Sep 1, 2015
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I am currently a student in a Clinical Laboratory Science program and was hoping for some insights from some individuals ? Has this degree helped you with admissions or preparation in regards to medical school? I am currently interested in pursing a MD/PHD , and looking into doing Cancer Research would this specialization as a undergrad benefit me or would it not adequately prepare me as much as a general bio or mccb degree program ?

Thanks I would Appreciate any insight !
 

Lucca

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It is my understanding that CLS is more of a professional program in that it prepares you to do a very specific thing. Not that you dont take similar science and laboratory courses but that there is a very large component dedicated to performing a very specific duty.

In terms of medical admissions I would normally say that it does not matter what you major in whatsoever but I would personally advise against taking on such a major considering that the professional requirements (especially towards the end, if CLS there is like it is at my school) would just cause you to push back applying to medical school. Furthermore, the heavy laboratory requirements will probably consume time that could be used more productively in terms of educational and app value.

In terms of MD/PhD (which I will be doing as well) I would even more strongly advise against majoring in any sort of professional program (except engineering). Why? You need time in the lab. Not lab class. The lab. Working with a professor on hypothesis-driven research. The knowledge and skills needed for this are probably better developed in a traditional BS pathway like molecular biology, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, physics etc than CLS.
 
May 4, 2015
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It is my understanding that CLS is more of a professional program in that it prepares you to do a very specific thing. Not that you dont take similar science and laboratory courses but that there is a very large component dedicated to performing a very specific duty.

In terms of medical admissions I would normally say that it does not matter what you major in whatsoever but I would personally advise against taking on such a major considering that the professional requirements (especially towards the end, if CLS there is like it is at my school) would just cause you to push back applying to medical school. Furthermore, the heavy laboratory requirements will probably consume time that could be used more productively in terms of educational and app value.

In terms of MD/PhD (which I will be doing as well) I would even more strongly advise against majoring in any sort of professional program (except engineering). Why? You need time in the lab. Not lab class. The lab. Working with a professor on hypothesis-driven research. The knowledge and skills needed for this are probably better developed in a traditional BS pathway like molecular biology, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, physics etc than CLS.
^what in the word? Do you even know what CLS do? This is like a major where you do lab every single day. OP disregard this poster. I have been in research and know that CLS definitely comes in hand. You are way more competent than many undergrad research assistants. I would even go so far as to say this should be a clear route to MD-PhD since constantly PIs fuss about how grad students don't even know basic lab skills and waste funding money. However, CLS program focuses only on lecture-theory and lab component and thus doesn't leave much room to do thesis work or research endeavors like any science major but unlike them it makes sure that what you learn in the classroom can be applied by you independently. How many majors can you guess teach their graduates to learn high tech read outs? You will know how to take notes on the spot because well your program will always beat you in the head for not listening right. Yes, this major is really hard and it takes your 100% commitment. I will dare any bio, chem, engineer, or whatever to try this major and they will turn right back around (you will see people drop it on the first day too for its work ethic). The professional part of this major just means that you will get a good job (obviously applying is hard and time-pensive but your name will be known by community lab directors for recruitment). I would say that you need to start research earlier than when you start CLS. This way you have some ground in the matter. You should also be prepared to do well in the program (study non-stop while maintaining your activities). Many take time off to work and perhaps continue their research endeavor but know that MD/PhD may need to see you commit to 4-year research or a publication/poster out of what you do alongside the fact that it must have taught you to do scientific investigation. Your courses may count in the sGPA but most of the courses needed can be done in college of sciences.
 

LizzyM

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CLS is not considered a rigorous major. It does require learning how to use laboratory devices and methods for diagnostic purposes. It does not necessarily involve hypothesis driven reearch aimed at generalizable new knowledge.

Biology or molecular and cellular bio would be a better choice for someone interested in MD/PhD. The focus of MD/PhD adcoms will be your research experience, your presentations and your publications.
 

