Master of Health ScienceMedical Laboratory Science

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Solve healthcare problems as a medical lab scientist.

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Why choose Bellarmine for a Master’s in Medical Lab Science?

If you’re considering a career in medical laboratory science, you’ve made a great choice. It’s a growing, rewarding profession, both financially and personally. Our entry level Master’s in MLS will prepare you for practice and advancement in the medical lab setting. The MLS program is an 80-credit hour program that can be completed as a full-time student in 2 years with summer classes. Our program starts each year in August and includes 15 weeks (600 hours) of a clinical internship at one or more of our affiliated Louisville-area hospitals. Thanks in part to this practical clinical experience our graduate employment rate is 100%. Our dedicated faculty provide you with the individual attention needed to succeed in your course work, and in your new career!

“Bellarmine is a relatively small university with really high-quality education. I always had close contact with my professors. The small class sizes mean they are able to take time with each student to be sure we are able to digest what we have learned.”
 —Fei Wang ’18 MLS
Bellarmine MHA student

5 Healthcare Leadership Jobs to Advance Your Career

Graduate


As healthcare continues to evolve, the industry is looking to strong leaders across all specialties to lead the charge in helping the field keep up with other industries in terms of advancements, accessibility, and customer satisfaction.

Healthcare leaders must stay up-to-date with innovations, hold convictions, and be bold enough to make changes they truly believe in. If that sounds like you, it’s no wonder you’re looking into healthcare leadership jobs.

With so many ways to lead in healthcare, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly where you’d like to make your impact, much less where to start. There are plenty of paths to consider. Let’s explore some healthcare leadership jobs in both the practitioner and administration realms.

 

Healthcare practitioner jobs

You’re the kind of person who prefers working with tangible tasks. You want to use your hands for more than just typing on a laptop. Though becoming a doctor or nurse may not be for you, there are other practitioner options out there. Consider the following two:

 

Medical lab scientist

Though they don’t diagnose or provide treatment directly, medical laboratory scientists play a key role in advancing medicine for the benefit of the patients. Most diagnostic and therapeutic decisions that doctors make are based on test results derived from an experiment created by a medical lab scientist.

Most medical laboratory scientists work in hospital laboratories where they analyze samples and perform studies on various medical conditions and treatment methods. They may also find jobs in biomedical research, forensics, toxicology, pharmaceuticals, or at colleges and universities. With advanced degrees, medical lab scientists also have opportunities to enter leadership and supervisory roles within the lab.

Medical lab scientists must be analytical in order to plan and lead experiments. They must also be able to clearly communicate their conclusions and reasoning. Typically, medical research relies on grants for funding. Strong writing skills are also critical as medical lab scientists are often responsible for writing or contributing to the grant proposals their work depends on.

Similar to other medical scientist careers, these lab positions typically require an advanced degree. These programs help train students to accurately perform lab tests, and interpret and utilize scientific knowledge in clinical practice. At Bellarmine University, students with an undergraduate degree in another field can complete a master’s in Medical Lab Science in as little as two years.

If you love science and math and have strong communication skills, working as a medical lab scientist might be an ideal fit for you. You’ll be able to put your curiosity and skills to work while striving to better patient care without even having a patient of your own.

 

Respiratory therapist

If you’re more interested in working directly with patients, you’ll be happy to know you can put your healthcare leadership skills to use as a respiratory therapist. Respiratory therapists (RTs) specialize in evaluating and treating individuals with heart and lung disorders.

They are employed in a number of settings, both within hospitals (ICU, NICU, and emergency room) to doctor’s offices, sleep laboratories, the OR, and skilled nursing facilities. Many of these work environments correspond with specialized credentials RTs can obtain.

These additional credentials often make them the go-to people for respiratory problems in their respective department. Here are a few of the areas RTs can choose to specialize in:

If any of these sound interesting to you, it’s worth considering what it takes to become a respiratory therapist. RTs use science and math skills daily in order to assess the patient’s health and calculate their medical dosages. When working with patients one-on-one, they utilize problem-solving skills to find innovative solutions, patience when monitoring progress, and an eye for detail when checking-in on patients and reviewing their medical history.

It’s common for employers to require at least a bachelor’s degree for entry-level RT positions. Some prefer candidates to have a master’s degree, which can provide a deeper knowledge, broader skillset, and more potential to pursue advanced positions. Bellarmine University offers a Master of Health Science in Respiratory Therapy for students with an undergraduate degree in another field, which can be completed in two years.

This graduate-level training could qualify you to supervise other RTs or manage departments. Experienced RTs could also assume educational roles, such as that of a program director, director of clinical of education, or an instructor in a college degree program.

Most states also require board certification, which can take the form of two different credentials: Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) for entry and Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for advanced practitioners.

If you’re interested in using your healthcare leadership skills directly with patients, consider a career as a respiratory therapist.

