Photo of scientist working in a laboratoryClinical Laboratory Scientists are skilled professionals who perform and analyze laboratory tests used to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders. In addition to performing the many types of important laboratory tests, clinical laboratory scientists interpret data, analyze results, develop new procedures, manage information, and communicate with other members of the health care team. Specific knowledge and skills include culturing and identifying bacteria, using a microscope to differentiate cells, microorganisms, and crystals; and operating complex electronic instruments to analyze blood for the presence of normal, abnormal and malignant chemical elements, cells, and components. Clinical Laboratory Scientists determine drug levels to assess treatment and to detect drugs of abuse; prepare and select blood for transfusion; and evaluate the chemical, cellular, and immune composition of blood, and other body fluids. Other skills include operating sophisticated computerized instruments, data management, inventory control, and quality assurance.

Clinical Laboratory Scientists share certain characteristics: they share a strong desire to help others, they are problem solvers who enjoy challenge and responsibility, they have a high degree of commitment to their profession and a strong interest and ability in science. For those who choose a career in clinical laboratory science, the exploration never ends.

A Histotechnologist is a professional who is qualified through academic and applied science education and training to provide service, research, and management in histotechnology and areas related to anatomic pathology. Histotechnologists are integral to the success of the anatomic pathology department by performing routine and complex procedures to preserve and process tissue specimens. Specific tissue structures are visualized by utilizing specialized stains and are examined by a pathologist to diagnose diseases and disorders.

Histotechnologists also perform specialized techniques such as immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, electron microscopy and may also be responsible for tissue and autopsy dissection. Additional responsibilities include validating staining results and procedures to ensure accuracy and quality, troubleshooting instrument malfunctions, developing, evaluating and implementing new protocols, procedures and technology. Histotechnologists possess the knowledge and skills to work independently, direct and supervise laboratory operations and participate in the education of others.

Histotechnologists possess strong communication skills, work well under pressure, and have high quality standards set for themselves. They also have a deep commitment to their profession and enjoy a challenge and responsibility. A career as a histotechnologist will offer endless opportunities in a field where technology and methodology are constantly evolving.

For more information on Histotechnology as a career, please visit the following websites:
National Society for Histotechnology - http://www.hsh.org
American Society for Clinical professionals - http://www.ascp.org

Mission and Goals

The mission of the Clinical Laboratory Science and Histotechnology programs within the Medical Laboratory Science Division at West Virginia University is to provide a high-quality education leading to a Bachelor of Science degree that prepares graduates for their roles as members of the healthcare team in an environment of rapidly changing technology.

The goals of the program are:

  • to provide programs which meet the academic standards of the University;
  • to provide graduates for medical (both urban and rural) laboratories, public health laboratories, research laboratories, and industry;
  • to provide an educational background which enables graduates to assume teaching and supervisory positions in the healthcare field;
  • to provide an education background acceptable for graduate work in the medical sciences.