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:

  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Assisting
  • Surgical Technology
Locations:  Baton Rouge

Programs offered:

  • Medical Laboratory Assistant
Locations:  Abbotsford

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assisting
Locations:  Bakersfield

Programs offered:

  • AAS in Medical Assistant
  • Certificate in Medical Assistant
  • Certificate in Patient Care Technician
  • And more...
Locations:  Woodland Park

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assisting
  • Nursing Assistant
Locations:  Wilmington

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assistant Technician - DIP
Locations:  Houston

Programs offered:

  • Health Care Aide
Locations:  Edmonton

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
Locations:  Huntington Park

Programs offered:

  • Certificate in Medical Assisting
  • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Science - Pre-Physician Assistant
  • And more...
Locations:  Nashville

Programs offered:

  • Diploma - Sterile Processing
  • Diploma - Medical Assistant
  • Diploma - Patient Care Technician
  • And more...
Locations:  Tucson

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
Blessing Hospital School of Medical Laboratory Technology Quincy IL 1
Medvance Institute - Baton Rouge Baton Rouge LA 21
Star Technical Institute Lakewood NJ 62
Portage Lakes Career Center Green OH 73
Medvance Institute - Cookeville Cookeville TN 88
Mercy College of Northwest Ohio Toledo OH 208
American Center for Technical Arts and Sciences Philadelphia PA 217
Carolinas College of Health Sciences Charlotte NC 226
Mayo School of Health Related Sciences Rochester MN 248
Intellitec Medical Institute Colorado Springs CO 277
The Academy of Health Care Professions Houston TX 293
Pima Medical Institute Seattle WA 297
Newbridge College Santa Ana CA 383
Presentation College Aberdeen SD 468
Cumberland Valley Technical College Pineville KY 516
Harcum College Bryn Mawr PA 545
Chi Institute - Broomall Broomall PA 548
Madisonville Technical College Madisonville KY 556
Baptist Health Schools of Nursing and Allied Health Little Rock AR 567
Thomas University Thomasville GA 594
Trocaire College Buffalo NY 681
Manor College Jenkintown PA 684
South Texas Vocational Technical Institute - Mcallen Mcallen TX 713
Bluefield College Bluefield VA 820
D G Erwin Technical Center Tampa FL 853
Pennsylvania State University - Penn State New Kensington Upper Burrell PA 888
South Arkansas Community College El Dorado AR 905
Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell SD 905
Luna Community College Las Vegas NM 973
Columbia Union College Takoma Park MD 1030
Our Lady of the Lake College Baton Rouge LA 1053
Harry M Ayers State Technical College Anniston AL 1112
Henderson Community College Henderson KY 1170
Southern University at Shreveport Shreveport LA 1176
Okefenokee Technical College Waycross GA 1263
Halifax Community College Weldon NC 1308
Central Maine Community College Auburn ME 1318
Eastern Maine Community College Bangor ME 1354
Beaufort County Community College Washington NC 1366
Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Hazleton Hazleton PA 1377
University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle ME 1427
Southwest Georgia Technical College Thomasville GA 1465
North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville GA 1482
Jefferson Community College Steubenville OH 1482
Sheridan Technical Center Hollywood FL 1487
Central Kentucky Technical College Lexington KY 1501
Felician College Lodi NJ 1544
Southwestern Community College Sylva NC 1665
Marion Technical College Marion OH 1679
Clinton Community College Plattsburgh NY 1697
New Mexico State University - Alamogordo Alamogordo NM 1738
Seward County Community College Liberal KS 1750
Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate TN 1753
North Arkansas College Harrison AR 1817
Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College Orangeburg SC 1861
Shawnee Community College Ullin IL 1880
Southeastern Community College Whiteville NC 1883
Copiah - Lincoln Community College Wesson MS 1885
Zane State College Zanesville OH 1898
Baker College of Owosso Owosso MI 1905
Atlanta Metropolitan College Atlanta GA 1907
Washington State Community College Marietta OH 1911
Coastal Georgia Community College Brunswick GA 1912
Lamar State College - Orange Orange TX 1939
Northeastern Oklahoma A&m College Miami OK 1947
Siena Heights University Adrian MI 1972
Lanier Technical College Oakwood GA 1987
Seminole State College Seminole OK 2033
The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth MN 2054
Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls MN 2082
University of Rio Grande Rio Grande OH 2107
Suny College of Technology at Canton Canton NY 2126
Lake City Community College Lake City FL 2143
John Wood Community College Quincy IL 2167
New Hampshire Community Technical College - Nashua/claremont Nashua NH 2176
Community College of Beaver County Monaca PA 2188
Alexandria Technical College Alexandria MN 2192
National Park Community College Hot Springs AR 2231
Hazard Community and Technical College Hazard KY 2241
Western Piedmont Community College Morganton NC 2248
Galveston College Galveston TX 2255
Villa Julie College Stevenson MD 2259
Western Oklahoma State College Altus OK 2296
Wytheville Community College Wytheville VA 2339
Davidson County Community College Thomasville NC 2356
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas Helena AR 2364
Somerset Community College Somerset KY 2383
Sauk Valley Community College Dixon IL 2386
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland KY 2411
West Virginia Northern Community College Wheeling WV 2486
Mcp Hahnemann University Philadelphia PA 2500
Southeastern Illinois College Harrisburg IL 2508
Southern West Virginia Community and Techn College Mt Gay WV 2574
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland MD 2592
University of New Mexico - Gallup Campus Gallup NM 2594
Mid Plains Community College North Platte NE 2607
Three Rivers Community College Poplar Bluff MO 2641
Mississippi Delta Community College Moorhead MS 2673
Mineral Area College Park Hills MO 2702
Suny College of Technology at Alfred Alfred NY 2735
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