ASCP 2015 Wage Survey Reveals Need for Recruitment and Retention Programs

Mar 08, 2017

Salaries for most staff-level laboratory professionals have increased since 2013, according to results of the ASCP 2015 Wage Survey, which was released last week. The two occupations that continue to have lower salaries are laboratory assistants and phlebotomists, while pathologists’ assistants and administration personnel have higher salaries than the rest of the laboratory professions surveyed.   

Nearly 17,000 medical laboratory professionals responded to the ASCP 2015 Wage Survey results, which were published Feb. 26, 2017, in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology (AJCP) online. The results provide current wage data for U.S.-based laboratory scientists.

“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. You can’t get that detailed data anywhere else,” said Lynnette G. Chakkaphak, MS, MT(ASCP), who served on the ASCP Wage Survey Working Group.

This report is part of ASCP’s Wage and Vacancy Surveys, which are administered as two separate surveys. The Wage Survey highlights pay levels broken down by title, geography, certification and other variables using results of an online survey that requested data from laboratory managers, directors, supervisors, and staff across the United States. ASCP sent electronic invitations to laboratory professionals at hospitals, non-pathologist physician offices, outpatient clinics and reference labs.  

The 2015 Wage Survey includes four additional occupations in the clinical lab: senior administration, laboratory information system professionals, performance improvement and/or quality assurance personnel, and the point of care personnel. “We did this based on comments on our last survey, as well as what reviewers think are emerging occupations in their labs,” says Edna Garcia, MPH, ASCP Senior Manager of Scientific Engagement and Research. 

“Overall, the survey results also put an emphasis on strategic recruitment and retention by laboratory training programs and institutions that hire laboratory professionals,” she says. “The average age range of laboratory professionals currently working in the field is between 35-44 years old while many others will soon be retiring.” 

Additionally, the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the job outlook for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians between 2014 and 2024 is expected to grow 16%, which is faster than the average rate.  Again, emphasizing the need for more qualified lab personnel.  Since the overall outlook on salaries is generally positive, it is a prime opportunity to encourage potential laboratory professionals to join the field.

ASCP’s Board of Certification (BOC) collaborated with the ASCP’s Institute for Science, Technology, and Policy office in conducting the wage survey. ASCP BOC certification is widely accepted as the gold standard in the field of certification of medical laboratory professionals. To date more than 525,000 individuals hold BOC certification. BOC-certified individuals have long been recognized by hiring managers as possessing the necessary competence to perform the medical laboratory roles they seek.

To read the ASCP 2015 Wage Survey Results, click here.

Figure 1. Average hourly wage for laboratory staff, lead, supervisor/manager, and director positions, per occupational title. 

Sample sizes for some occupational levels were less than 30 (n <30) and did not allow for statistically significant comparisons. CG indicates cytogenetic technologist; CT, cytotechnologist; HT, histotechnician; HTL, histotechnologist; LA, laboratory assistant; MLT/CLT, medical laboratory technician/clinical laboratory technician; MLS/MT/CLS, medical laboratory scientist/medical technologist/clinical laboratory scientist; MB, molecular biologist; PA, pathologists’ assistant; PI or QA, performance improvement or quality assurance ; PBT, phlebotomist; SBB, specialist in blood banking; LIS, Laboratory Information Systems.


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