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Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

  • 1.  Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 09-06-2018 09:13

    Because the BLS occupational information for medical laboratory professions, including data on employment and wages, is sometimes referenced for median wages and job growth, it is worth mentioning that this year the BLS has combined the occupations of Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists with that of Technicians. In the past they provided separate data. The May 2017 data combines technologist and technician median wages. Please be aware that if you are referencing this information it is no longer separate for the two occupations. The median wage data is now $51,770 or $24.89/hour. The occupation category (29-2010) is now titled "Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians".

    Initially career exploration sites like CareerOneStop and O*NET OnLine did not indicate that the wages were combined which made it appear that the median wages for technologists/scientists had fallen by approximately $10,000, but wages for technicians had risen by more than $10,000. Both sites now have added comments indicating that this wage data has been combined for the two occupations. However, there may be other career information sites that have not followed suit.



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    Lisa Cremeans
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine
    Chapel Hill NC

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  • 2.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 09-06-2018 10:19
    Thanks for sharing that information. That seems to be a very unfortunate decision for our field, especially given the workforce shortage we are facing. MLTs are going to be misled about their earning potential and MLSs are going to be dissuaded by what appear to be lower wages. I wish the ASCP wage survey was more comprehensive and had a large enough sample size to give results for all states. Perhaps this is something that ASCLS could join forces with ASCP to make a stronger push for?

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    Julie Bayer-Vile, M.S., MLS(ASCP) SC,MB
    P.A.C.E. Committee
    Abstract Proposal Review Committee
    Education & Research Fund Trustee
    jbayervile@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 09-17-2018 15:48
    An update for everyone. There are a number of laboratory entities taking aim at trying to fix what the BLS has done. If we are able to get the decision reversed, I will post to let everyone know.

    Jim

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    Jim Flanigan, CAE
    Executive Vice President
    American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS)
    1861 International Drive, #200 McLean, VA 22102
    o: 571-748-3746 | m: 708-359-5721
    jimf@ascls.org | @jimflanigancae
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  • 4.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 09-18-2018 11:09
    Hello Friends,

    I would also like to highlight a related issue. CIP codes which are used for salary of faculty in many institutions use the following convention:

    51.10) Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science/Research and Allied Professions.
    This is concerning since most universities use only the first 4 digits of the CIP code so they become 51.10. Why this is concerning is because all these are considered equivalent using 51.10. Many of these do not require a degree of any kind.

    Sincerely,

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    Perry Scanlan
    Professor and Program Director
    Editor in Chief CLS Journal
    Austin Peay State University
    Clarksville TN
    (931) 538-8082
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  • 5.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 13 days ago
    As a follow up to the discussion last year about the BLS information, I just wanted to mention that I recently looked at the BLS occupational information again this week. In the Occupational Outlook Handbook, where occupations are compared, the title of the occupation(s) has been updated to "Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians". There is no longer reference to the occupations of Medical Laboratory Technologists or Medical Laboratory Technicians. There is nothing mentioned about Medical Laboratory Scientists or Medical Technologists, except for on the "What They Do" tab which includes a phrase: "commonly known as Medical Laboratory Scientists". Employment data and salaries are still combined.

    I'm curious about how others feel about this and whether you think this may be even more problematic for recruitment and for training programs that use the other terminology? Are there many academic programs, or even employers for that matter, that use this same "CLT" terminology? Is this something that is now favored because of licensing in some states? I noticed there is more use of CLT terminology with granting licensed status.

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    Lisa Cremeans
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine
    Chapel Hill NC
    9198434354
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  • 6.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 13 days ago
    Dear Lisa;
    An old story here . . . labels DO matter. Recruiting , image, standing in the world. I do not know what we have done (or not done) to get to this spot, but the absence of "Clinical Laboratory Scientist" or "Medical Laboratory Scientist" is a problem worthy of the expense of considerable work capitol to achieve. It matters in the medical world and it matters in the scientific world. I know without a doubt that the work I do (and have done for 49 years) is SCIENCE and those around us should be aware of it. While it is true that there are "technician" elements to what we do, that is also true for all medical and health-related practices. We all know of a "physician" here or there who just "pushes the buttons" of their daily patient interactions and that likely is also true of practitioners in our field, but just about everyone I know is thinking about scientific stuff every part of every day. We are not just "fixing the autoclave". We should not ignore this, we should address it aggressively with the full weight of ASCLS.

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    James Griffith
    Managing Partner
    Forensic DNA Associates
    Dartmouth MA
    (508) 997-7616
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  • 7.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 12 days ago
    I agree that we need to be more proactive here. I now teach in a liberal arts college and try to encourage my students to consider Medical Laboratory Science as a career option--but get almost no support from the Career Center. I suspect that it is due to things like this, that make the field appear to be a less-than-desirable option.
    Karen O'Connor MSHS, MT(ASCP)SBB

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    Karen OConnor
    Instructor, Biology Department
    Washington College
    Chestertown MD
    (410) 778-0352
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  • 8.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 13 days ago
    Lisa,

    This is still a big deal and some of the websites are now listing the profession with a salary range of 25k - 85k. Because of this search engines now exclude us anytime someone searches 4 year degree with 40k minimum. Additionally faculty salaries are still included with educators of phlebotomists, other health fields, and in some cases those with only high school diplomas and limited work experience. Shame on the BLS, Shame on The National Center for Educational Statistics who create CIP and reinforces the non-equivalence, and shame on CUPA who continues to equate these groups together because they do not get enough reported numbers.

