Medical Laboratory Technician Courses and Training

Find out what you'll study and where training is available if you intend to pursue a career as a medical laboratory technician. Get information about the education required for these jobs as well as employment outlook and median salary. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

As a medical laboratory technician, it is your job to prepare specimens, perform manual tests, operate automated analyzers, and perform other laboratory tasks under the supervision of a technologist or laboratory manager. These skills are typically learned in postsecondary training programs or through military training programs.

Courses Military medical lab training or other lab training, chemistry, biology
Licensing Earned by passing an exam; requirements vary by state
Salary (2016)* $38,950 per year (Median salary for medical and clinical laboratory technicians)

Sources: American Society for Clinical Pathology, *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Requirements?

In 11 states and Puerto Rico, you must earn a license by examination before you can work as a medical laboratory technician. The requirements for taking the licensure examination vary by state and by which sub-specialty of medical laboratory technology you wish to work in. However, the examination requirements are similar to the requirements for earning a medical laboratory technician's certification from professional organizations such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Medical Technologists certification agency. Contact your state board of medicine to find more information on how to earn and renew your license.

Which Educational and Professional Requirements Must I Fulfill?

In order to become licensed or certified as a medical laboratory technician, you often need an associate's degree from an approved junior college, or you must take 60 hours of coursework - the equivalent of two years - in a medical laboratory educational program. Additional requirements include practical experience, a year-long military medical laboratory training program, or another form of approved laboratory training program. A bachelor's degree in medical laboratory science could be required for advancement in the field.

Most programs in medical laboratory technology include classes in chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, and psychology. Other courses you can expect to take in a 2-year degree program in clinical or medical laboratory technology include:

  • Blood banking
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Immunohematology
  • Clinical microbiology
  • Laboratory operations
  • Urinalysis/body fluids
  • Clinical parisitology

How Can I Qualify for Certification Exams?

You can often take an examination using different combinations of the qualifications discussed above. For instance, to earn a medical laboratory technician certification from the ASCP, you need an associate's degree or 60 hours' worth of coursework, which must be combined with either six semester hours each of chemistry and biology, three years of laboratory experience, a 50-week military training program, or an approved laboratory training program. Certification as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) is also available from other organizations, such as the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) and American Medical Technologists (AMT). These have similar eligibility requirements as the ASCP, but check with each organization as some requirement details may differ.

How Can I Keep Myself Sharp in This Field?

All but two of the states that have licensing requirements for medical laboratory technicians require you to take approved continuing education courses in order to renew your license. Continuing education programs are offered in different forms, such as seminars and online courses. A variety of professional organizations offer continuing education programs that are approved for license renewal. These sometimes include the same organizations that offer medical laboratory technician certifications.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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