200 Ferris Drive
Big Rapids, MI 49307
If you are thinking about a career in Medical Laboratory Science, you need to come to college prepared to succeed. You should take as much math as you can in high school, as well as biology and chemistry. One bonus: if you score 24 or higher on your ACT mathematics portion, you won't have to take math at Ferris after you get here! If you have successfully completed a high school chemistry course, you won't have to take introductory chemistry (CHEM 103) here.
In the Medical Laboratory Science program, you spend two years taking general education courses. Then your professional phase begins in the summer term between years two and three. You take professional courses that summer term, then in the fall, the spring and the following fall semester. The spring semester of year four will be your internship.
You will be required to purchase a specific type of laboratory coat and safety glasses for your professional courses at Ferris. They are sold at the campus bookstore, and each costs less than $10. You will need a new lab coat each term. The only other materials you will need to purchase (beyond books and course manuals) are a BLACK indelible marker (such as Sharpie) and a good calculator.
You should also know that before your internship, you will be required to complete a criminal background check at your own expense. If you have a criminal history, this may mean that you won't be able to complete an internship, and then you won't graduate.
You will also have to provide proof of hepatitis B vaccination (or sign a waiver), influenza vaccine, and proof of a negative test for TB within one year of your internship. A few internship sites require additional vaccinations. A student-intern may also need to be nicotine-free.
About 70% of graduates of Medical Laboratory Science programs work in hospital laboratories. Others, find jobs in private laboratories, blood donor centers, public health labs, physician office labs, and other sites. And the jobs are out there: The vacancy rate nationwide for medical laboratory positions was as high as 15% in 2014. A national study estimates that there will be about 9000 laboratory jobs nationwide for the next decade, while about 5000 students will graduate from laboratory science programs.
You WILL find a job, and you WILL be well paid!
Medical laboratory professionals perform and evaluate clinical laboratory tests that help physicians and other health care providers detect, diagnose and treat disease. Think of yourself as a detective, helping to solve medical mysteries!
As a skilled scientist, you perform tests behind the scenes. For example, you will perform tests to diagnose diabetes, detect leukemia (and which TYPE of leukemia), identify the microorganisms that are infecting a patient, type and crossmatch blood for patients that need transfusion, and help infertile couples by monitoring hormone levels. You will also measure levels of therapeutic drugs; it's important that the patient have a high enough blood level of the drug to get the benefit, but not such a high level that toxicity results. In addition, medical technologists perform an increasing variety of molecular diagnostic tests to diagnose disease. You may even identify toxic agents such as anthrax or nerve gas from a terrorist attack!
But performing tests isn't all medical laboratory professionals do. They also supervise and manage laboratories and their personnel, evaluate test results, and communicate with other health care providers. As a medical laboratory professional, you may work in all areas of the laboratory, or specialize in one or two, becoming a supervisor or an educator.