Medical laboratory scientists carry out tests on blood, urine and body tissues taken from patients at hospitals and doctor’s offices. They generally work in a team alongside pathologists, who are doctors that specialise in examining samples from patients.
To work as a medical laboratory scientist you need to have a recognised qualification, generally a specialist degree in Medical Laboratory Science, a minimum of two years’ experience, and be registered with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand. Alternatively, you could start as a medical laboratory technician with a diploma or degree in Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Genetics, Microbiology, Molecular Biology or Physiology. You would then need to complete a Graduate Diploma in Science, specialising in Medical Laboratory Science.
Most medical laboratory scientists work for private diagnostic services or for hospitals, and there is a high level of competition for positions.
Although they sound similar, biomedical scientists are researchers who study how the body works so that they can help solve health care problems such as cancer, diabetes or obesity. They generally work for universities or research organisations, or sometimes for pharmaceutical or healthcare companies in the private sector.
Key tertiary qualifications for medical laboratory scientists include:
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