An expanding aging population is prompting a heightened demand for medical facilities to hire more clinical laboratory technicians in the coming years, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These specialists will be needed to conduct complex tests and procedures that physicians and surgeons order. It is a rewarding vocation that increases one’s ability to use technology to change the lives of others for the better. For Alvin Castillo, the occupation helped him become a pacesetter.

(Photo Courtesy of Alvin Castillo)

(Photo Courtesy of Alvin Castillo)

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“I was never a leader growing up, but the profession really shaped me and showed that I can offer more than just running a specimen,” said Castillo, a clinical laboratory scientist and manager at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “Each day, I learn something new that further builds my confidence that I can make a difference in this world. Because we rarely meet a patient directly, it’s fulfilling to know we can still help another human being, but in an anonymous way.”

Why did you enter the medical technology field?

“I studied medical technology originally as a pre-medicine pathway, because it covers a lot of subjects that would help me if I ever decided to pursue medicine. And because I am able to help patients in different and interesting ways, I’ve grown to love my job. I have never looked back and am proud of where I am right now.”

Which academic achievement helped you secure your position?

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“In order to become a licensed clinical laboratory scientist in California, it is required to have a bachelor’s degree in medical technology.”

What are you doing to further sharpen your skills and knowledge?

“I just never stop learning and continuing to push myself to become a better person that serves people who are in need. If you do that, everything else falls in place.”

What is your message to aspiring clinical lab scientists?

“If you are someone who loves science, robotics, instruments, experiments, interested in knowing why people get sick and have a desire to help improve health care for people in need, then don’t think twice. Just go for it. You will not regret it.”

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Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist. Some news articles she has authored are archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.