Medical laboratory science, also known as med lab science is one of the most lucrative courses in Nigeria. Reliable statistics have shown that every year, thousands of students who are seeking admission into the university apply to study medical laboratory science in Nigeria.
There is no doubt that studying med lab science in Nigeria is a profitable venture any undergraduate can undertake, but it is actually sad that not many persons are talking about how good the course is. This is why I have dedicated this blog post to analyze the medical laboratory science degree in Nigeria, and to point out the various career pathways any Nigerian secondary school student can follow to become a medical laboratory scientist. Also, in the course of reading this post, you will as well be finding out the following;
Which university offers medical laboratory science in Nigeria?
How many years course is medical laboratory science in Nigeria?
Is medical laboratory science a professional course? And
Med lab science salary in Nigeria with prospects and many other concepts.
But before then, let us start from the first principles by finding out who a medical laboratory scientist is. This will help any aspiring medical laboratory scientist in Nigeria to understand what he or she should be expecting as a graduate of med lab science in Nigeria.
Table of Contents
- Who Is A Medical Laboratory Scientist?
- How To Become A Medical Laboratory Scientist In Nigeria: Ultimate Career Guide
- Career Prospects of Medical Laboratory Science Degree Holder In Nigeria
- How lucrative is medical laboratory science in Nigeria?
- Becoming A Medical Lab Scientist In Nigeria: The Qualities You Need To Succeed
- Final Words!
Who Is A Medical Laboratory Scientist?
Wikipedia describes a medical laboratory scientist or a medical technologist as someone who performs diagnostic testing of blood and body fluids in the laboratory. This means that med lab scientists are part of the patient management system and their duty is to help find out what illnesses a particular patient has by testing different variables in their blood and body fluids (saliva, sweat, urine, etc).
Job Description of a Medical Laboratory Scientist in Nigeria
A good question one may ask at this point is; what is medical laboratory science all about? I have tried to answer this question by going through the roles a med lab scientist play in patient care and the delivery of quality health services.
It is estimated that about 70% of the decisions made in the hospital for treating a patient are based on the medical laboratory test results. And the duties of a medical laboratory scientist affect up to 95% of a health system’s cost. The works of a med lab scientist include;
- Receiving a patient who wants to do a lab test
- Receiving clients’ specimen
- Ensuring specimen quality and quantity
- Performing the required lab tests on a patient’s specimen. The commonest lab tests done by a med lab scientist are; Complete blood count, urinalysis, thyroid function test, comprehensive metabolic panel, liver function test, electrolyte panel, coagulation profile, lipid profile, renal function tests, seminalysis and serological studies.
- Interpreting the test results
- Collecting blood samples (and other specimens) when a phlebotomist is not available.
- Data logging
- Sending the specimen back to the clinicians, surgeons, and other healthcare providers.
- Maintenance validation
- Troubleshooting of instruments and performing statistical analysis to ensure the reliability of testing.
So you can see that a med lab scientist plays a vital role in patient care and in health management systems.
How To Become A Medical Laboratory Scientist In Nigeria: Ultimate Career Guide
To obtain a medical laboratory science degree, one needs to first study the medical laboratory science course in Nigeria under a university that is accredited by the Federal Ministry of Education. Studying the medical laboratory science course in Nigeria first starts from the choices a student finds this career path desirable makes in his/her secondary school. If you want to study med lab science courses in Nigeria, then here are medical laboratory science requirements in Nigeria starting from your secondary school level.
Step 1: Choose The Science Courses For Your WAEC, NECO, and GCE
The medical laboratory science requirement is that an aspirant must have at least five (5) credits in any of the science subjects in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) including English and Mathematics. The five subjects include;
- Chemistry and
Step 2: Write The 3 Science Courses In Your JAMB and Post-UTME
The next step for studying the medical laboratory science course in Nigeria after you must have gotten a minimum of 5 credits in your SSCE is to apply for the Joint Admission And Matriculation Body Exam. While doing this, you must also make sure you choose any of the universities that offer medical laboratory science in Nigeria.
Now, you may ask which university offers medical laboratory science in Nigeria? Well, I have provided you with a list of 40 universities where you can study med lab science in Nigeria. You can go through them and make your own personal research to find out which one is best for you.
