Medical Microbiology

Inspired by this thread: , I have a question.

Where I live, having a Bachelor of Science in a field such as Medical Microbiology is considered “overqualified” for any hospital based lab positions. Instead, people that work for hospitals are expected to have technical certificates/degrees and not a University degree. They will not hire you with a University degree for the hospital. Is it like this where you live?

Thanks. :slight_smile:

I had a BS in Microbiology - still do, in fact - and used it to get hired as a lab technologist at a company where I worked for six years. They preferred people with med tech degrees, though. But that’s still a four year degree. Most positions required a four year degree.

Hospital labs have different degree requirement that other lab positions. It’s not that medical micro is overqualified, many med tech degrees are BS/BA degrees, it just has the wrong focus. You need a particular and specific set of skills to work in a hospital lab.

Research/industry/university labs, however, are much more flexible in their hiring requirements. Most lab based science degrees would be ok, as long as you have teh range of skills the employer is looking for.

FWIW, this is what I do for a living- advising students deciding between various lab based jobs etc.

I was a hospital medical laboratory technologist - the requirements at Canadian hospitals at the time were an RT (Registered Technologist) accreditation, which was a two year course at a technical school then passing the accreditation exam. I think you could increase your schooling to a B.S. in laboratory sciences (if I recall correctly, some people I worked with had them or were working on them), but the RT was what most techs had.

What a lot of people do here is, once they’re finished with their BSc, upgrade by doing a bit of a tech degree so they can work in a hospital. That’s usually if they don’t enjoy research that much or want to make more money, etc. Here, making less as a research lab tech compared to a hospital tech is not uncommon.

So, IvoryTowerDenizen, I also have BS in Microbiology, but I’m finding the research world not what I was expecting. From everything that I’ve heard, unless you have a PhD, there aren’t any opportunities for advancement, unless you get more degrees, the money is “meh”, unless working for the government, and some people have also recommended not doing a PhD because of the difficulties in finding a job later on/rarity of becoming faculty. Do you have similar experiences?

For some reason I keep thinking the thread title is Medieval Microbiology. And all I can think is Medieval Microbiology Wasn’t that basically ‘It’s a demon, bleed it out’.

A simple way around this is to study and sit for the Microbiology section of ASCP’s BOC exam, and earn an M(ASCP). CLIA 88 regulations specify that clinical laboratory testing personnel have a two or four year degree (though the regulations I liked to do mention requirements for high school grads - I believe this is no longer valid in practice). So having a BS in Medical Microbiology would certainly qualify you for clinical work. The problem is you need certification.

Vlad/Igor, MS, BS MT(ASCP)

wolfman — That definitely made me LOL.

Vlad/Igor— Thanks! I didn’t even know you could do that. I live in Canada, so I’m not sure if it even applies, but that is great info. Based on google, the BS MT(ASCP) is your Bachelor’s degree with that exam? And then you have a Master’s on top of it? If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of job can you do with those qualifications? Would the master’s degree open up more doors?

Long story short: I graduated in 1986 with a BA in Biology. My first job with that degree was making Whoppers at Burger King. So, a few years later, I went back to school and got my BS MT, took the BOC exam and was certified [MT(ASCP)] to work in clinical labs. At one point, I was working in a teaching hospital, and developed a drug monitoring assay (free Phenytoin, as opposed to total Phenytoin) for that lab. That got the attention of a clinical chemistry research lab associated with the clinical lab, and they hired me. I learned to do basic research as well as instrument validation and patient studies. Being full time on the academic side entitled me to 6 free credit hours a semester, so I worked on my MS in Biochemistry. Now I’m looking for a new position to learn new skills.

I’m still research grade as well as clinical grade, and can work in either setting now. Having an MS on the clinical side is not that common and doesn’t get you any further, really, than a BS MT because there’s no established role for that educational level. I would love to see an MS MT degree in the future that would dig deeper into molecular pathology and the chemistry of bioanalysis and be an effective laboratory medicine representative to those who order lab tests.

CSMLS would be the place to start for you. Antigen can help you, too, as she was a CLS in Montreal before moving south of the border.