    Here is the ridiculous example (they have been notified and have not responded):

    Health Career Explorer | explorehealthcareers.org
    ExploreHealthCareers.org remove preview
    Health Career Explorer | explorehealthcareers.org
    Search by health career name or use the filters below to set your minimum salary requirements and maximum education commitment.
    View this on ExploreHealthCareers.org >
    https://explorehealthcareers.org/career-explorer/

    try it yourself...
    If you search 4 years and 40k it doesn't list our profession.
    If you search 4 years and 20K it pops up as an option.

    My wife is a dialysis nurse and Renal Dialysis technicians only require a HS diploma and training. These are not equivalent positions. Neither is an ophthalmic technician/technologist.

    ------------------------------
    Perry Scanlan
    Professor and Program Director
    Editor in Chief CLS Journal
    Austin Peay State University
    Clarksville TN
    (931) 538-8082
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 12 days ago
    Thanks both for offering some discussion on this. Yes, I agree that much of what is out there and accessible to individuals exploring careers is not favorable to the medical/clinical laboratory profession and recruitment. Yes, problems are likely related to the multitude of titles we use to describe ourselves. For those of us currently with teenagers, we know they are pushed to make decisions about careers beginning in middle school. Teacher's often refer them to BLS information in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Many other sources of career information online also use it as a resource to establish their content and search tools.

    If anyone has been on the OOH site recently, you have noticed that you can browse occupations by groups. There are user friendly specialty groups like "Highest Paying" and "Fastest Growing". I now realize why I met so many students at the last state HOSA career expo I attended that wanted to be psychiatrists, anesthesiologists, and OB/Gyns (listed as the top 3 highest paying occupations for healthcare). Students were very specific about the type of doctor they wanted to be which I thought was interesting.

    Salary data and accurate career information does matter to students in their searches, especially when they (and many teachers) are unfamiliar with other healthcare careers. Accurate information should (does) matter for searching a potential career. If the BLS is going to combine the information like this, then entry level education for "Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians" should not be listed as "Bachelor's degree" with a median pay that is based on both occupations combined. It is misleading. It's also not helpful when a student sees Clinical Laboratory Technologist as an occupation, but then goes to the NAACLS site linked from the "How to Become One" page and they see programs referred to as "MLS" and "MLT". Does that cause confusion?  The student puts "Clinical Laboratory Technologist" in the search box on the NAACLS site and gets "No results were found". Once again we circle back to the problem of multiple titles. I know that discussion has been ongoing for decades.


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    Lisa Cremeans

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  • 10.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 12 days ago
    Edited by Chad McMillan 12 days ago
    Lisa,

    Properly labeling our profession has been an ongoing challenge for decades and will most likely take decades to change our image. I think that the ASCLS gives us one of the best opportunities to create a consistent definition of job titles in the clinical lab nationwide. One of the first step is to separate job title from credential designations. We should no longer use designations such as MT, MLT, MLS, etc as job titles. As a traveler, I have seen several different job titles for testing personnel (medical technologist, medical laboratory scientist, clinical laboratory scientist, etc). Not only is this confusing to other healthcare professionals, it's a public relationship disaster when attempting to promote the profession to the general public. A more accurate/consistent job titles would be something like:
    Clinical Laboratory Technician
    Clinical Laboratory Technologist
    Clinical Laboratory Supervisor
    Clinical Laboratory Manager

    The next step would be to to have a consistent scope of practice for each position. For example, moderately complex testing would be the highest level of testing that a Clinical Laboratory Technician could independently perform. Anyone independently performing highly complex testing would have the designation of Clinical Laboratory Technologist. A split between a Clinical Laboratory Supervisor and Clinical Laboratory Manager would be nice. A Clinical Laboratory Supervisor would be responsible for the technical/scientific operation of the lab, while the Clinical Laboratory Manager would oversee the budget, regulatory compliance, and personnel issues.

    Another issue that we have to address is that when establishing scope of practice for the nation, we need to base it off of CLIA requirements and not on state requirements. This will make it easier to define the difference between the technician and technologist position for wage/career information purposes.



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    Chad C. McMillan, M.Sc. MT/MDxT(AAB)
    Aureus Medical Group
    Memphis TN
    901 500-7886
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  • 11.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 12 days ago
    Well stated Chad.  I think part of the problem historically is the ASCP role in our profession. It lead to the dichotomies we have seen, and kept us for that national identity you outline. I support a move to try to implement this type of consistent labeling. The challenge is getting all of the stakeholders( love that phrase) to the table to move it forward. It would be a great initiative for ASCLS.

