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A closer look at COSAM’s Clinical Laboratory Science program

Published: 04/19/2018

By: Candis Birchfield

Video by: Phillip Coxwell

Kat Milly West sitting in front of a microscope

Kat Milly West of Auburn’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry directs Auburn’s Clinical Laboratory Sciences program.

April 23-27 is National Medical Laboratory Professionals week, and as such, COSAM is offering a summary of our Clinical Laboratory Sciences program, which is second to none.

Offering bachelor of science degrees in laboratory science and medical laboratory science, Auburn’s program is exceptional in that, unlike other programs, students gain exposure to numerous courses of study including clinical microbiology, hematology, clinical biochemistry, blood bank and clinical parasitology. 

“Auburn students are very well prepared for their clinical training and always do well on their certification exam because we offer exposure to these courses prior to their clinical training,” said Kat Milly West, director of the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Additionally, most programs offer approximately three chemistry courses, and at Auburn, students are better prepared for their careers as they receive eight chemistry courses.

For added value, students who receive a degree in laboratory science have an option to complete a 12-month clinical training program and receive a second degree in medical laboratory science.

“Job opportunities for laboratory and medical laboratory scientists are endless,” said West. “As a bonus, students have the opportunity to shape their future by finding their niche in the field and make a quiet difference in peoples’ lives.”

A large auditorium with students listening to a guest speaker

Guest speakers help Auburn’s Clinical Laboratory Sciences majors to imagine the many career paths available to them.

Career options for someone with a degree in medical laboratory science are numerous, but typically, one would work in a clinical setting, including supervising a department, acting as lab manager or instrumentation specialist, or serving as a sales representative for laboratory instrumentation, among others.

Many students decide to continue their education and receive a doctorate or attend professional school, while others work in healthcare administration or even forensic medicine.

“In medical technology there is always a puzzle to be solved, so it is a natural fit to pursue a career in forensic sciences,” said West. “Medical technology is ideal for someone who is meticulous, detail oriented and very well organized. There is also a place in medical technology for people with unique talents. For example, one alumna is now a medical illustrator, which allows her to combine her love of art with her love of science.”

A student looking through a microscope

Students in Clinical Laboratory Sciences at Auburn University enjoy unique exposure to a variety of fields, such as hematology, blood bank and parasitology.

The national honor society for Clinical Laboratory Sciences majors is Lambda Tau. The organization allows students to imagine the many career paths available to them through guest speakers, field trips to clinical settings like the Centers for Disease Control, and a study abroad program in Africa.

For more information on the Clinical Laboratory Sciences program, contact West via email at millyka@auburn.edu and set up an appointment.

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