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Filling the Medical Lab Pipeline

Job Prospects are Growing

12/7/2018 9:00:00 AM

People have a good idea what doctors, nurses and x-ray technicians do, but what about medical and diagnostic laboratory workers? They work behind the scenes and rarely interact with the public; therefore, their roles in the profession aren’t nearly as well-understood.

Lack of awareness about medical lab professionals and what they do is one reason the industry has a shortage of workers, particularly in Minnesota’s rural areas. DEED projections indicate the industry will need to fill 850 new jobs in Minnesota in the next decade, along with replacing another 250 jobs annually because of retirements or people changing jobs.

High educational requirements and somewhat lower pay than similar health care occupations are among other factors affecting the ability of medical labs to find new talent.

While industry professionals say the problem isn’t serious yet, they will need to develop a recruitment strategy to compete in an era when many industries – from manufacturing to education – are struggling to fill positions. Ultimately, increasing awareness and changing perceptions about medical and diagnostic laboratory workers might be the field’s best bet for meeting growing labor demands in coming years.

It remains to be seen how the challenge of raising awareness of these career opportunities will be overcome, given the behind-the-scenes nature of medical laboratory work. Awareness – via tactics such as Scrubs Camps and outreach with schools – will be key.

Read The Labor Force in the Laboratory in Minnesota Economic Trends.

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