    ------------------------------
    Karen OConnor
    Instructor, Biology Department
    Washington College
    Chestertown MD
    (410) 778-0352
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  • 12.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 12 days ago
    Yes, more great points. This is a complicated problem, but one I think we need to focus attention on especially with recent and soon to come graduates of the doctorate of clinical laboratory science programs. Where will they fit in this job title scheme? That is yet another occupational level that will not fit into any current BLS categories. The only other somewhat similar category for that educational level, that I see, will be "Medical Scientist", which is a PhD/MD level research occupation that is not categorized into any of the healthcare occupations according to information on the BLS website.

    I know there are many opinions and preferences on titles. There is no simple fix. As James mentioned, we could argue that we are scientists rather than technologists. The terms technologist and technician are confusing and they are applied to many occupational titles, including non-medical/health occupations. Because I am someone with clinical microbiology training and experience, I have thought of myself as a scientist rather than technologist. A microbiologist, which is usually considered a type of scientist. Yes, working with technology is a big part of our jobs, but we practice a science. Even the BLS refers to it as "a career in the medical laboratory sciences".

    Over time the terms tech and technology have become more strongly associated with computers and engineering. If we consider the STEM terminology where would we see a fit for our profession? This is a whole other discussion, since healthcare professions many times are not officially considered as STEM careers. More food for thought.

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    Lisa Cremeans

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  • 13.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 11 days ago
    Lisa,

    Sometimes I think trying to organizing our profession is akin to trying to herd cats! I agree that the doctorate program needs to have a well defined scope of practice from the get go. My understanding is that these professionals will essentially consult with doctors, pharmacist, and nursing staff on how to get the most benefits from laboratory offerings. Hopefully, they will also establish a friendly face for the lab. I feel like this position should be a category of its own under the BLS.

    We also do bridge that fine line between a scientist and "tech" as our jobs entail both aspects.  Whatever job titles are established though should distinguish between those who are competent to perform moderately complex testing and those how are competent to perform highly complex testing consistent with CLIA regulations.

    Once these distinctions are firmly established the next step would be to petition BLS to use these criteria and then to convince the clinical laboratory community to update their job titles. Of course, petitioning the BLS is outside my range of expertise, but I would guess some lobbying would need to be done.

    We don't really fit in with the STEM category, but we don't really fit in with other healthcare providers (doctors, nurses, phlebs, respiratory therapist, etc) because our jobs don't routinely involve patient interaction. This has led to a lot of patient confusion as to where their lab results even come from. One of the most irritating aspect of TV is that every time they have a lab scene, the person running the test is an MD (and not even a pathologist).

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    Chad C. McMillan, M.Sc. MT/MDxT(AAB)
    Aureus Medical Group
    Memphis TN
    901 500-7886
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  • 14.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 11 days ago

    Yes, what James Griffith said. Names do matter!. I think CLS/CLT was a snapshot in time. NCA used those titles to be more descriptive of our profession and more accurate than MT/MLT. Some states like California adopted that title (CLS) for their lab practitioner license. With the ASCP merger we of course went to MLS/MLT titles. Those should be THE titles/credentials and we should push for their use in discussions, writing, academia, program titles. It's OK to do the "also known as" or "previously called" but it should be clear the correct, current titles are MLS and MLT. I still write in to correct articles in the press that refer to lab technicians and even medical technologists. They often respond favorably and thank me for the education. I just think we ought to sick to the correct/preferred title and point out as appropriate that the other titles may be seen from time to time but are outdated.

    "



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    Glen McDaniel
    --
    Atlanta GA
    (404) 629-1164
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  • 15.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 11 days ago
    The MLS title is only correct for those who choose to use ASCP as their credentialing agency. Those who choose to use AMT or AAB as their credentialing agency still use the designation MT. Therefore, neither MLS or MT work well as a job title as it refers to a designation granted by a private organization and not an occupation. After all, MTs and MLSs perform the exact same job in the clinical lab.  To help alleviate this confusion with the BLS, we need a universal job title that distinguishes between MT/MLS/CLS jobs and a MLT job.

    The ASCLS is the perfect place to create a consistent job title because it is open to all laboratory professionals in the USA.

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    Chad C. McMillan, M.Sc. MT/MDxT(AAB)
    Aureus Medical Group
    Memphis TN
    901 500-7886
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  • 16.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 11 days ago
    There are "Med Techs" in healthcare, they are Nurses that give out "meds" in many hospitals. We should NOT want to go to that room of confusion, but the BLS is not helping us.

    Jim Griffith

    Sent from my iPhone





  • 17.  RE: Bureau of Labor Statistics Information

    Posted 11 days ago
    Karen,

    An excellent point about the undue control certifying boards can have on a job title. Unfortunately, I think it would be very difficult to get all of the stakeholders to come to the table on this issue because they have conflicting interest. What is good for the certifying board is not necessarily what is good for the patient, clinical lab, or testing personnel.

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    Chad C. McMillan, M.Sc. MT/MDxT(AAB)
    Aureus Medical Group
    Memphis TN
    901 500-7886
    ------------------------------