Medical Laboratory Technician

A medical lab technician (MLT), sometimes known as a clinical laboratory technician (CLT), is specially trained to perform and document standardized lab work with efficiency and accuracy. These in-demand allied health professionals are responsible for specimen collection, routine testing and preliminary analysis of biological and chemical substances in healthcare settings.

Medical lab technicians are sometimes distinguished from medical laboratory technologists or scientists. The latter typically have a bachelor's degree, while most technicians are expected to have an associate's degree. The difference between their scope of practice is determined by the state. For example, some technicians may not conduct microscopic analysis or immunohematology procedures. In all states, however, lab techs must be supervised by a licensed physician.

A variety of professional certifications have been available to lab techs, but the Medical Laboratory Technician, or MLT, title issued by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is now the dominant credential. Some techs still have Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT) certification with the National Credentialing Agency (NCA), but the title is being merged with the MLT certification. For bachelor degree-holders, the credential is the MLS: Medical Laboratory Scientist.

Certification is not mandatory, but the latest salary statistics suggest that certified technicians tend to make more than their non-certified counterparts. In all cases, students should only choose medical laboratory technician programs accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). This is a precondition for ASCP certification.

Degrees for Medical Lab Technicians

Vocational Certificate in Medical Laboratory Technology

Although most MLTs need an associate's degree, some employers will accept vocational certificates from accredited medical laboratory technician schools as an entry-level qualification. The best MLT schools provide both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical practice in a hospital, independent or public health lab. Ideally, this takes the form of a full-time internship.

There are also Advanced Certificate (AC) programs geared towards those who already have a bachelor's degree in a core science such as biology, chemistry or physics. In some states, AC programs provide a way to earn MLS licensure without having to finish a whole 4-year degree in Medical Laboratory Science. These programs may last a year or more. College prerequisites include biology, anatomy, physiology, and general and organic chemistry.

Coursework for a certificate in Medical Lab Technology might include:

  • Clinical Hematology & Hemostasis
  • Clinical Chemistry Practicum
  • Urinalysis & Body Fluid Analysis

Some medical lab techs additionally pursue complementary vocational coursework, such as certificates in EKG monitoring, Basic Life Support and CPR, or arrhythmia monitoring.

What jobs are available to MLTs who have graduated from an accredited certificate program?

  • Med Lab Tech I
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Clinical Lab Assistant

Associate's Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology

The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Clinical Laboratory Science is the most common level of training for new medical lab techs. Two-year associate programs offer aspiring MLTs both classroom and clinical learning opportunities. In the classroom, medical lab technician schools teach the proper ways of collecting, processing and analyzing biological substances. Students learn how to solve common problems and properly implement techniques like hemostasis and urinalysis. They are exposed to essential quality control practices in modern medical testing.

In the clinic, students learn to perform hundreds of different types of tests, split among five basic categories: Hematology, Microbiology, Clinical Chemistry, Blood Banking, and Immunology. During their practicums, participants work to become knowledgeable in each of these fundamental areas.

Associate programs in Medical Lab Technology may include:

  • Introduction to Clinical Laboratory Science
  • Clinical Microbiology
  • Hematology I

What can you be with an A.A.S. in MLT?

  • Medical Laboratory Technologist
  • Med Lab Tech II
  • Clinical Laboratory Scientist - Blood Banking

Bachelor's Degree in Medical Laboratory Science

About one in three medical lab techs have a 4-year bachelor's degree. These technicians pursue an undergraduate education to expand their skills and salary prospects. Successful graduates can often promote to a medical lab technologist or scientist position, since a bachelor's education is the entry-level requirement for these roles.

A typical undergraduate major in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) consists of 2 years of pre-professional classes and 2 years of professional coursework leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in MLS. There may be a separate admissions process for entering the Final Clinical Year of some 4-year programs.

Classes for a B.S. in Clinical or Medical Laboratory Science may include:

  • Human Parasitology Laboratory
  • Introductory Biology for Allied Health
  • Clinical Immunohematology I & II

What can you do with a B.S. in MLS?

  • Medical Laboratory Technology Instructor
  • Research Technician II - Ob/Gyn
  • Assistant Lab Manager

Featured Schools

Programs offered:

  • Health Information Management
  • Medical Assisting

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assisting - Diploma
  • Medical Assisting - Associate's
Locations:  Newport News

Programs offered:

  • A.S. - Healthcare Technology and Systems
  • Diploma - Healthcare Technology and Systems

Programs offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management - Health Informatics

Programs offered:

  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Concentration in Clinical Support
  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Concentration in Management
Locations:  Virginia Beach

Programs offered:

  • Electronic Health Records
  • Clinical Medical Assisting
Locations:  Lorton

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assisting
  • Sterile Processing Technician
  • Surgical Technology
Locations:  Richmond

Programs offered:

We found 300 schools offering "Medical Laboratory Technician" degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 300 Medical Laboratory Technician Colleges in the U.S.

