Clinical laboratory technicians, also called medical laboratory technicians, perform tests on patient tissues or fluids for diagnostic purposes. The clinical lab science certificate program teaches students how to interact with patients and medical personnel in a professional healthcare setting, operate diagnostic instruments and prepare human samples for examination. Under the supervision of clinical laboratory scientists, they handle blood, cells, fluids and chemical solutions.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent and a strong background in science. Students should enroll in programs that are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.
Clinical Laboratory Science Certificate
Most certificate programs in clinical laboratory science take about one year to complete. Some examples of core courses include:
- Clinical chemistry
- Medical microbiology
- Professional clinical practices
- Molecular biology
Employment Outlook and Career Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and clinical laboratory technicians may see an 11% job growth from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). The majority of these professionals worked for hospitals, while others worked for diagnostic labs, doctors' offices and colleges and universities. In May 2018, they earned a median annual wage of $52,330.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Each state has different licensure requirements for clinical laboratory technicians. While optional, many professionals in the field gain national certification from organizations such as the American Medical Technologists, the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel or the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Certificate graduates will need to obtain an associate's degree from an accredited school to apply for certification. Gaining credentials from a national certifying agency can provide medical technicians with an extra assurance of competency and can be helpful for job seekers. Clinical laboratory technologists commonly hold bachelor's degrees.
Clinical laboratory science certificate programs give students an educational starting point for careers as clinical lab technicians, as they'll receive training in core sciences and standard practices in the field. Graduates can transfer their credits to an associate's degree program and earn professional certification, which might give them a boost in the job market.