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

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Quick Fact
In 2018, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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
Galveston College Galveston TX 2255
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
Kilgore College Kilgore TX 4000
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
Madonna University Livonia MI 3968
Manchester Community College Manchester CT 5135
Manor College Jenkintown PA 684
Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Mansfield PA 3113
Marion Technical College Marion OH 1679
Marshall University Huntington WV 15640
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
Navarro College Corsicana TX 4048
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
Northeastern University Boston MA 23897
Northern Michigan University Marquette MI 8427
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale VA 37073
Oakton Community College Des Plaines IL 11551
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