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.
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:
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?
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:
What can you be with an A.A.S. in MLT?
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:
What can you do with a B.S. in MLS?
We found 300 schools offering "Medical Laboratory Technician" degree programs in the U.S.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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 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|
|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|
|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|