The first year of the 2-year medical lab technology program is usually spent in the classroom, learning basic concepts, while the second year entails clinical and laboratory education. Various courses can be offered online depending on the school. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED for admission to this program. Although there are not always course prerequisites, candidates may need chemistry and biology credits prior to admittance. A criminal background check may also be required.
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
- 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 16% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS stated that population growth and the development of new types of tests will contribute to the employment increase. In 2015, medical and clinical laboratory technicians earned a mean annual wage of $41,420, 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.
Students interested in becoming medical lab technicians should pursue an associate's degree in medical lab technology. These programs include hands-on lab training and didactic coursework on typical lab procedures. Graduates can find entry-level work in the field, or they can enroll in bachelor's programs.