For technicians, technologists, or scientists in the fields of clinical or medical laboratory medicine, it’s a good time to be a supervisor. A survey of current wage data for nearly 17,000 U.S.-based laboratory scientists in 2015 shows that annual hourly wages for these positions have gone up since 2013, the last time this data was released. 

AACC had invited its members to participate in the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s (ASCP) wage survey, which was published online in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology (AJCP)

“This is a very comprehensive survey. We have gotten a good snapshot from a wide variety of the profession, including different departments and levels of professionals,” said Lynnette G. Chakkaphak, MS, MT(ASCP), who served on the ASCP Wage Survey Working Group, in a statement. ASCP received a total of 16,661 responses, a more than 21% rise in participation compared with its 2013 survey. 

With the exception of phlebotomists and pathologists’ assistants, salaries for staff-level professionals in medical laboratories showed an increase from 2013 survey data. Annual hourly wages also went up for most lead positions, except for cytotechnologists and blood banking specialists. 

While most supervisor positions saw a downturn in their hourly wages, medical laboratory technicians/clinical laboratory technicians (MLTs/CLTs) saw a more than 12% increase from 2013 to 2015, whereas medical laboratory scientists/medical technologists/clinical laboratory scientists (MLS/MT/CLS) in supervisory roles experienced a 1.87% increase. Hourly wages also went up by more than 5.8% for pathologist assistant supervisors. 

“Overall, MLTs/CLTs have an average of 12.14 years of total experience in the laboratory field and have been working in their current title for 8.87 years,” according to the survey results. Survey respondents in these positions averaged about 41 years of age, younger than the national average. Blood bank departments offer the highest hourly wages at $23.28 per hour for these positions. Geographically speaking, MLTs/CLTs earn the highest and lowest wages in California and Alabama, respectively. 

Staff-level MLTs/CLTs nationwide get paid an average hourly wage of $20.89, compared with those in lead positions, who get paid an hourly wage of $23.55. Government facilities tend to pay staff the highest rates ($21.85 per hour), whereas academic hospitals with less than 100 beds pay the lowest rates for staff-level and lead MLTs/CLT positions. Community-based facilities pay the most generous wages to lead MLTs/CLTs, at $22.39 per hour. 

Compared with MLTs/CLTs, the average of MLS/MT/CLS respondents was older than 44 years—older than the national average. “MLSs/MTs/CLSs have an average of 15.96 years of total experience in the laboratory field and have been working in their current occupational title for 10.38 years,” the survey reported. 

For this category, government facilities paid the highest rates, at $32.79 per hour, whereas blood centers paid the lowest rates ($26.23 per hour). Looking at highest and lowest average salary rates by department, the laboratory information systems-quality assurance-performance improvement (LIS-QA-PI) department pays MLTs/CLTs $35.16 per hour, compared with the generalists department, which pays $27.91. 

MLS/MT/CLS positions get paid the highest rates in California, Nevada, Oregon, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, New York, Arizona, Minnesota, and Colorado.  

Individuals in performance improvement or quality assurance (PI/QA) jobs average nearly 13 years of total experience in the laboratory field and just less than 7 years working in their current position. With an average age of 48.64 years, this category of lab professionals is older than the national average. 

LIS-QA-PI departments typically employ PI/QA personnel and pay an average hourly wage of $33.78. Staff PI/QA on average are paid $38.37 in hourly wages, whereas manager-level PI or QA staff receive hourly rates of $42.25. 

Laboratory information systems (LIS) personnel on average have nearly 15 years of total experience in the laboratory field and have been in their current position for 8.59 years. Staff-level LIS personnel average 48 years in age and their mean hourly wage rate is $33.61. The average age for leads in this category is just over 51 years. “The average age for all LIS respondents is 49.73 years, which is older than the national average,” according to the survey results.