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.
|George C Wallace Community College - Dothan||Dothan||AL||3612|
|George C Wallace State Community College - Hanceville||Hanceville||AL||4696|
|George Washington University||Washington||DC||20527|
|Georgia Perimeter College||Decatur||GA||13708|
|Grayson County College||Denison||TX||3318|
|Greenville Technical College||Greenville||SC||10786|
|Guilford Technical Community College||Jamestown||NC||8008|
|Halifax Community College||Weldon||NC||1308|
|Harcum College||Bryn Mawr||PA||545|
|Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg||Harrisburg||PA||7572|
|Harry M Ayers State Technical College||Anniston||AL||1112|
|Hawkeye Community College||Waterloo||IA||4263|
|Hazard Community and Technical College||Hazard||KY||2241|
|Henderson Community College||Henderson||KY||1170|
|Hibbing Community College - A Technical and Community College||Hibbing||MN||3143|
|Hinds Community College||Raymond||MS||16032|
|Housatonic Community College||Bridgeport||CT||3902|
|Houston Community College System||Houston||TX||40929|
|Hudson Valley Community College||Troy||NY||9304|
|Illinois Central College||East Peoria||IL||11053|
|Indian River Community College||Fort Pierce||FL||13186|
|Indiana University - Northwest||Gary||IN||4649|
|Intellitec Medical Institute||Colorado Springs||CO||277|
|Iowa Central Community College||Fort Dodge||IA||4294|
|Ivy Tech Community College - Northcentral||South Bend||IN||3475|
|Ivy Tech Community College - Wabash Valley||Terre Haute||IN||3325|
|J Sargeant Reynolds Community College||Richmond||VA||10091|
|Jackson State Community College||Jackson||TN||3726|
|Jefferson Community College||Steubenville||OH||1482|
|Jefferson State Community College||Birmingham||AL||5652|
|John A Logan College||Carterville||IL||7675|
|John Wood Community College||Quincy||IL||2167|
|Kankakee Community College||Kankakee||IL||3120|
|Kapiolani Community College||Honolulu||HI||6760|
|Keiser College - Ft Lauderdale||Fort Lauderdale||FL||3086|
|Kellogg Community College||Battle Creek||MI||5300|
|Kutztown University of Pennsylvania||Kutztown||PA||8033|
|Lake City Community College||Lake City||FL||2143|
|Lake Superior College||Duluth||MN||3972|
|Lakeland Community College||Kirtland||OH||7722|
|Lamar State College - Orange||Orange||TX||1939|
|Lanier Technical College||Oakwood||GA||1987|
|Laredo Community College||Laredo||TX||7322|
|Lewis and Clark Community College||Godfrey||IL||6629|
|Lincoln Memorial University||Harrogate||TN||1753|
|Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania||Lock Haven||PA||3948|
|Lorain County Community College||Elyria||OH||10521|
|Luna Community College||Las Vegas||NM||973|
|Macon State College||Macon||GA||4116|
|Madison Area Technical College||Madison||WI||14474|
|Madisonville Technical College||Madisonville||KY||556|
|Manchester Community College||Manchester||CT||5135|
|Mansfield University of Pennsylvania||Mansfield||PA||3113|
|Marion Technical College||Marion||OH||1679|
|Massasoit Community College||Brockton||MA||6706|
|Mayo School of Health Related Sciences||Rochester||MN||248|
|Mclennan Community College||Waco||TX||5731|
|Mcp Hahnemann University||Philadelphia||PA||2500|
|Medvance Institute - Baton Rouge||Baton Rouge||LA||21|
|Medvance Institute - Cookeville||Cookeville||TN||88|
|Mercer County Community College||West Windsor||NJ||7751|
|Mercy College of Northwest Ohio||Toledo||OH||208|
|Meridian Community College||Meridian||MS||3096|
|Miami Dade College||Miami||FL||46834|
|Mid Plains Community College||North Platte||NE||2607|
|Middlesex Community College||Bedford||MA||7451|
|Middlesex County College||Edison||NJ||10398|
|Midlands Technical College||West Columbia||SC||9702|
|Milwaukee Area Technical College||Milwaukee||WI||14296|
|Mineral Area College||Park Hills||MO||2702|
|Minnesota State Community and Technical College||Fergus Falls||MN||2082|
|Minnesota West Community and Technical College||Granite Falls||MN||3296|
|Mississippi Delta Community College||Moorhead||MS||2673|
|Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College||Perkinston||MS||8768|
|Mitchell Technical Institute||Mitchell||SD||905|
|Montgomery County Community College||Blue Bell||PA||8922|
|Moraine Valley Community College||Palos Hills||IL||12972|
|Morrisville State College||Morrisville||NY||3033|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||Gardner||MA||3367|
|Nassau Community College||Garden City||NY||19621|
|National Park Community College||Hot Springs||AR||2231|
|New Hampshire Community Technical College - Nashua/claremont||Nashua||NH||2176|
|New Mexico State University - Alamogordo||Alamogordo||NM||1738|
|Newbridge College||Santa Ana||CA||383|
|North Arkansas College||Harrison||AR||1817|
|North Georgia Technical College||Clarkesville||GA||1482|
|North Hennepin Community College||Brooklyn Park||MN||5261|
|Northeast Mississippi Community College||Booneville||MS||2796|
|Northeast Wisconsin Technical College||Green Bay||WI||7500|
|Northeastern Oklahoma A&m College||Miami||OK||1947|
|Northern Michigan University||Marquette||MI||8427|
|Northern Virginia Community College||Annandale||VA||37073|
|Oakton Community College||Des Plaines||IL||11551|