 

Healthcare administration jobs

If you’re motivated to make an impact in a more indirect way, there are other types of healthcare leadership jobs to consider. Healthcare facilities need business-savvy professionals to help manage finances and oversee operations. The field needs strong leaders to help drive policy change and improve patient outcomes.

Learn more about three promising healthcare leadership jobs in the administrative realm:

 

Health and medical services managers

Health or medical services managers use their business acumen and healthcare knowledge to ensure that hospitals and other healthcare facilities function as smoothly as possible. From planning and implementing initiatives to improve efficiency to recruiting and training staff members, they work to ensure patients are receiving quality care while business goals are being met.

A health or medical services manager’s typical duties reflect the complexity of their role:

  • Ensuring their facility is compliant with laws and regulations
  • Creating work schedules
  • Preparing and monitoring budgets and spending
  • Representing the facility at investor meetings and governing boards

Keeping and organizing records of the facility’s services

If this type of healthcare leadership role appeals to you, you’ll likely need to start by earning a bachelor’s degree, which could be in business administration, healthcare management, or a related field.

As you start gaining experience, you may consider furthering your education as well.

Earning a Master of Health Science degree, or a similar credential, can help improve your job prospects and qualify you for more advanced healthcare leadership positions. Look for programs with courses on medical terminology, accounting, law and ethics, and health information systems.

 

Health educator

Health educators play an active role in helping others find resources and solutions that work for them. This can include patients within a healthcare facility, community members in a public health context, a specific patient population when working for a nonprofit, or with employees at a private business. Keep in mind, however, that health professionals who coordinate initiatives in business settings, are generally called wellness coordinators, while health educators tend to focus on specific diseases.

Though specific duties may vary in these different contexts, typical health educator duties include:

  • Assessing the health needs of the population they serve
  • Developing programs, materials, and events on various health topics
  • Helping individuals manage their existing health conditions
  • Supervising staff who implement health education programs
  • Developing training for community health workers and other health professionals

Being prepared to address such important topics takes a significant amount of education. It’s not uncommon for health educators to hold a master’s degree in health science, public health, or a related field. This type of training can help equip health educators to assume advanced roles in health promotion and advocacy.

If you’re passionate about wellness and empowering others to take charge of their health, you may find becoming a health educator is your calling.

 

Hospital administrator

Similar to health and medical service managers, hospital administrators oversee the business aspects of a hospital, but generally do so on a larger scale that often comes with additional responsibilities. These responsibilities often include:

  • Acting as liaisons between governing boards, medical staff, and department heads, and integrate the activities of all departments
  • Following policies set by the board of trustees
  • Overseeing procedures and quality assurance for medical procedures
  • Aiding in public relations efforts like fundraising or community health planning
  • In teaching hospitals, aiding in the education of student doctors
  • In research hospitals, developing programs for scientific research

Hospital administrator jobs are difficult and demanding. Hospital administrators often have to work late or get up early since hospitals are open 24/7, and they may need to make decisions and resolve disputes at any hour.

Becoming a hospital administrator often requires other healthcare admin experience as a perquisite. A master's degree in healthcare leadership can prepare graduates for this dynamic position.

If you have a strong business background, a desire to activate change, and the ability to connect with diverse groups of people, a career as a hospital administrator might be for you.

 

Make an impact in healthcare leadership

You’re itching to put your skills to use in the healthcare field. If one of these healthcare leadership jobs piqued your interest, start mapping out your next steps. It’s that same determination, initiative and attention to detail that will serve you well in these positions.

One option worth looking into is a Master of Health Sciences (MHS) program. Bellarmine University offers four MHS options to help equip future healthcare leaders, including respiratory therapy, medical laboratory science and two specializations within the online MHS program—healthcare leadership, and health promotion and advocacy. Follow the links to learn more about each educational option.

Tags: Health and Aging Services Leadership , Health Sciences , Healthcare , Healthcare Leadership , Medical Lab Services , Respiratory Therapy

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Medical Lab Scientist do?

Medical Laboratory Scientists (formerly Clinical Laboratory Scientists or Medical Technologists) provide the science that supports healthcare. Most diagnostic and therapeutic medical decisions are based on laboratory test results generated by a Medical Laboratory Scientist. They apply skill and instrumentation to analyze blood cells and body fluids, to identify disease-causing bacteria and viruses, and to perform testing prior to transfusions and transplantation.

Where are Medical Lab Scientists employed?

MLS graduates are employed primarily in hospital laboratories, but also enjoy career opportunities in biomedical research, forensics, biotechnology, toxicology, health care administration, pharmaceuticals, and other industries. An MLS degree also provides excellent preparation for medical, dental, or graduate school.

Where are clinical lab career opportunities?

Our clinical affiliates include: Baptist Hospital, Louisville KY; Clark Memorial Hospital, Jeffersonville, IN; Floyd Memorial Hospital, New Albany, IN; Jewish Hospital, Louisville KY; Norton Hospital, Louisville KY; University of Louisville Hospital, Louisville KY; and Veterans Administration Hospital, Louisville KY.

