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
Zane State College Zanesville OH 1898
Youngstown State University Youngstown OH 11787
York Technical College Rock Hill SC 3597
Wytheville Community College Wytheville VA 2339
Wichita Area Technical College Wichita KS 3373
Wharton County Junior College Wharton TX 4571
Western Wisconsin Technical College La Crosse WI 4928
Western Piedmont Community College Morganton NC 2248
Western Oklahoma State College Altus OK 2296
West Virginia Northern Community College Wheeling WV 2486
Wenatchee Valley College Wenatchee WA 2777
Weber State University Ogden UT 16050
Washington State Community College Marietta OH 1911
Wake Technical Community College Raleigh NC 9654
Villa Julie College Stevenson MD 2259
Victoria College Victoria TX 4022
Valencia Community College Orlando FL 27565
University of Utah Salt Lake City UT 24948
University of Rio Grande Rio Grande OH 2107
University of New Mexico - Main Campus Albuquerque NM 23670
University of New Mexico - Gallup Campus Gallup NM 2594
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Newark NJ 4666
University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle ME 1427
University of Indianapolis Indianapolis IN 3599
University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage AK 14794
Union County College Cranford NJ 8655
Tyler Junior College Tyler TX 8319
Tulsa Community College Tulsa OK 16270
Trocaire College Buffalo NY 681
Trident Technical College Charleston SC 10246
Tri - County Technical College Pendleton SC 3612
Traviss Career Center Lakeland FL 4380
Three Rivers Community College Poplar Bluff MO 2641
Thomas University Thomasville GA 594
Thomas Nelson Community College Hampton VA 7379
The Community College of Baltimore County Dundalk MD 18168
The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth MN 2054
The Academy of Health Care Professions Houston TX 293
Texas Southmost College Brownsville TX 7776
Temple College Temple TX 3404
Tarrant County College Fort Worth TX 26868
Suny Westchester Commmunity College Valhalla NY 10819
Suny College of Technology at Canton Canton NY 2126
Suny College of Technology at Alfred Alfred NY 2735
Stark State College of Technology Canton OH 4507
Star Technical Institute Lakewood NJ 62
St Philips College San Antonio TX 7921
St Petersburg College Clearwater FL 19900
Springfield Technical Community College Springfield MA 6705
Spartanburg Technical College Spartanburg SC 3030
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Weatherford OK 4860
Southwestern Michigan College Dowagiac MI 3047
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville IL 13351
Southwestern Community College Sylva NC 1665
Southwest Tennessee Community College - Union Campus Memphis TN 12194
Southwest Georgia Technical College Thomasville GA 1465
Southern West Virginia Community and Techn College Mt Gay WV 2574
Southern University at Shreveport Shreveport LA 1176
Southeastern Illinois College Harrisburg IL 2508
Southeastern Community College Whiteville NC 1883
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland KY 2411
Southeast Community College Area Lincoln NE 7396
South Texas Vocational Technical Institute - Mcallen Mcallen TX 713
South Arkansas Community College El Dorado AR 905
Somerset Community College Somerset KY 2383
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock PA 6952
Siena Heights University Adrian MI 1972
Shoreline Community College Shoreline WA 6600
Sheridan Technical Center Hollywood FL 1487
Shawnee State University Portsmouth OH 3280
Shawnee Community College Ullin IL 1880
Seward County Community College Liberal KS 1750
Seminole State College Seminole OK 2033
Schoolcraft College Livonia MI 9016
Sauk Valley Community College Dixon IL 2386
Sandhills Community College Pinehurst NC 2933
San Jacinto College - Central Campus Pasadena TX 10507
Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City UT 21596
Saint Paul College - A Community and Technical College Saint Paul MN 5247
Saint Louis Community College - Forest Park Saint Louis MO 6749
Rose State College Midwest City OK 7471
Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester MN 4778
Roane State Community College Harriman TN 5099
Renton Technical College Renton WA 5065
Rend Lake College Ina IL 2739
Reading Area Community College Reading PA 2885
Presentation College Aberdeen SD 468
Portland Community College Portland OR 24209
Portage Lakes Career Center Green OH 73
Pima Medical Institute Seattle WA 297
Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom Lakewood WA 9238
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas Helena AR 2364
Pennsylvania State University - Penn State New Kensington Upper Burrell PA 888
Pennsylvania State University - Penn State Hazleton Hazleton PA 1377
Pasadena City College Pasadena CA 22948
Our Lady of the Lake College Baton Rouge LA 1053
Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College Orangeburg SC 1861
Orange County Community College Middletown NY 5374
Okefenokee Technical College Waycross GA 1263
Ocean County College Toms River NJ 7143
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