Medical Laboratory Technician Training
Medical laboratory technicians perform diagnostic processes to detect disease. They examine and analyze cells, bodily fluids, microbes and tissues. Medical laboratories are in universities, healthcare facilities, governmental agencies and hospitals. Training to become a medical laboratory technician (MLT) requires strong math, science and problem solving aptitude. Medical laboratory technician training programs prepare students with classroom instruction and hands-on lab practical’s.
Most medical laboratory technician training programs take approximately two years to complete. Many community and technical colleges offer this program of study. Upon completion of the program, the student earns an Associates of Applied Science in Medical Technology. Most four-year universities do not offer the two-year technician degree because four-year universities offer the Bachelors of Science as a Medical Technologist.
There is a high demand for trained medical laboratory technicians, but a low rate of student graduation from the associates degree program. The simple explanation for this is there are fewer barriers to become accepted into an MLT program compared with other healthcare curriculum. Nursing programs ordinarily have several year waiting lists, difficult prerequisite standards and high grade point average standards. Most MLT program directors accept students without prior college math or science course work completion.
Although the class names and sequence of courses may differ at different colleges, the curriculum is the same. Science and math credit courses that students need to pass include college algebra, general chemistry I and II, general biology, microbiology and human biology. Other classes include the general elective and fulfillment requirements necessary to earn the AAS degree. Some classes need to be taken in a particular order because some courses are prerequisites for others. It is necessary to pass the prerequisite college algebra course before enrollment in general chemistry I.
Medical laboratory technician training programs divide the program into two parts. The first part consists of specialized course work including urinalysis, blood banking, medical microbiology, immunology and hematology. The next portion of the sequence includes an intern type program, usually called “clinicals.” Students earn college credits while working in a medical laboratory setting. The clinical part of the program allows students to perform diagnostic tests under the direct supervision of an instructor.
Accredited College Programs
When searching for an MLT school it is crucial that the school is accredited, and that the program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Other agencies accredit similar programs but anyone wishing to become a technician must attend a NAACLS accredited program. There are several online-only colleges claiming to offer a completely online medical laboratory training program. Unfortunately, some of these programs are not accredited by the NAACLS. This means the school offers some classes online that may not transfer to another accredited program. Due to the hands-on nature of the laboratory, it is necessary to take most courses in the classroom as opposed to online.
Medical Laboratory Technician Certification
Upon successful graduation from the medical laboratory technician training, the graduate is eligible to take the certification exam administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
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