Lucca

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^what in the word? Do you even know what CLS do? This is like a major where you do lab every single day. OP disregard this poster. I have been in research and know that CLS definitely comes in hand. You are way more competent than many undergrad research assistants. I would even go so far as to say this should be a clear route to MD-PhD since constantly PIs fuss about how grad students don't even know basic lab skills and waste funding money. However, CLS program focuses only on lecture-theory and lab component and thus doesn't leave much room to do thesis work or research endeavors like any science major but unlike them it makes sure that what you learn in the classroom can be applied by you independently. How many majors can you guess teach their graduates to learn high tech read outs? You will know how to take notes on the spot because well your program will always beat you in the head for not listening right. Yes, this major is really hard and it takes your 100% commitment. I will dare any bio, chem, engineer, or whatever to try this major and they will turn right back around (you will see people drop it on the first day too for its work ethic). The professional part of this major just means that you will get a good job (obviously applying is hard and time-pensive but your name will be known by community lab directors for recruitment). I would say that you need to start research earlier than when you start CLS. This way you have some ground in the matter. You should also be prepared to do well in the program (study non-stop while maintaining your activities). Many take time off to work and perhaps continue their research endeavor but know that MD/PhD may need to see you commit to 4-year research or a publication/poster out of what you do alongside the fact that it must have taught you to do scientific investigation. Your courses may count in the sGPA but most of the courses needed can be done in college of sciences.
I'm well aware of what CLS is thank you. What you describe and what I can gleam from the CLS degree plan is that the training is more akin to that of a technician than that of a research scientist. Knowing how to do complex read outs and all of these other techniques does not make one a scientist. One is better off cultivating a really broad and deep understanding of many disciplines to develop insight and intuition for problems. The CLS majors I know haves spent 5-7 years in school + practicum spending way too much time worrying about the professional side of CLS in order to graduate with the degree and have all but completely forgotten about the MCAT, volunteering, patient interaction, etc.

My opinion is and always has been that if one intends to go to medical school then it is utterly pointless to enroll in a preprofessional program (nursing, CLS, welding, etc) because the professional side of that training will short change you in every other area and you will just receive totally separate professional training once in medical school. The only exception to this is engineering.
 
May 4, 2015
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CLS is not considered a rigorous major. It does require learning how to use laboratory devices and methods for diagnostic purposes. It does not necessarily involve hypothesis driven reearch aimed at generalizable new knowledge.

Biology or molecular and cellular bio would be a better choice for someone interested in MD/PhD. The focus of MD/PhD adcoms will be your research experience, your presentations and your publications.
one of the things frustrating about the program is simply this but if you start research beforehand and take courses on the side that show your enthusiasm and intelligence it should not matter. Being unemployed with a biology degree is also no fun and I quite think that the purpose of going to college should be to come out with a skill. Unlike what adcoms think, I have taken more theory classes than I can count in this major and the quality of questions you ask is what will help you in research. Our professors have all maintained research scope and it's odd that you think it is not 'rigorous' just because there is a perceived notion that this major doesn't open up about research topics. Ultimately this major is supposed to prepare you not only to be able to work in a pathology lab but also to obtain a PhD in pathology. So I don't quite understand where Adcoms get stereotypes. This is one of the least spoken about majors and also the one where administrators know the least about. Sure just like any major some schools have it easy but other top programs make it quite difficult and hence generalizations can't be made.
 
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The CLS majors I know haves spent 5-7 years in school + practicum spending way too much time worrying about the professional side of CLS in order to graduate with the degree and have all but completely forgotten about the MCAT, volunteering, patient interaction, etc.
wait what? I think you are getting the wrong idea or you definitely don't know how it is organized let alone the degree. CLS is a bachelor's degree. Most people tend to do whatever they want for the first 2 years (as long as they complete their general eds which basically are med school requirements) of schooling and last 2 years are spent crushing the books with literally no time to eat. I don't even understand where you got the 5-7 year thing from. BTW there are many types of scientists and you clearly don't understand what the difference between "technician" and "technologist" mean. For a technician you have to have associates. A technologist is a full fledged scientist (having taken a national exam) just like you would do if you wanted to be a real chemistry major with the title of a professional. In fact, I was offered a position where I could work and do research side by side with doctors. It's kind of sad how much work and ability you get out of this major yet just because it's under the allied health that people think it as if it's not as rigorous lol.

