The Most Cost-Effective Hire for Your Lab

Posted on: October 16, 2017

Having a director for your high-complexity CLIA lab is a requirement, but did you know that a part-time lab director could be an appropriate option and significantly shrink your overhead costs? When is it acceptable to hire a part-time lab director instead of a full-time lab director? Labs with the following demographics may not need a full-time lab director and might instead be able to employ a part-time lab director:

  • small labs
  • labs with low sample volume
  • labs with only one-to-two lines of testing
  • physicians’ office labs

How exactly does a part-time lab director shrink a lab’s overhead cost?
A full-time lab director commands a salary of around $150,000+ annually, while a part-time lab director generally makes between $12,000-$24,000 annually. By employing a part-time lab director instead of a full-time lab director, a lab can save well over $100,000 per year!

What is the difference between a part-time and full-time lab director?
One of the most common questions when hiring a part-time lab director concerns whether or not there is a difference in services rendered. Tara Luellen, MA, our National Account Manager for part-time lab directors, explains that, “If a lab is paying much less for director services, certainly the director cannot be expected to complete 40 hours’ worth of work that would be completed by a full-time director.” That being said, a lab director, whether part-time or full-time, has a set of responsibilities as defined by CLIA in 42 CFR 493.1445. See a full list of duties here.

If a director only works part-time, how can he/she complete all of the lab director duties?Part-time lab directors can delegate certain appropriate tasks to full-time on-site staff members such as medical technologists and technical supervisors. Typically, a part-time lab director will visit a laboratory quarterly, unless the state in which the lab is located stipulates more frequent on-site visits. A part-time lab director generally spends somewhere between two-to-eight hours per month completing work remotely, in addition to the quarterly on-site visits where he or she will complete competency evaluations of staff as needed and address any other items that cannot be delegated to full-time staff members or addressed remotely. Since a part-time lab director is only on-site for a handful of hours every quarter, it is unlikely that a part-time lab director would participate in method development or validation studies. Rather, these assignments can be completed by a technical supervisor with the appropriate skill set and experience or, oftentimes, a consultant agency can be employed to assist in these scenarios. The part-time lab director would then review and approve items as per CLIA guidelines.

Why would a lab director choose to only work part-time for less pay?
In most states, directors are allowed to oversee up to five laboratories. Many directors are engaged in full-time directorships, certifying scientist roles, or in a private practice and seeing clients regularly. A part-time directorship is a great way to supplement an individual’s full-time income if their schedule fits the needs of the lab. Retiring full-time directors may also choose to work in a part-time capacity as a way to remain in the field and stay abreast of new happenings and practices once they are ready to retire from their full-time positions. Conversely, some directors choose to focus on part-time directorship opportunities in lieu of a full-time position; this is ideal for individuals who want to travel, volunteer regularly, or who keep a variable schedule, as directing even five labs on a part-time basis could potentially only occupy around 40 of their hours per month. Regardless of the reasons, part-time directorships offer nice options to directors and labs alike and are a great alternative to full-time directorships in the right situations.

Depending on the type of lab, a part-time director is a great and cost-effective alternative.

Do you or someone you know have a lab that needs a part-time director? Are you currently overpaying for lab director services? Find out more about our part-time lab directorship program here or contact Tara Luellen, our in-house National Account Manager for part-time Lab directors at tara@lighthouserecruiting.com.