Medical technology students learn to perform a wide variety of laboratory tests in hospitals, doctor's offices, and other health care settings. Given the hands-on nature of the field, online programs at the associate's and bachelor's level typically require students to visit a campus for hands-on lab work and experiential learning; some programs may also require an internship. After completing one of these programs, graduates could meet the education requirements for certification from the American Medical Technologists or the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Students seeking fully online programs in related fields could consider associate's or certificate options in health information technology or medical billing and coding.
A.A.S. in Medical Laboratory Technology
While most states, employers and certification organizations require medical technologists to hold a bachelor's degree, some technologists begin their careers as technicians, for which only an associate's degree is required. Most programs are structured to allow students to take classwork online and perform laboratory work on campus. Students are also required to participate in clinical internships to earn critical hands-on experience.
Students in a medical laboratory technology associate's program typically study the following:
- Medical Reports
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B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science
Some online bachelor's degree programs are designed for students who already hold an associate's degree in clinical laboratory technology or medical laboratory technology. These programs are tailored to build upon the skills that students have already gained through education and work experience. Online programs give students the freedom to fit their classes into their busy work schedules. Students must also complete an internship in their local communities.
Advanced studies are typical in a 4-year program, and may include:
- Body chemistry and fluids
- Medical humanities
Certification & Continuing Education
Many employers prefer to hire medical technologists who are certified. A number of professional organizations offer certification for medical technologists, including the American Medical Technologists and the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
Most states require medical technologists to be licensed, and in some states professional certification fulfills some of the licensing requirements. Associations offer certification examinations in general medical technology and in specializations, such as chemistry, blood banks and hematology. Examinations typically are proctored and must be taken in person.
Certification requirements vary between associations, but most require on-the-job experience and graduation from an accredited medical laboratory technology program, which are available on-campus, online and in hybrid format. Continuing education credits are often required to maintain certification status.
Depending on a student's educational history and career goals, there are several options for online medical technology training. Both associate's and bachelor's degree programs in medical laboratory technology are available; however, due to the hands-on nature of the field, these programs typically offer coursework online while still requiring some on-campus lab courses or other in-person training.