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