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Medical Laboratory Scientist Salary Guide

Lindsey Gram, RN
April 10, 2024
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Medical lab scientists are healthcare professionals who specialize in laboratory testing and results. Healthcare as we know it wouldn’t be possible without them! Lab work is the foundation for many medical diagnoses, treatments, and research.

Let’s talk about the different types of lab scientists, medical lab scientist salary, and how you can maximize your earning potential in this in-demand career path. How much is a medical lab scientist salary? Keep reading to find out! 

Don’t forget to check out our Lab Scientist Career Guide to learn even more about this growing and rewarding healthcare specialty. 

What is the Difference Between a Lab Technician vs Lab Technologist/Scientist?

There are two main types of medical lab scientists- lab technicians and lab technologists. 

  • Lab technicians have an associate’s degree or certificate in medical laboratory science. They perform lab tests, manage equipment, and report results to other healthcare professionals. 
  • Lab technologists have a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science. They do many of the same duties as technicians, but can perform more complex and involved lab tests. Technologists typically supervise the work of technologists. 

The lab scientist salary varies between technicians and technologists. Technologists are often paid higher salaries as they have more advanced education and skills. No matter which path you choose, maintaining certification, specializing, or taking your skills on the road as a traveling lab scientist can all maximize your earning potential.

How Much Does a Lab Scientist Make?

The average salary for medical lab scientists is $59,130 per year, or $28.43 per hour. In general, lab technologists can expect to have a higher lab scientist salary than lab technicians. 

  • The highest earning ten percent of lab scientists earned $84,670 annually or more. This adds up to approximately $40.71 per hour. 
  • The lowest earning ten percent earned around $35,220 per year. This amounts to approximately $16.93 per hour.  

What are the top-paying states for Lab Scientists?

The top-paying states for lab scientists, by average yearly salary, are:

  • New York- $76,110 per year
  • Connecticut- $73,960 per year
  • Oregon- $73,020 per year
  • New Hampshire- $72,870 per year
  • New Jersey- $70,100 per year

Pay varies by location for medical lab scientists and all medical professionals. In general, you can expect areas of the country with higher costs of living to pay more than areas of the country with lower costs of living. 

Salary Range Considerations

Laboratory scientist pay varies based on which lab environment you choose to work in. The highest-paid lab scientists work in outpatient care centers, followed in order by hospitals, colleges and universities, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and doctor’s offices.

Certifications will also set you apart from the competition and increase your earning potential as a laboratory scientist. Certification is a requirement for many lab scientist jobs. 

ASCP certification is the current gold standard for lab technicians and technologists. Either ASCP certification or AMT certification is required to travel with Trusted Health. 

Specializing in a specific area of laboratory science, gaining years of experience, and taking on additional duties and responsibilities at your place of employment are great ways to give your medical lab scientist salary a boost.  

Does seasonality impact pay for Lab Scientists?

Staff lab scientists are typically paid the same amount year-round. Staff nurses will often see increases in pay with experience, additional training, and certification. Travel lab scientists may see seasonal fluctuations in income. Travel health professional pay is dynamic and will increase when the need and demand rise. 

For example, certain areas of the country, such as Florida and Arizona, often see an increase in population during the winter months. As the healthcare needs of these locations increase during this time, it is not uncommon to see increases in travel lab scientist pay. 

What is the job outlook like for Lab Scientists?

Medical lab scientists have an outstanding job outlook. Lab tests are a necessary part of healthcare and are needed in all 50 states and in all types of healthcare facilities. Because of this, the employment of lab scientists is expected to grow by five percent over the next ten years, which is faster than average. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects about 24,000 additional job openings each year for lab technicians and technologists. As healthcare needs increase in the coming years, both staff and travel lab scientists will be essential to meet this demand. 

Travel Lab Scientist Salary

The average travel medical lab scientist salary is typically higher than the staff lab scientist salary. Travel lab scientists are crucial in ensuring healthcare needs are met despite regional staffing shortages. 

The average travel medical lab scientist salary is $77,682 per year, which comes in at almost $20,000 per year more than the average salary for non-traveling lab scientists.  

  • The highest-paid travel lab scientists earn $84,573 per year or more.
  • The lowest-paid travel lab scientists earn approximately $71,793 per year. 

In general, travel lab technologists will earn more than travel lab technicians. Remember that supply, demand, and local staffing shortages will all affect travel lab scientists' pay. 

Find a Lab Scientist Job with Trusted Health

Taking your skills on the road as a traveling lab scientist not only maximizes your earning potential- it is a great way to explore new places, have amazing experiences, and grow your career and skills at nationally renowned medical facilities. 

Beginning your journey as an allied health traveler is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime, and Trusted Health is here for you at every step of the way. At Trusted, we offer competitive pay packages, premium benefits, and unparalleled clinical support. 

Click here to start your travel medical lab scientist job search with Trusted Health today!

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