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.
|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|
|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|
|South Texas Vocational Technical Institute - Mcallen||Mcallen||TX||713|
|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|
|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|
|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|