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:

  • Medical Assisting
  • Nursing Assistant
Locations:  Wilmington

Programs offered:

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

Programs offered:

  • Health Care Aide
Locations:  Edmonton

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assistant Technician (10-Month diploma program)
  • Patient Care Technician (10-month diploma program)
Locations:  Jacksonville

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assisting (Hybrid)
Locations:  Summerdale

Programs offered:

  • Medical Assisting
Locations:  Bakersfield

Programs offered:

  • Clinical Medical Assisting - Diploma
Locations:  Houma

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
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
Columbia College Sonora CA 3340
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
Darton College Albany GA 2805
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
Thomas University Thomasville GA 594
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
Boston University Boston MA 28318
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
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
Springfield Technical Community College Springfield MA 6705
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland MD 2592
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