Most Popular Medical Laboratory Technician Schools

1
Community College of the Air Force
Montgomery, AL  |  Total Enrollment: 378162

Degrees Offered: One but less than two years, Associate's
2
Miami Dade College
Miami, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 46834

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
3
Houston Community College System
Houston, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 40929

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
4
Northern Virginia Community College
Annandale, VA  |  Total Enrollment: 37073

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
5
Boston University
Boston, MA  |  Total Enrollment: 28318

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree
6
Valencia Community College
Orlando, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 27565

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
7
Broward Community College
Fort Lauderdale, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 27389

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
8
Tarrant County College
Fort Worth, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 26868

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
9
Austin Community College
Austin, TX  |  Total Enrollment: 25735

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
10
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT  |  Total Enrollment: 24948

Degrees Offered: Two but less than 4 years, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's, Post-Masters certificate, Doctor's, First-professional degree

Browse All 300 Colleges With Medical Laboratory Technician Programs


Title City State Enrollment
Alamance Community College Graham NC 3414
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute Albuquerque NM 17265
Alexandria Technical College Alexandria MN 2192
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland MD 2592
Amarillo College Amarillo TX 8422
American Center for Technical Arts and Sciences Philadelphia PA 217
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold MD 11761
Arapahoe Community College Littleton CO 7436
Arkansas State University - Beebe Beebe AR 4899
Arkansas State University - Main Campus State University AR 10429
Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville NC 4940
Atlanta Metropolitan College Atlanta GA 1907
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta GA 2884
Austin Community College Austin TX 25735
Baker College of Owosso Owosso MI 1905
Baptist Health Schools of Nursing and Allied Health Little Rock AR 567
Barton County Community College Great Bend KS 4612
Beaufort County Community College Washington NC 1366
Bergen Community College Paramus NJ 11993
Bevill State Community College Sumiton AL 3558
Bismarck State College Bismarck ND 2744
Blessing Hospital School of Medical Laboratory Technology Quincy IL 1
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Bloomsburg PA 7548
Bluefield College Bluefield VA 820
Boston University Boston MA 28318
Brevard Community College Cocoa FL 13265
Brigham Young University - Idaho Rexburg ID 8949
Bristol Community College Fall River MA 6054
Brookdale Community College Lincroft NJ 11552
Broome Community College Binghamton NY 5663
Broward Community College Fort Lauderdale FL 27389
Butler County Community College El Dorado KS 7911
California University of Pennsylvania California PA 5899
Camden County College Blackwood NJ 12131
Carolinas College of Health Sciences Charlotte NC 226
Central Georgia Technical College Macon GA 3787
Central Kentucky Technical College Lexington KY 1501
Central Maine Community College Auburn ME 1318
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte NC 14908
Central Texas College Killeen TX 14636
Central Virginia Community College Lynchburg VA 3919
Chi Institute - Broomall Broomall PA 548
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire WI 4503
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati OH 6675
City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College Chicago IL 8638
City University Bellevue WA 8339
Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion PA 6192
Clark State Community College Springfield OH 2808
Cleveland State Community College Cleveland TN 3056
Clinton Community College Plattsburgh NY 1697
Clover Park Technical College Lakewood WA 7921
Coastal Carolina Community College Jacksonville NC 3780
Coastal Georgia Community College Brunswick GA 1912
College of Lake County Grayslake IL 14441
Columbia College Sonora CA 3340
Columbia State Community College Columbia TN 4261
Columbia Union College Takoma Park MD 1030
Columbus State Community College Columbus OH 18094
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh PA 15556
Community College of Beaver County Monaca PA 2188
Community College of Philadelphia Philadelphia PA 15953
Community College of Rhode Island Warwick RI 15583
Community College of the Air Force Montgomery AL 378162
Copiah - Lincoln Community College Wesson MS 1885
County College of Morris Randolph NJ 7919
Cumberland Valley Technical College Pineville KY 516
Cuny Bronx Community College Bronx NY 6928
Cuny College of Staten Island Staten Island NY 11115
Cuny Hostos Community College Bronx NY 3115
Cuny New York City College of Technology Brooklyn NY 11028
Cuny Queensborough Community College Bayside NY 10598
D G Erwin Technical Center Tampa FL 853
Darton College Albany GA 2805
Davidson County Community College Thomasville NC 2356
Dekalb Technical College Clarkston GA 3315
Del Mar College Corpus Christi TX 9936
Delaware Technical and Community College - Owens Georgetown DE 3439
Delgado Community College New Orleans LA 12784
Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny IA 10998
Dixie State College of Utah Saint George UT 6350
Dutchess Community College Poughkeepsie NY 6582
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg PA 5811
Eastern Kentucky University Richmond KY 13285
Eastern Maine Community College Bangor ME 1354
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro PA 7278
El Camino College Torrance CA 24067
El Centro College Dallas TX 4333
El Paso Community College El Paso TX 18001
Elgin Community College Elgin IL 10174
Erie Community College - North Campus Williamsville NY 4665
Fairmont State University Fairmont WV 6496
Farmingdale State University of New York Farmingdale NY 5045
Felician College Lodi NJ 1544
Ferris State University Big Rapids MI 9847
Florence - Darlington Technical College Florence SC 3814
Florida Community College at Jacksonville Jacksonville FL 20838
Forsyth Technical Community College Winston Salem NC 5860
Frederick Community College Frederick MD 4343
Gadsden State Community College Gadsden AL 4787
Gainesville State College Oakwood GA 3248
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