The areas of science and medicine encompass a wide range of subjects, ideas, and processes. As such, you need different labs to perform different jobs. While all medical labs share certain similarities like running tests, keeping lab materials and samples secure, and learning more about diseases and how we can prevent them, every lab functions a little differently. Some medical labs work directly with hospitals and doctors to help patients on a daily basis. Other laboratories are home to intensive research that can take years to complete. If you’re interested in a medical career, you have plenty of options in terms of where you can go and what you can do with your degree. You can learn more about the different types of medical laboratories you might end up in with this overview.
Professionals who spend their days in a diagnostic laboratory run tests on samples to learn more information about diseases, diagnoses, and treatment plans. These professionals might study samples of blood, urine, tissues, cells, or other forms of organic matter to gain a better understanding of the symptoms affecting a subject. These tests help medical researchers learn more about a disease’s cause, symptoms, and viable treatments. Tests run in a diagnostic lab are often highly specialized, especially if you need follow-up tests to further verify results.
Much like diagnostic laboratories, clinical labs run tests on samples to gain more information about disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The biggest difference is that clinical laboratories work closely with hospitals and focus primarily on patient health. Professionals who work in clinical laboratories help physicians provide an accurate diagnosis and develop customized treatment plans to give patients the best care possible. As such, clinical laboratories often exist within or beside the hospitals they work for.
Some laboratories are home to scientific and medical researchers who study diseases, medicines, and other aspects of human health. Research facilities encompass many different types of medical labs. Some are private laboratories that focus on developing pharmaceuticals. You might also work at a government lab, which focuses on national projects and advancements. Alternatively, there are university labs that teach aspiring medical professionals. University labs also house doctorate projects and other student research that can turn into award-winning manuscripts and ideas.