Demand for Capable Medical Laboratory Managers Will Skyrocket In Coming Years

Much is written about the acute—and soon to worsen—shortage of medical technologists (MT) and other skilled positions in America’s clinical laboratories and pathology groups. But what gets constantly overlooked is the equally critical need to have capable clinical laboratory managers, supervisors, directors, and administrators at every level in the medical laboratory organization.

This situation creates an unprecedented opportunity for those up-and-coming med techs and laboratory professionals who aspire to a management career in their clinical laboratory. Demand for their services is assured. But before they can step into management positions that come with increased responsibility and higher salaries, they must have the training, the experience, and the maturity required to be an effective manager.

Robert Michel, Editor-in-Chief, The Dark Report

At the current time, few clinical laboratories have a well-developed internal program for management training and development. Similarly, across the lab testing industry, there are few opportunities for the up-and-coming lab manager to undergo formal management training that directly relates to their daily work environment.

Advice for Medical Technologists Ready to Become Clinical Lab Managers

“Historically, the path to higher levels of management in clinical laboratories has been ‘learned on the job’,” stated Robert L. Michel, Publisher of The Dark Report and Dark Daily. “This has been true over the past three decades and is not likely to change in the near future.

“For that reason, any clinical laboratory worker with management ambitions will need to be a self-learner,” continued Michel, who has studied clinical laboratory management and operations for almost 20 years. “Recognizing this fact is an essential first step for the ambitious medical technologist who is eager to enter management and rise up the ladder to positions of more responsibility—and greater income.

“Enterprising young clinical laboratory managers will have unprecedented opportunities for advancement, for an obvious reason,” he added. “In most medical labs today, baby boomers make up the largest number of managers—particularly in middle and upper management ranks. However, it is now time for them to retire, since the oldest baby boomers turn 65 in 2011. Each time a baby boomer manager retires from your lab there is a job opening that must be filled.”

For any med tech or clinical lab staff member actively working toward a higher management position, Michel offers three recommendations, all keyed around the concept of being an effective “self-learner.”

  • “First, demonstrate your willingness to contribute by volunteering for projects and tasks that current lab management needs to be done,” advised Michel. “Volunteering increases your visibility for all the right reasons. It gives you hands-on experience and often allows senior managers to watch you work, often as a close collaborator on the project.
  • “Second, find a good mentor,” he said. “Effective managers are always ready to help motivated staff members as mentors. Sit down with your mentor and share your career goals. Then have your mentor help you map out a management career path in your clinical laboratory to achieve those goals.
  • “Third, since there are few classes or training programs in lab management that are available,” added Michel, “you want to pursue self-learning by becoming a diligent reader of management books, attending laboratory industry meetings when possible, and participating in those management development sessions that may be offered by your lab or its parent hospital and health system.”

Learning How to Advance Your Career in Clinical Laboratory Management

For medical technologists and clinical laboratory managers interested in learning more about how to develop their management skills and advance their career in clinical lab management, Michel is the featured speaker during a special free webinar that takes place on Monday, December 20, 2010, at 12:00 p.m. EST. It is titled “Essential Skills for Up-and-Coming Lab Managers.”

This free webinar is offered by Advance for Administrators of the Laboratory. It is available to anyone who registers at this link. (Or copy and paste this URL into your browser: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/114910841.)

Demand for competent clinical laboratory managers will continue to intensify in the coming years. This is why clinical laboratories and pathology groups should take active steps to develop their own management training and development pipeline. In the meantime, most med techs are likely to take the “self-learning” approach to prepare themselves for management promotions and higher levels of management responsibility. —by Michael McBride

Related Information:

Essential Skills for Up-and-coming Lab Managers: Learn how to create the perfect road map for a personal management journey

Transforming Clinical Lab Middle Managers into Top-Performing Team Contributors!

Teaching Lab Managers to Be Coaches Gains Favor as Productivity Booster