Medical Labs

Saving lives behind the scenes

Clinical and medical laboratories are often unseen by patients, but still deliver critical care.

A medical laboratory or clinical laboratory is a laboratory where tests are done on clinical specimens like blood or urine in order to get information about the health of a patient.  The lab results are used to determine the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

Medical Labs diagram

Careers in Medical Laboratories

Careers in medical laboratories are changing quickly with new diagnostic technology, the integration of electronic medical records, and efforts by hospitals to increase the efficiency of labs.

What is it like to work in a laboratory?

Clinical and medical laboratories are found in hospitals, research and testing facilities and outpatient facilities. Before deciding to work in a lab, you should understand that:

  • Strong science, technology and math skills are critical. As in almost all medical careers, STEM skills are extremely important, especially as a career advances
  • Teamwork is important. Even though lab workers do not often have direct patient contact, they still support and interact with co-workers on a daily basis.


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50% of all healthcare workers work in a hospital
Question 1 Explanation: 
False. Approximately 30% of Western Mass healthcare workers work in a hospital. Others have jobs in the community, in nursing homes, or in "ambulatory healthcare services" - doctors' offices, home healthcare and diagnostic labs.