and are crucial to the detection, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of the many diseases and illnesses that afflict humankind. Besides, today’s technicians have the luxury of computers running the tests for them while they analyse and interpret the results.

Careers

There is currently not much information regarding the demand for medical laboratory technologists in Malaysia. Nevertheless, considering the nature of the work, it is clear that there will always be work opportunities in this field. In the United States, employment for medical laboratory workers is expected to grow through 2018. In fact, the current shortage in medical laboratory personnel in the US is not just a problem in hospitals but in the field of research as well.

Typically, graduates in this field land jobs in hospitals and other medical facilities either in the private or government sectors. However, it is also possible to find work in universities, pathology laboratories research and development departments in say, pharmaceuticals, universities and laboratories for example, or even in the field of forensic medicine.

Specialisations

Microbiology
Focusing on the detection of bacteria, viruses and other parasites.

Haematology
Focuses on the analyses of blood samples.

Clinical Chemistry
Focuses on the analyses of chemical substances present in the blood.

Blood banking
Focuses on the preparation of blood components and plasma for transfusions.

Immunohaematology
Focuses on determining suitability of donor – patient blood used in transfusions.

Immunology
Focuses on examining the degree of immunity or resistance to disease and assisting in studies for organ transplantation.

Urinalysis
Focuses on the chemical and cellular analysis of urine.

Toxicology
Focuses on the identification of toxic substances and drugs in body fluids.

Salary
  • Senior Executive (min. RM2,500; avg. RM 3,180; max. RM4,200)
  • Junior Executive (min. RM1,950; avg. RM 2,400; max. RM3,000)
  • Fresh / Entry Level (min. RM1,600; avg. RM 1,900; max. RM2,300)
  • Non-Executive (min. RM1,600; avg. RM2,000; max. RM 2,800)

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