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.
|Siena Heights University||Adrian||MI||1972|
|New Mexico State University - Alamogordo||Alamogordo||NM||1738|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Northeast Mississippi Community College||Booneville||MS||2796|
|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|
|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|
|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|