Shortage of Native Clinical Laboratory Professionals

During this pandemic, many of our Hopi Senom felt a need to help our community. Some members have created GoFundMe accounts to help with resources that were scarce in the beginning of this pandemic. Some have donated money to the tribe while others have assisted with generating
public service announcements.

What about those who truly want to serve on the front line for the long term? Who would like to join the field of laboratory medicine and help our people by providing much needed laboratory data used by providers to properly diagnose and treat our people?

Native American medical lab professionals are far and few between, which will only get worse when many of our current leaders retire. Many of the Indian Health Service facilities are having to hire contractors because of the shortage of clinical laboratory professionals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018 report on Occupational Employment and Wages for Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, the mean annual wage was $53,880 (1). This may not seem like enough to support a family; however, one must consider that this amount is the mean and is for both 2-year and 4-year degree lab professionals.

The two quickest routes to enter this field are via a Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) program or a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program. The CLS program is a four-year degree with that will give you the knowledge to hit the ground running at any clinical lab. The MLT program is a two-year degree that will also give you the knowledge to hit the ground running.

Another route is via a bachelor degree from an accredited college/university. This degree must include 16 semester hours of biological science, 16 semester hours of chemistry, one semester of mathematics, AND five years of full time acceptable clinical laboratory experience in Blood Banking, Chemistry, Hematology, microbiology, Immunology and Urinalysis/Body Fluids (2). Whichever route you chose to take, you are guaranteed a rewarding career with opportunities around the globe.

References:

  1. 29-2010 Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians
    https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292010.htm#(2)
  2. “Clinical Laboratory Scientist.” USAJOBS, www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/555544100.
Note: Here is a link to a newly opened MLT position at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center.

Please feel free to contact the Hopi Times for more information on becoming a laboratory professional. Kwa’kway.

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