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Associate of Medical Laboratory Technician: Degree Overview

An associate's degree program in medical laboratory technology can help students develop the skills needed to become medical laboratory technicians. Their work responsibilities range from collecting biological specimens and conducting tests to analyzing test results and developing other testing procedures.

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Essential Information

The first year of this 2-year program is usually spent in the classroom, learning basic concepts, while the second year entails clinical and laboratory education. This program may be offered in various associate's degree formats, such as Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED for admission to this program. Although there are not typically course prerequisites for this program, candidates may need chemistry and biology credits prior to admittance. A criminal background check may also be required.

  • Program Levels: Associate's Degree, Bachelor's Degree
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, chemistry and biology coursework and a background check may be required
  • Online Availability: Yes, online courses vary by school, check with admissions office for specific courses
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Other Requirements: Internship

Associate's Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology

Students learn the skills they'll need in classroom lectures as well as laboratory settings. Some programs also require clinical internships. Specific courses may be offered through distance learning, this can vary between schools. Students may take courses in the following topics:

  • Urinalysis and coagulation
  • Microbiology
  • Immunohematology
  • Cultural diversity in healthcare
  • Laboratory medicine
  • Computer information systems

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical and clinical laboratory technicians is expected to increase 30% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). The bureau stated that population growth and the development of new types of tests will contribute to the employment increase. In 2014, medical and clinical laboratory technicians earned a median annual wage of $38,370, reported the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates may seek immediate employment as medical laboratory technicians or may advance their education and pursue bachelor's degree programs. Earning an advanced degree in medical technology, along with professional certification, can lead to technologist or leadership positions.

Medical laboratory technicians often obtain voluntary certification upon graduating. In addition to being a demonstration of knowledge and skills in the profession, certification is also preferred by many employers. Organizations offering certification include the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) and the American Association of Bioanalysts (ABB). Although requirements may vary by agency, most certification programs require applicants to pass a written examination. Some states may also require laboratory personnel to be licensed.

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