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

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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

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

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

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

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
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
Valencia Community College
Orlando, FL  |  Total Enrollment: 27565

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

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

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

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
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
Presentation College Aberdeen SD 468
Siena Heights University Adrian MI 1972
New Mexico State University - Alamogordo Alamogordo NM 1738
Darton College Albany GA 2805
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute Albuquerque NM 17265
University of New Mexico - Main Campus Albuquerque NM 23670
Alexandria Technical College Alexandria MN 2192
Suny College of Technology at Alfred Alfred NY 2735
Western Oklahoma State College Altus OK 2296
Amarillo College Amarillo TX 8422
University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage AK 14794
Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny IA 10998
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale VA 37073
Harry M Ayers State Technical College Anniston AL 1112
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold MD 11761
Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville NC 4940
Atlanta Metropolitan College Atlanta GA 1907
Atlanta Technical College Atlanta GA 2884
Central Maine Community College Auburn ME 1318
Austin Community College Austin TX 25735
Eastern Maine Community College Bangor ME 1354
Medvance Institute - Baton Rouge Baton Rouge LA 21
Our Lady of the Lake College Baton Rouge LA 1053
Kellogg Community College Battle Creek MI 5300
Cuny Queensborough Community College Bayside NY 10598
Middlesex Community College Bedford MA 7451
Arkansas State University - Beebe Beebe AR 4899
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville IL 13351
City University Bellevue WA 8339
Ferris State University Big Rapids MI 9847
Broome Community College Binghamton NY 5663
Jefferson State Community College Birmingham AL 5652
Bismarck State College Bismarck ND 2744
Camden County College Blackwood NJ 12131
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Bloomsburg PA 7548
Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell PA 8922
Bluefield College Bluefield VA 820
Northeast Mississippi Community College Booneville MS 2796
Boston University Boston MA 28318
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
Housatonic Community College Bridgeport CT 3902
Massasoit Community College Brockton MA 6706
Cuny Bronx Community College Bronx NY 6928
Cuny Hostos Community College Bronx NY 3115
Cuny New York City College of Technology Brooklyn NY 11028
North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park MN 5261
Chi Institute - Broomall Broomall PA 548
Texas Southmost College Brownsville TX 7776
Coastal Georgia Community College Brunswick GA 1912
Harcum College Bryn Mawr PA 545
Trocaire College Buffalo NY 681
California University of Pennsylvania California PA 5899
Suny College of Technology at Canton Canton NY 2126
Stark State College of Technology Canton OH 4507
John A Logan College Carterville IL 7675
Trident Technical College Charleston SC 10246
Carolinas College of Health Sciences Charlotte NC 226
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte NC 14908
City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College Chicago IL 8638
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati OH 6675
Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion PA 6192
North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville GA 1482
Dekalb Technical College Clarkston GA 3315
St Petersburg College Clearwater FL 19900
Cleveland State Community College Cleveland TN 3056
Brevard Community College Cocoa FL 13265
Intellitec Medical Institute Colorado Springs CO 277
Columbia State Community College Columbia TN 4261
Columbus State Community College Columbus OH 18094
Medvance Institute - Cookeville Cookeville TN 88
Del Mar College Corpus Christi TX 9936
Navarro College Corsicana TX 4048
Union County College Cranford NJ 8655
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland KY 2411
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland MD 2592
El Centro College Dallas TX 4333
Georgia Perimeter College Decatur GA 13708
Grayson County College Denison TX 3318
Oakton Community College Des Plaines IL 11551
Sauk Valley Community College Dixon IL 2386
George C Wallace Community College - Dothan Dothan AL 3612
Southwestern Michigan College Dowagiac MI 3047
Lake Superior College Duluth MN 3972
The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth MN 2054
The Community College of Baltimore County Dundalk MD 18168
Illinois Central College East Peoria IL 11053
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg PA 5811
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire WI 4503
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro PA 7278
Middlesex County College Edison NJ 10398
South Arkansas Community College El Dorado AR 905
Butler County Community College El Dorado KS 7911
El Paso Community College El Paso TX 18001
Elgin Community College Elgin IL 10174
Lorain County Community College Elyria OH 10521
Fairmont State University Fairmont WV 6496
Bristol Community College Fall River MA 6054
Farmingdale State University of New York Farmingdale NY 5045
Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls MN 2082
Florence - Darlington Technical College Florence SC 3814
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