New MS meets clinical lab scientist demand

Dominican University of California will launch a master’s program in Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) with an emphasis in Molecular Diagnostics in fall 2013. The program, which will be the only CLS master’s program in California, comes at a time when demand for trained clinical laboratory scientists is growing both in California and throughout the United States.

The MS program is a 36-unit program designed to provide advanced training to professionals who are already CLS-licensed or CLS-license eligible. Graduates will be prepared to move into supervisory or managerial positions in a clinical lab or in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industry, said Dr. Sibdas Ghosh, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“California is facing a shortage of clinical laboratory scientists – particularly professionals with advanced degrees – and the demand for qualified professionals continues to grow each year,” Ghosh said. “Clinical laboratory science is a vital component of the medical community, and professionals who have a master’s degree in CLS will be highly sought.”

Nationwide, employment of clinical laboratory workers is expected to grow 15 percent between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In California, the growth of the biotech industry also has resulted in a strong demand for clinical laboratory scientists. Private life sciences companies are competing with hospitals and reference laboratories for master’s degree-level CLSs. In addition, demand for trained clinical laboratory scientists to serve in leadership roles is critical due to an aging CLS workforce. According to Ghosh, the average age of a CLS worker in California is 57.

“A master’s degree in clinical laboratory science will enable professionals to advance in the CLS field, preparing them for leadership roles in laboratories throughout the state at a time when many of those currently in management roles are heading toward retirement,” Ghosh said.

The Dominican CLS program is due to enroll 10 students in its first year, adding an additional 10 students per year.

Students will complete graduate level work in molecular biotechnology, biochemistry and molecular diagnostics; clinical laboratory law, regulation, and ethics; scientific and technical writing; and an MBA level course focused on technical project management. All students also will complete a three-unit master’s research project. Courses will be offered weekday evenings (three nights a week) from 6-8:30pm in order to enable working students to attend the program.

Graduates will be well-equipped for positions in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industries, introducing advanced lab techniques, writing up new protocols, and anticipating and adapting to new technologies.

CLS-licensed or CLS- license eligible graduates will have opportunities for leadership or managerial positions within a clinical lab. Though the program is primarily designed for already licensed Clinical Laboratory Scientists looking to further their subject mastery, applications for admission also will be accepted from candidates who lack CLS certification and are looking to increase their competitiveness when  applying  to impacted CLS internship programs.
According to Ghosh, the CLS profession is the invisible branch of the medical community.

“This program will appeal to individuals who want to help patients and who have great skills at the bench,” he said. “The program will train students to think outside the box – to not just follow established protocols but become leaders that can develop new protocols.”

The majority of new graduates will find employment in hospital laboratories working to diagnose diseases or the health status of admitted patients or patients who have visited a local physician or clinic.

Media contact: Sarah Gardner, 415.485.3239,
Admissions contact: Summer Wang, 415.458.3771, dominican.ed/gradprograms