According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an associate's degree or certificate in clinical or medical laboratory technology is sufficient for technicians, while a bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement for technologist jobs. A master's degree can prepare students for leadership positions or research-focused careers.
10 Schools with Clinical Laboratory Programs
These ten schools provide clinical laboratory programs for interested students:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*|
|Arizona State University||Tempe, AZ||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$10,158 in-state, $25,458 out-of-state|
|Ohio State University||Columbus, OH||4-year, Public|| Certificate
|$10,037 in-state, $27,365 out-of-state|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Minneapolis, MN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$13,790 in-state, $22,210 out-of-state|
|University of Central Florida||Ocala, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$6,368 in-state, $22,467 out-of-state|
|The University of Texas at Austin||Austin, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$9,806 in-state, $34,676 out-of-state|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI||4-year, Public|| Bachelor's
|$13,560 in-state, $36,360 out-of-state|
|University of South Florida||Tampa, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$6,410 in-state, $17,324 out-of-state|
|University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee||Milwaukee, WI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$9,429 in-state, $19,603 out-of-state|
|Purdue University||West Lafayette, IN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$10,002 in-state, $28,804 out-of-state|
|University of Washington - Seattle Campus||Seattle, WA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$11,839 in-state, $34,143 out-of-state|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Consider the following when looking for clinical laboratory schools:
- Prospective students should look for programs that are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS).
- It can be helpful to find out what the pass rates are for graduates on state licensure and/or professional certification exams.
- In programs that include clinical rotations and/or internships, it can be helpful to find out where they take place, so that students can be sure that they can get experience in a setting where they might like to get a job in the future, such as the lab of a major hospital.
- Prospective students should make sure that they meet the minimum admissions requirements for the programs that they are considering; for instance, some graduate-level programs require or prefer applicants to be licensed.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs for clinical laboratory technicians introduce students to essential scientific topics, including microbiology, chemistry and hematology. They also provide basic training in patient care, medical diagnostic testing and specimen processing. Prior to graduation, students must complete general studies courses. Graduates are prepared for technician positions in clinical labs.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Individuals who intend to work as clinical laboratory technologists must earn a bachelor's degree in the field, usually offered as a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. In these programs, students take foundational courses in mathematics and the sciences, followed by more career specific electives, such as diagnostic microscopy, advanced clinical microbiology and healthcare delivery. Prior to graduation, students may also be required to complete an internship in a clinical lab setting.
Master's Degree Programs
There are several types of master's degree programs available in clinical laboratory sciences. Some Master of Science (MS) programs are available for trained technologists who have already earned a bachelor's degree in the field and want to increase their expertise through advanced coursework and research. These programs culminate in a thesis. For individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in a different field and want to redirect their careers toward clinical laboratory technology, three-year master's degree programs provide focused career preparation and licensure training.
Certificates in clinical laboratory sciences are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. For individuals who want to work as technicians or assistants, there are undergraduate certificate programs that provide a short introduction to the field. For certified technologists who want to expand their knowledge and/or meet continuing education requirements for recertification, some schools offer graduate programs in specialized areas, such as immunodiagnostics, clinical flow cytometry, transfusion service management and molecular laboratory diagnostics.
There are multiple undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs that provide students with the education they need to get positions as clinical laboratory technicians or technologists. Students looking to enroll in these programs might want to consider those that include ample clinical experiences and prepare graduates for professional certification.