The only exception to this is engineering.
and of course by your argument how useful is engineering? Are you going to make a live circuit so you can shock the patient when they go in cardiac arrest in case you are in some third world country? Hmm....
So medical technology (that actually shows you theory behind 'medical' instruments and analysis) is basically useless...ok :penguin::corny:I don't even feel like comparing this degree with any other allied health field because this degree is pretty academic in my opinion.
 
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LizzyM

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@Petrichor1 we are trying to warn you of the pitfalls ahead. Ignore us at your own peril. Let us know how things work out for you.
 
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@Petrichor1 we are trying to warn you of the pitfalls ahead. Ignore us at your own peril. Let us know how things work out for you.
it's not as bad but I do agree that professors give much less emphasis on research than what I would like. However, I do want to distill this theory about the major being bad for research. I know plenty of motivated pre-meds go through this line and end up at top 25 medical schools but they had a lot of more going for them even before the program. The difference was that they took initiative and were highly organized (which is one of the biggest traits that CLS majors carry). I have already had a Bachelors done so any warnings are of no use now (I should consulted earlier like OP). But I would like to distill the fact that this major is also not easy as other allied health fields are made to look like. In fact, it's a downright mockery of how hard a work these majors do compared to the average bio major that has the time to go greek. It is a true test of determination. The professors that teach this major have been some of the most well known in the profession and in medicine. I can't say about other programs but mine had a lot of biology majors only to come back and obtain this degree. So just coming from experience, this is not a bad major but be prepared to take some gap years as it also doesn't leave any room to pursue courses outside of it. Additionally, I don't know how much you might be able to study for the MCAT but if you want to go traditional, finish prereqs before this major and then study for MCAT the summer of junior year and apply maybe the following spring/summer expecting 1 year gap (this would be great because you can get certified/licensed and just work in a lab making professional connections).
 

Spirit of the Student Doc

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Do you plan to work with this degree? If not then why bother?
 
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Do you plan to work with this degree? If not then why bother?
that is a very good question for OP. However, I would like to emphasize that people have been able to work under contract with a lab as students under the guise that they will complete the program so you know you could do that but that would be expecting WAY too much. This major is fantastic though. While I did have some hardship with job with so much credential, I have had offers come from top 25 medical school accredited labs where the lead has offered research potential. Again, do what you have to do but don't take this major as a grain of salt; there is so much advanced cutting edge technology stuff you get to learn, it'll simply rock you back and forth since the stuff keeps coming back whether you are in the program or outside of it doing something else.
 

Spirit of the Student Doc

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Mar 24, 2014
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I am currently a student in a Clinical Laboratory Science program and was hoping for some insights from some individuals ? Has this degree helped you with admissions or preparation in regards to medical school? I am currently interested in pursing a MD/PHD , and looking into doing Cancer Research would this specialization as a undergrad benefit me or would it not adequately prepare me as much as a general bio or mccb degree program ?

Thanks I would Appreciate any insight !

In a literal sense you'll be "smarter" in CLS then Bio (all relative and it's not like that random midpoint means anything, it's just a marker if you have further plans). I became a tech because I didn't know what I was doing with my life, knew a ton of lab people, and they told me I could be a detective!!!!

Actual job, I've never helped the doctor diagnose anyone :( I mean I've made a catch here or there... helped out in this way so forth, mostly from a diff, but why enter this field if you don't plan to stay in it? It sound sounds to me you're going to apply ASAP......