42 List Of Universities That Offer Medical Laboratory Science In Nigeria (In Alphabetical Order)
- ABIA STATE UNIVERSITY (ABSU)
- ACHIEVERS UNIVERSITY
- ADELEKE UNIVERSITY
- AFE BABALOLA UNIVERSITY (ABUAD)
- AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY (ABU)
- AL-HIKMAH UNIVERSITY
- AMBROSE ALI UNIVERSITY EKPOMA (AAU)
- ARTHUR JARVIS UNIVERSITY (AJU)
- ATIBA UNIVERSITY OYO (ATUOYO)
- BABCOCK UNIVERSITY
- BAYERO UNIVERSITY KANO (BUK)
- BENSON IDAHOSA UNIVERSITY (BIU)
- BINGHAM UNIVERSITY
- BOWEN UNIVERSITY
- EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY (EBSU)
- EDO STATE UNIVERSITY IYAMHO (EUI)
- ELIZADE UNIVERSITY
- ENUGU STATE UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AGBANI (ESUT)
- EVANGEL UNIVERSITY
- FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LAFIA (FULAFIA)
- GREGORY UNIVERSITY
- IGBINEDION UNIVERSITY OKADA (IUIO)
- IMO STATE UNIVERSITY
- KWARA STATE UNIVERSITY (KWASU)
- LADOKE AKINTOLA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (LAUTECH)
- LEAD CITY UNIVERSITY (LCU)
- MADONNA UNIVERSITY (MADONNA)
- NIGER DELTA UNIVERSITY (NDU)
- NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY (UNIZIK)
- NOVENA UNIVERSITY (NOVENA)
- PAMO UNIVERSITY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES
- RIVERS STATE UNIVERSITY (RSU)
- RHEMA UNIVERSITY
- UNIVERSITY OF BENIN (UNIBEN)
- UNIVERSITY OF CALABAR (UNICAL)
- UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN (UI)
- UNIVERSITY OF JOS (UNIJOS)
- UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS (UNILAG)
- UNIVERSITY OF MAIDUGURI (UNIMAID)
- UNIVERSITY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES (UNIMED)
- UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA (UNN)
- USMANU DANFODIYO UNIVERSITY SOKOTO (UDUSOK)
Kindly note that the list above includes both Private, State, and Federal Universities that offer medical laboratory science in Nigeria. To apply for their Post-UTME and screening exam, you should visit their websites by typing their name on Google to find out more information and the latest updates about them.
Step 3: Getting Admission To Study Medical Laboratory Science In Nigeria
If you do well in your WAEC, JAMB, and Post-utme, chances are that you will get admission into any of the above universities to acquire the medical laboratory science degree. But there is another pathway for people who already have a first degree in another course but still want to study the med lab course. This is called direct entry.
Studying medical laboratory science in Nigeria through direct entry is an easier pathway to follow. You do not have to re-write JAMB or Post-Utme. All you need is to have a good CGPA from your previous course (Above 3.5 CGPA).
How many years course is medical laboratory science in Nigeria
The next important thing to note is that the med lab course takes a minimum of four to five (4 to 5) years to complete in any Nigerian university. Five years for those students that entered through JAMB and Post-UTME and four years for direct entry students.
This is because direct entry students join the program in the 200 level (2nd year) because all first-year courses in Nigerian universities are the same for all science students. So it is assumed that the direct entry student must have taken these courses during their first year in the previous course they studied.
Is medical laboratory science a professional course?
A question most aspirants probably want to have an answer to is if medical laboratory science is a professional course. Ideally, most students in Nigeria would prefer to study professional courses but many do not understand why some courses are called professional and others are not.
So to know whether medical lab science is a professional course, let us first define professional, and with this definition, you can easily categorize any course you see as either professional or non-professional.
A professional course or a professional degree is a degree that prepares someone to work in a particular profession, practice, or industry sector often meeting the academic requirements for accreditation. A profession is defined as a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special skills in a widely recognized body of learning derived from research, education, and training at a high level and who are ready to apply this knowledge and exercise these skills in the interest of others. (Wikipedia).
Now that was a long definition. But let us look at the keywords used in the definition; the person who studied a professional course must be prepared to work in a particular industry or sector. This means that another person who is not trained in that particular degree cannot be used to replace him/her.
Next is that the profession must meet the required ethical standards for accreditation. This means that the profession is accountable to whatever regulatory body in the country’s Federal Ministry of health. And finally, this professional must possess special skills that distinguish them from other professionals.
Thus, we can draw the conclusion that “Medical Laboratory Science Is A Professional Course” meets all the requirements as laid out by the definitions above. Following this logic, you can now discern which courses are professional courses and which ones are not.
What Kind Of Training Do Medical Laboratory Science Students Receive In Nigeria?
Studying medical laboratory science in Nigeria is not an easy feat in Nigeria. The students are trained both in character and in learning to meet the ethical standards for the profession.
The Courses Under Medical Laboratory Science In Nigeria
The medical laboratory science course is taught in five disciplines in most Nigerian universities and these disciplines include;
- Clinical chemistry
- Medical Microbiology
- Histopathology and Immunology
- Pharmacology and Instrumentation
In the first four years as a med lab student, you receive training in all the above-mentioned disciplines. While the final year is reserved for undergraduate specialization in any of the two medical laboratory subjects; one as major and the other as minor. These med lab science courses are designed to teach the student how the overall role that laboratory investigation of bodily fluids plays in the diagnoses and management of diseases.
