An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) is the most common degree program completed by medical lab techs. Most of these degrees take two years, but there are a few 12-month fast-track options. Some programs offer a specialization in biotechnology. Graduates of AAS programs may be prepared for professional certification, which is required for some positions.
Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology
The AAS in MLT is a 2-year undergraduate degree program that prepares students to immediately enter the workforce. Some areas students will be trained in include blood coagulation, hematology, blood banking and clinical chemistry. Students can work in many different sectors after graduation, such as the government, public health, hospital and doctor's office. Coursework topics in these programs might include:
- Clinical microbiology
- College writing
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and clinical lab technicians made a median annual wage of $38,970 as of May 2015. From 2014-2024, the number of jobs for these techs is expected to grow 18%, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Certification for medical lab techs is necessary in many states. The American Medical Technologists (AMT), National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel and other similar organizations offer an official certification process for laboratory personnel. Certified lab techs must have a certain amount of experience and pass a comprehensive exam.
Medical organizations or local colleges may offer medical lab tech workshops that address specialized topics, such as recent immunology trends or autoimmune disorders. The technology associated with medical laboratory technology often improves, and seminars may aim to keep technicians current by discussing new advances in the field. Organizations like AMT offer continuing education courses online, including classes on hematology, medical assisting and immunology. Medical lab technicians may choose to pursue an advanced degree in medical technology or a related science field. This may provide them with additional career opportunities, such as medical lab technologist or laboratory manager.
Though in-class sessions and hands-on clinical experiences, associate's programs in medical lab technology prepare students to enter the workforce as medical or clinical laboratory technicians. Program graduates may enjoy good job prospects, since the field is expected to grow 18% from 2014-2024.