So what is your app going to say, I specialized in this but have never actually used it. It won't hurt.... but from what I've seen so far a BIO degree is easier and to be frank if med school falls through you can still become a tech w/ it (There are many techs who haven't been through actual "tech" school of any sort).


@LizzyM has made some good points, @Petrichor1 has as well.


You should ask some more PRECISE QUESTIONS so we can better assist you.

Ex: When do you plan to apply?
What are you going to do with this degree?
What are your other options you're considering?
Do you want to know if this job will give you a legs up in med school? OR do you literally mean just having the degree, with no application of it. Is there anything unique to your clinical course?
etc.



-CURRENT QUESTIONS:
  • Has this degree helped you with admissions or preparation in regards to medical school?
ANSWER: Mostly no, everyone I know Technologist or Technician has had to go back to school and take more classes, then again I don't know anyone who wanted to do med school IN tech school. I think whatever help this gives you is akin to any other non-trad. So, if you excel in this field and gain clinical experience (which not every tech job is) it's a plus.... @Goro would be another good person to ask in this regard. I'd take his word as final and move on, at that point.

  • Would this specialization as a undergrad benefit me or would it not adequately prepare me as much as a general bio or mccb degree program ?
ANSWER: Having not been in med school I wouldn't know. Sure it'll be nice to know some stuff the other students don't, but that will, I assume, run dry at some point.
 

LizzyM

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1) majors related to health science professions are the least likely to get into medical school. (AAMC Table 18)
2) Among applicants to medical school, specialized health sciences majors have the lowest verbal, physical science and biological sciences scores of any major despite having GPAs that are on par with other majors.
3) CLS is considered a vocational degree. The students who choose CLS are not considered "the best and the brightest" of college students and compared with bio majors from the top schools in the country (your competition in being admitted to med school), the CLS major, even with a decent GPA, is considered to have been, at best, a big fish in a small pond competing for grades with CLS students who skated into college after graduating in the bottom half of their HS class and who are taking this major to prepare for jobs in health care facilities much the way a BSN prepares. Not to say that they aren't valuable members of the team but they aren't considered to be leadership material for medical school.
 

Lucca

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wait what? I think you are getting the wrong idea or you definitely don't know how it is organized let alone the degree. CLS is a bachelor's degree. Most people tend to do whatever they want for the first 2 years (as long as they complete their general eds which basically are med school requirements) of schooling and last 2 years are spent crushing the books with literally no time to eat. I don't even understand where you got the 5-7 year thing from. BTW there are many types of scientists and you clearly don't understand what the difference between "technician" and "technologist" mean. For a technician you have to have associates. A technologist is a full fledged scientist (having taken a national exam) just like you would do if you wanted to be a real chemistry major with the title of a professional. In fact, I was offered a position where I could work and do research side by side with doctors. It's kind of sad how much work and ability you get out of this major yet just because it's under the allied health that people think it as if it's not as rigorous lol.


and of course by your argument how useful is engineering? Are you going to make a live circuit so you can shock the patient when they go in cardiac arrest in case you are in some third world country? Hmm....
So medical technology (that actually shows you theory behind 'medical' instruments and analysis) is basically useless...ok :penguin::corny:I don't even feel like comparing this degree with any other allied health field because this degree is pretty academic in my opinion.
I'm not trying to be controversial or put down CLS. I'm just reporting what I've observed. At my school MLS (medical instead of clinical) is 4 years in school and at least one year in practicum at a medical center working with a medical lab scientist and then you graduate. Often because of the many lab requirements people end up having to spread out the original four years into 5. If they are premed including pre-reqs other than biology can also be a pain.

As for Engineering it has nothing with engineering being "useful". It's because if you want to be a professional engineer then that involves going to the career fair, networking, and trying to get internships. I.e stuff that doesn't really interfere with "pre-med" development or at least complements it. Being in CLS or other preprofessional programs involves tons of lab and practical courses that take up significant portions of your free time. This time is well spent if that profession is your end goal, not if you have a totally different profession in mind from the beginning.
 