Also, at the end of the five-year course, the student learns how to design new equipment, repair and modify already existing ones.
Is medical laboratory science hard?
This is another question a lot of aspirants never forget to ask. Truth be told, no professional course is easy in Nigeria. But the real question should actually be; “How happy are you studying the course?
Most people who find a course difficult most likely are not happily studying it. But you will find most people who med lab science are their dream course of study performing excellently in school. So the point is to make sure that you have a passion for pursuing the med lab degree before diving into it.
Career Prospects of Medical Laboratory Science Degree Holder In Nigeria
Once you have completed your five years of the med lab course in Nigeria, you will be officially inducted into the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists Of Nigeria.
After your induction, you will have to do an extra one year of internship, where you will be registered with the Institute of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Technology of Nigeria. This registration enables you to take up careers in Medical Laboratory Sciences as a Med Lab scientist.
Then, another year of the Nigerian Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to be able to find a government job as a med lab scientist in Nigeria.
How lucrative is medical laboratory science in Nigeria?
As mentioned earlier in the introduction, med lab science is a very lucrative course in Nigeria. A course is said to be lucrative in Nigeria if the salary is way above the minimum wage for a government worker in Nigeria. And also, if you can be able to use the skills you acquired from the course to work independent of the government and still earn a good sum monthly.
Now medical laboratory science meets both criteria. A graduate of medical laboratory science in Nigeria can work both in government institutions and as a private body. Below is a list of the job opportunities for a med lab science degree holder in Nigeria..
Job Opportunities for a Medical Laboratory Scientist in Nigeria:
A Medical Lab Scientist can work under any of the following bodies after they have met all the above criteria;
- Teaching and specialist hospitals
- Government hospitals
- Primary health care centers
- Private establishments
- Quality control units of industries
- In the above institutions, they can be employed as;
- Research scientists
- Teachers and Lecturers in higher institutions
- Laboratory Technicians
Those who choose to set up their own private establishment which could be diagnostic/research laboratories or instrument maintenance/fabrication centers are also part of the whole picture.
Med lab science salary in Nigeria
Below is a list of the various salaries for different cadres of the medical laboratory science degree holders in Nigeria:
|Levels||Med Lab Salary In Nigeria (With Tax) For 90% of Employees|
|Internship||NGN120,000 – NGN160,000 per month|
|National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)||NGN 33,000 per month|
|Early Career (Average Net Salary)||NGN 97,000 per month|
|Mid Career (Average Net Salary)||NGN133,000 per month|
|Late Career (Average Net Salary)||NGN160,000 per month|
Note that these salaries do not include their cash bonus, profit sharing, sales commission, and accommodation pay. Also, the pay varies across different states in the country and different workplaces. So you can actually find that in some places, med lab scientists are paid way more than this. Also, in other places, they may earn lower than this.
Becoming A Medical Lab Scientist In Nigeria: The Qualities You Need To Succeed
1. Self Discipline
Before you can study any medical-related course in Nigeria successfully, you need to be self-disciplined. The stress alone is too much for many students. The long hours of lectures and clinical postings, projects, and lab work. Medical courses in Nigeria are not for the faint-hearted.
Resilience here means the ability to learn under pressure. Sources of pressure while studying med lab in Nigeria include, but are not limited to; a tight academic curriculum, unpleasant exam timetables, stressful clinical rotations, and most of all, pressure from external factors like finance, family, relationships, etc.
3. Good Observation and Analytical Skills
The bulk of the work med lab science students do is mainly based on their power of observation while testing different parameters in the laboratory, and of course, analyzing the results with minimal errors.
As a med lab scientist, you need to be precise enough to take accurate measurements in the laboratory. Remember that some of the job descriptions involve quality testing and fabrication of different laboratory equipment. This skill requires a lot of care and accuracy to achieve perfect results.
Med lab science students spend most of their time in the lab where they do experiments, some of which require long hours of standing. You must have the ability to endure this to be successful while in school and as a graduate.
6. Good Time Management
Time management is key for any establishment to function effectively. And the med lab course is not an exception to these establishments. You should be able to juggle between important activities while in school to find out which one has more relevance at a particular time. This will help you to be successful as a student.
7. Team Working Ability
Med lab scientists are part of the health management team. This means that they should be willing to work together under one head; the physician, to deliver the best possible care to patients.
8. Determination to succeed
If you are aspiring to enter into the medical laboratory science course in Nigeria, then you must be determined to pass through these hurdles. Success is achieved by determination and consistency.
Medical laboratory science in Nigeria is very lucrative. Not just that, it is a noble profession because med lab scientists deal with human lives. They play a vital role in the delivery of quality health services. I, therefore, encourage any aspiring med lab scientist to keep up with the good work and follow their dreams to fruition.
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