For individuals who are curious about pursuing an online degree medical lab technology, there are a number of factors they may want to take into consideration. For example, whether or not the program meets important industry standards and can help students become certified is an important factor, as well as if clinical requirements are a part of the program.
How to Select an Online Medical Lab Tech School
Medical laboratory technologists prepare samples for analysis, monitoring testing procedures and analyzing results for infection or chemical composition. Normally, prospective medical lab technologists must complete a bachelor's degree in order to find employment, and may later go on to a master's degree. Clinical requirements cannot be completed online, but some online programs have working relationships with clinics.
There are no uniform licensing requirements for medical lab technologists, but most employers require their technologists to be certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Students should be aware of this requirement and ensure that whatever education program they choose meets ASCP standards.
Students should find out whether a given online program will lead to employment. Most degrees require students to complete clinical training before graduation in order to be in compliance with ASCP criteria.
There are several possible ways for students to fulfill the laboratory requirements, depending on the institution and degree program they choose. One option available to students already employed in a medical laboratory is to complete their clinical requirements at their place of employment. Another option is for students to use a local laboratory approved with their educational institution. Some institutions provide their own laboratories in various locations across the country that students can attend for their clinical requirements.
Online Degree Options for Medical Laboratory Technologists
Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology
Online undergraduate programs in medical technology usually utilize educational software that allows students to complete assignments and interact with instructors over the Internet. Schools that offer online programs typically offer traditional programs as well, and online students who live near the school may be have access to the same resources as traditional students. Required courses usually include:
- Diagnostic molecular biology
Master of Science in Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics
Master's degrees in laboratory diagnostics are aimed at laboratory technologists interested in continuing their education. These degrees are sometimes offered fully online for professionals who need to complete continuing education requirements. Master's degree programs often cover recent advances in the field to allow working professionals to remain up-to-date in their knowledge and skills. Courses and requirements vary depending on the degree focus students choose, but usually include significant amounts of clinical research requirements in areas such as health education and clinical decision-making. Coursework includes:
- Molecular diagnostics
- Emerging infections and technology
- Research methods in health sciences
- Advanced hematology
- Advanced flow cytology
Schools with Online Medical Lab Technologist Programs
The University of Cincinnati offers an online Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science. This program prepares students to take the exam offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology for the Medical Laboratory Scientist credential. Students must complete a number of clinical courses at an on-site location and in their final semester, complete a capstone research project that they must write and then present to peers and faculty. Applicants to the programs must already have an associate's degree from an accredited CLT/MLT or have completed the same type of coursework and obtained a CLT/MLT certification from the American Society of Clinical Pathology. They also must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and submit past transcripts, letters of recommendation and a letter of intent to apply.
Weber State University also offers an online Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology degree. The program allows students to choose from two tracks: one track prepares students for work as medical lab assistants or attend graduate programs like physician assistant programs. Track two is designed for students who ultimately want to become doctors, dentists, or veterinarians. In order to be considered for this program, applicants must currently be working in a hospital or clinical laboratory setting, as they must have access to a laboratory in order to complete the required clinical hours of the program.
Michigan State University offers an online Master of Science in Biomedical Laboratory Operations. The program is designed for students who have already worked within the medical laboratory field and are seeking more advanced careers as managers, policymakers, and administrators. Because of the practical focus of this program, no thesis is required. However, students will have to pass an oral examination in the final semester of their program that will cover their research and course work. This degree requires applicants to have obtained a bachelor's degree in a related field of study, have a minimum GPA of a 3.0, and have at least two years of work experience in a clinical lab setting.
To conclude, there are options for students who want to pursue online degrees in medical lab technology, both at the bachelor and master's level. Students may want to look into programs carefully to make sure they understand the admission requirements, the goals of the program, and whether or not they will need to complete a clinical experience.