Spirit of the Student Doc

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I'm not trying to be controversial or put down CLS. I'm just reporting what I've observed. At my school MLS (medical instead of clinical) is 4 years in school and at least one year in practicum at a medical center working with a medical lab scientist and then you graduate. Often because of the many lab requirements people end up having to spread out the original four years into 5. If they are premed including pre-reqs other than biology can also be a pain..
There's a million ways to enter this field and some people refuse to acknowledge the other paths.... for reasons beyond me. Mostly, people simply aren't aware.
 
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1) majors related to health science professions are the least likely to get into medical school. (AAMC Table 18)
2) Among applicants to medical school, specialized health sciences majors have the lowest verbal, physical science and biological sciences scores of any major despite having GPAs that are on par with other majors.
3) CLS is considered a vocational degree. The students who choose CLS are not considered "the best and the brightest" of college students and compared with bio majors from the top schools in the country (your competition in being admitted to med school), the CLS major, even with a decent GPA, is considered to have been, at best, a big fish in a small pond competing for grades with CLS students who skated into college after graduating in the bottom half of their HS class and who are taking this major to prepare for jobs in health care facilities much the way a BSN prepares. Not to say that they aren't valuable members of the team but they aren't considered to be leadership material for medical school.
ouch...contrary to what you say I was neither one of these students you describe. Some of the classmates at the top have surprised me. However, regardless of how well prepared you were for college, this major straightens and levels the playing field. If you see my resume, I think you will not have guessed my major if that's how CLS looks for adcoms. Fortunately, I know that based off of this I will just have to prove against the stats. And yes, I do agree that maybe the people you see apply are not on par but don't use that as a stereotype. There are a far far less number of crowd that applies to medical school from this major as most go either to labs or R&D as leads.

By #3 of your line, what do you see lacking in a CLS student? Is it that they have spent too much time in the major that they literally don't have much to show in terms of leadership work? When you say big fish in a small pond what does that even supposed to mean? I mean compare this with a small group composed of biomedical engineers/nutrition majors/biostats/and other mini public health majors and you find that just because there is a stereotype in your eyes about CLS that they don't fall under that group?
I also feel like bio majors (having so many of them) live by curves. I don't think that shows true potential of anyone in my opinion.
 
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May 4, 2015
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I'm not trying to be controversial or put down CLS. I'm just reporting what I've observed. At my school MLS (medical instead of clinical) is 4 years in school and at least one year in practicum at a medical center working with a medical lab scientist and then you graduate. Often because of the many lab requirements people end up having to spread out the original four years into 5. If they are premed including pre-reqs other than biology can also be a pain.

As for Engineering it has nothing with engineering being "useful". It's because if you want to be a professional engineer then that involves going to the career fair, networking, and trying to get internships. I.e stuff that doesn't really interfere with "pre-med" development or at least complements it. Being in CLS or other preprofessional programs involves tons of lab and practical courses that take up significant portions of your free time. This time is well spent if that profession is your end goal, not if you have a totally different profession in mind from the beginning.
I would say I only have 2-3 schools in my mind that have a really good CLS student population (both as entrants in terms of stats to college and as current undergraduates) and I look at those schools as the only schools I would honor in terms of CLS curriculum hardness. Having said that, you are right, you cannot possibly do everything for med school and still be in this major. The only reason you should do this major is if you aren't sure about medicine or that you just have to earn money to support financial problems. If you are a weak member to begin with, this major will only drag you down as the amount of organization and studying is high and if this were to be achieved in this major why not instead use it to be productive in a bio or chem major where time management and class amount could be made manageable?
 

swivelj

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A lot lulz in this thread... I'm an MLS/current applicant and I have this thread bookmarked... After this cycle is over I will be glad to address any of the ignorant comments made thus far.... Not worth my time or energy at the moment.