What kind of classes will I take?

Students complete hands-on technical courses in Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Medical Microbiology, Clinical Immunology, and Immunohematology (Blood Banking), as well as additional online courses related to professional practice and leadership.

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in MLS?

No. Our program is entry level. Qualified applicants who have completed the prerequisite course work are admitted regardless of their undergraduate field of study. This is a great program for those who have undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences and want a practical hands-on career choice.

What are the prerequisite course requirements for a master’s in Medical Lab Science?

We require proof of completion of: 12 hours of Biology, including Cell Biology (at least 4 credit hours at 200-level or higher); Immunology and Molecular Biology are strongly recommended; 12 credit hours of Chemistry, including Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry; 3 credit hours of Mathematics (Pre-calculus or higher, or Statistics).

Can I work while I get my MLS degree?

This is a rigorous program, with a great deal of time devoted to in-class lecture, labs, and clinical experiences. We strongly encourage students to devote their time to the program for the best career outcomes.

How much time would I need to spend outside of class to be prepared for class?

On average, we recommend three hours outside of class to prepare for each hour of instruction. However, this will vary with the content of the courses(s) you are taking each semester.

Would I be eligible for any financial assistance?

Yes. You will want to file the FAFSA and apply for federal loans at fafsa.ed.gov. Graduate students are eligible for loans in the amount of $20,500 per academic year (fall, spring and summer) while enrolled.

Admission Requirements

The Master of Health Science in Medical Lab Science is an entry level Master’s for students with an undergraduate degree in another field. Candidates must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, grade of C or better in prerequisite science and math courses (applicants who do not have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate GPA may be reviewed for admission if the math/science GPA is 3.0 or higher). We require two references, a personal statement describing why you would like to be a Medical Laboratory Scientist, and an interview in addition to the application. For the full admission process, visit the admission requirements page.

Apply for M.H.S. in Medical Laboratory Science

Tuition and Fees

Visit our Graduate Tuition Rates page for the most up-to-date tuition and fees information.

Funding Assistance

As a degree seeking student in the MLS program, students should be eligible for federally supported forms of student aid. Financial aid questions should be directed to the Financial Aid Office at Bellarmine University (finaid@bellarmine.edu or 502.272.7300).

Learning Outcomes

After completing the Bellarmine MLS program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Establish a personal scientific knowledge base that prepares them to read, to interpret, and to utilize scientific knowledge in clinical practice. This includes the ability to:
  1. Correlate test results with patient information
  2. Evaluate and interpret scientific literature, with an understanding of experimental design and statistical analysis
  3. Evaluate and validate new procedures and instrumentation
  4. Pursue professional development opportunities
  1. Demonstrate critical thinking ability and problem-solving skills. This includes the ability to:
  1. Employ discipline-specific knowledge in the context of clinical decision making
  2. Collect and analyze pertinent information
  3. Interpret data
  4. Apply systems thinking to medical laboratory science practice
  5. Draw conclusions and make judgments or recommendations
  6. Incorporate current best evidence to evaluate/develop testing guidelines
  1. Perform a full range of laboratory tests with accuracy and precision. This includes the ability to:
  1. Competently and safely collect and/or process appropriate biological specimens for a particular test procedure
  2. Operate laboratory instrumentation and perform preventative/corrective maintenance
  3. Evaluate the acceptability of test data; identify any problems with specimens, procedures, or instrumentation; and take appropriate corrective action
  4. Utilize quality assurance to monitor analyses, equipment, and technical competency
  5. Report results clearly and accurately
  6. Effectively utilize computers, laboratory software, and information systems to record and report results
  7. Apply and interpret laboratory safety regulations and compliance measures
  8. Apply principles of quality management systems
  1. Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior. This includes the ability to:
  1. Maintain appropriate confidentiality of patient results
  2. Consider ethical responses to difficult situations
  3. Practice effectively in interprofessional teams 
  4. Communicate effectively and professionally with other healthcare professionals, the public, and patients
  5. Promote patient-centered healthcare through diagnostic and therapeutic support
  6. Apply principles of leadership and management to maximize productivity and efficiency of the laboratory
  7. Design, implement and evaluate programs of instruction for students and employees
  8. Provide professional leadership through local, regional, and national groups

Technical Standards

Since a degree in Medical Laboratory Science indicates mastery, not only of knowledge, but also of technical skills, and since these skills are to be applied in clinical situations, all MLS students are expected to meet certain criteria for admission to and progress in the professional program. These criteria include minimum standards of observation, motor function, behavioral-social capabilities, and communication. Learn more about the Technical Standards.

Accreditation

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science

  • 5600 N. River Rd, Suite 720, Rosemont IL 60018-5119
  • Phone: 773.714.8880
  • Fax: 773.714.8886
  • Email: info@naacls.org

Contact Information