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.
|Ocean County College||Toms River||NJ||7143|
|Okefenokee Technical College||Waycross||GA||1263|
|Orange County Community College||Middletown||NY||5374|
|Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College||Orangeburg||SC||1861|
|Our Lady of the Lake College||Baton Rouge||LA||1053|
|Pasadena City College||Pasadena||CA||22948|
|Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Hazleton||Hazleton||PA||1377|
|Pennsylvania State University - Penn State New Kensington||Upper Burrell||PA||888|
|Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas||Helena||AR||2364|
|Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom||Lakewood||WA||9238|
|Pima Medical Institute||Seattle||WA||297|
|Portage Lakes Career Center||Green||OH||73|
|Portland Community College||Portland||OR||24209|
|Reading Area Community College||Reading||PA||2885|
|Rend Lake College||Ina||IL||2739|
|Renton Technical College||Renton||WA||5065|
|Roane State Community College||Harriman||TN||5099|
|Rochester Community and Technical College||Rochester||MN||4778|
|Rose State College||Midwest City||OK||7471|
|Saint Louis Community College - Forest Park||Saint Louis||MO||6749|
|Saint Paul College - A Community and Technical College||Saint Paul||MN||5247|
|Salt Lake Community College||Salt Lake City||UT||21596|
|San Jacinto College - Central Campus||Pasadena||TX||10507|
|Sandhills Community College||Pinehurst||NC||2933|
|Sauk Valley Community College||Dixon||IL||2386|
|Seminole State College||Seminole||OK||2033|
|Seward County Community College||Liberal||KS||1750|
|Shawnee Community College||Ullin||IL||1880|
|Shawnee State University||Portsmouth||OH||3280|
|Sheridan Technical Center||Hollywood||FL||1487|
|Shoreline Community College||Shoreline||WA||6600|
|Siena Heights University||Adrian||MI||1972|
|Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania||Slippery Rock||PA||6952|
|Somerset Community College||Somerset||KY||2383|
|South Arkansas Community College||El Dorado||AR||905|
|South Texas Vocational Technical Institute - Mcallen||Mcallen||TX||713|
|Southeast Community College Area||Lincoln||NE||7396|
|Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College||Cumberland||KY||2411|
|Southeastern Community College||Whiteville||NC||1883|
|Southeastern Illinois College||Harrisburg||IL||2508|
|Southern University at Shreveport||Shreveport||LA||1176|
|Southern West Virginia Community and Techn College||Mt Gay||WV||2574|
|Southwest Georgia Technical College||Thomasville||GA||1465|
|Southwest Tennessee Community College - Union Campus||Memphis||TN||12194|
|Southwestern Community College||Sylva||NC||1665|
|Southwestern Illinois College||Belleville||IL||13351|
|Southwestern Michigan College||Dowagiac||MI||3047|
|Southwestern Oklahoma State University||Weatherford||OK||4860|
|Spartanburg Technical College||Spartanburg||SC||3030|
|Springfield Technical Community College||Springfield||MA||6705|
|St Petersburg College||Clearwater||FL||19900|
|St Philips College||San Antonio||TX||7921|
|Star Technical Institute||Lakewood||NJ||62|
|Stark State College of Technology||Canton||OH||4507|
|Suny College of Technology at Alfred||Alfred||NY||2735|
|Suny College of Technology at Canton||Canton||NY||2126|
|Suny Westchester Commmunity College||Valhalla||NY||10819|
|Tarrant County College||Fort Worth||TX||26868|
|Texas Southmost College||Brownsville||TX||7776|
|The Academy of Health Care Professions||Houston||TX||293|
|The College of Saint Scholastica||Duluth||MN||2054|
|The Community College of Baltimore County||Dundalk||MD||18168|
|Thomas Nelson Community College||Hampton||VA||7379|
|Three Rivers Community College||Poplar Bluff||MO||2641|
|Traviss Career Center||Lakeland||FL||4380|
|Tri - County Technical College||Pendleton||SC||3612|
|Trident Technical College||Charleston||SC||10246|
|Tulsa Community College||Tulsa||OK||16270|
|Tyler Junior College||Tyler||TX||8319|
|Union County College||Cranford||NJ||8655|
|University of Alaska Anchorage||Anchorage||AK||14794|
|University of Indianapolis||Indianapolis||IN||3599|
|University of Maine at Presque Isle||Presque Isle||ME||1427|
|University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey||Newark||NJ||4666|
|University of New Mexico - Gallup Campus||Gallup||NM||2594|
|University of New Mexico - Main Campus||Albuquerque||NM||23670|
|University of Rio Grande||Rio Grande||OH||2107|
|University of Utah||Salt Lake City||UT||24948|
|Valencia Community College||Orlando||FL||27565|
|Villa Julie College||Stevenson||MD||2259|
|Wake Technical Community College||Raleigh||NC||9654|
|Washington State Community College||Marietta||OH||1911|
|Weber State University||Ogden||UT||16050|
|Wenatchee Valley College||Wenatchee||WA||2777|
|West Virginia Northern Community College||Wheeling||WV||2486|
|Western Oklahoma State College||Altus||OK||2296|
|Western Piedmont Community College||Morganton||NC||2248|
|Western Wisconsin Technical College||La Crosse||WI||4928|
|Wharton County Junior College||Wharton||TX||4571|
|Wichita Area Technical College||Wichita||KS||3373|
|Wytheville Community College||Wytheville||VA||2339|
|York Technical College||Rock Hill||SC||3597|
|Youngstown State University||Youngstown||OH||11787|
|Zane State College||Zanesville||OH||1898|