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.
|University of Alaska Anchorage||Anchorage||AK||14794|
|Bevill State Community College||Sumiton||AL||3558|
|Community College of the Air Force||Montgomery||AL||378162|
|Gadsden State Community College||Gadsden||AL||4787|
|George C Wallace Community College - Dothan||Dothan||AL||3612|
|George C Wallace State Community College - Hanceville||Hanceville||AL||4696|
|Harry M Ayers State Technical College||Anniston||AL||1112|
|Jefferson State Community College||Birmingham||AL||5652|
|Arkansas State University - Beebe||Beebe||AR||4899|
|Arkansas State University - Main Campus||State University||AR||10429|
|Baptist Health Schools of Nursing and Allied Health||Little Rock||AR||567|
|National Park Community College||Hot Springs||AR||2231|
|North Arkansas College||Harrison||AR||1817|
|Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas||Helena||AR||2364|
|South Arkansas Community College||El Dorado||AR||905|
|El Camino College||Torrance||CA||24067|
|Newbridge College||Santa Ana||CA||383|
|Pasadena City College||Pasadena||CA||22948|
|Arapahoe Community College||Littleton||CO||7436|
|Intellitec Medical Institute||Colorado Springs||CO||277|
|Housatonic Community College||Bridgeport||CT||3902|
|Manchester Community College||Manchester||CT||5135|
|George Washington University||Washington||DC||20527|
|Delaware Technical and Community College - Owens||Georgetown||DE||3439|
|Brevard Community College||Cocoa||FL||13265|
|Broward Community College||Fort Lauderdale||FL||27389|
|D G Erwin Technical Center||Tampa||FL||853|
|Florida Community College at Jacksonville||Jacksonville||FL||20838|
|Indian River Community College||Fort Pierce||FL||13186|
|Keiser College - Ft Lauderdale||Fort Lauderdale||FL||3086|
|Lake City Community College||Lake City||FL||2143|
|Miami Dade College||Miami||FL||46834|
|Sheridan Technical Center||Hollywood||FL||1487|
|St Petersburg College||Clearwater||FL||19900|
|Traviss Career Center||Lakeland||FL||4380|
|Valencia Community College||Orlando||FL||27565|
|Atlanta Metropolitan College||Atlanta||GA||1907|
|Atlanta Technical College||Atlanta||GA||2884|
|Central Georgia Technical College||Macon||GA||3787|
|Coastal Georgia Community College||Brunswick||GA||1912|
|Dekalb Technical College||Clarkston||GA||3315|
|Gainesville State College||Oakwood||GA||3248|
|Georgia Perimeter College||Decatur||GA||13708|
|Lanier Technical College||Oakwood||GA||1987|
|Macon State College||Macon||GA||4116|
|North Georgia Technical College||Clarkesville||GA||1482|
|Okefenokee Technical College||Waycross||GA||1263|
|Southwest Georgia Technical College||Thomasville||GA||1465|
|Kapiolani Community College||Honolulu||HI||6760|
|Des Moines Area Community College||Ankeny||IA||10998|
|Hawkeye Community College||Waterloo||IA||4263|
|Iowa Central Community College||Fort Dodge||IA||4294|
|Brigham Young University - Idaho||Rexburg||ID||8949|
|Blessing Hospital School of Medical Laboratory Technology||Quincy||IL||1|
|City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College||Chicago||IL||8638|
|College of Lake County||Grayslake||IL||14441|
|Elgin Community College||Elgin||IL||10174|
|Illinois Central College||East Peoria||IL||11053|
|John A Logan College||Carterville||IL||7675|
|John Wood Community College||Quincy||IL||2167|
|Kankakee Community College||Kankakee||IL||3120|
|Lewis and Clark Community College||Godfrey||IL||6629|
|Moraine Valley Community College||Palos Hills||IL||12972|
|Oakton Community College||Des Plaines||IL||11551|
|Rend Lake College||Ina||IL||2739|
|Sauk Valley Community College||Dixon||IL||2386|
|Shawnee Community College||Ullin||IL||1880|
|Southeastern Illinois College||Harrisburg||IL||2508|
|Southwestern Illinois College||Belleville||IL||13351|
|Indiana University - Northwest||Gary||IN||4649|
|Ivy Tech Community College - Northcentral||South Bend||IN||3475|
|Ivy Tech Community College - Wabash Valley||Terre Haute||IN||3325|
|University of Indianapolis||Indianapolis||IN||3599|
|Barton County Community College||Great Bend||KS||4612|
|Butler County Community College||El Dorado||KS||7911|
|Seward County Community College||Liberal||KS||1750|
|Wichita Area Technical College||Wichita||KS||3373|
|Central Kentucky Technical College||Lexington||KY||1501|
|Cumberland Valley Technical College||Pineville||KY||516|
|Eastern Kentucky University||Richmond||KY||13285|
|Hazard Community and Technical College||Hazard||KY||2241|
|Henderson Community College||Henderson||KY||1170|
|Madisonville Technical College||Madisonville||KY||556|
|Somerset Community College||Somerset||KY||2383|
|Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College||Cumberland||KY||2411|
|Delgado Community College||New Orleans||LA||12784|
|Medvance Institute - Baton Rouge||Baton Rouge||LA||21|
|Our Lady of the Lake College||Baton Rouge||LA||1053|
|Southern University at Shreveport||Shreveport||LA||1176|
|Bristol Community College||Fall River||MA||6054|
|Massasoit Community College||Brockton||MA||6706|
|Middlesex Community College||Bedford||MA||7451|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||Gardner||MA||3367|
|Springfield Technical Community College||Springfield||MA||6705|
|Allegany College of Maryland||Cumberland||MD||2592|