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.
|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|
|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|
|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 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|
|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|
|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|
|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|