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Medical Laboratory Technology Program Summary

Description of the Profession - print all

Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT) are health care professionals that work under the supervision of a physician or medical technologist (MT) by performing routine clinical laboratory tests for lab techthe diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medical laboratory technicians analyze body fluids such as: blood, urine, sputum, stool, and cerebrospinal fluid using chemical, hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological diagnostic methods. The results of these tests assist doctors in verifying cause of illness, making medical decisions and determining treatment options.

Medical Laboratory Technicians are skilled in all areas of the clinical laboratory and able to perform routine clinical laboratory tests in clinical biochemistry, hematology, coagulation, microbiology, bacteriology, virology, parasitology, mycology, immunology, immunohematology (blood bank), and molecular diagnostics. They perform simple and highly complex laboratory tests utilizing automated equipment, computers, and precision instruments. In addition, Medical Laboratory Technicians are responsible for confirming the accuracy of test results, and reporting laboratory findings to pathologists and other physicians.

Upon completion of an accredited program, Medical Laboratory Technicians are eligible to complete a national certification exam administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) to become certified as a medical laboratory technician. Medical Laboratory Technicians who are certified and in good standing with the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) are entitled to use the credential "MLT" after their names.

Employment Demand

According to the “Jobs Rated 2010: A Ranking of 200 Jobs from Best to Worst” by Andrew Strieber, medical laboratory technicians are ranked 37 on the list of the best 200 jobs. Despite starting salaries ranging from $32,000 to $42,000, 44 percent of health care facilities in the United States are reporting difficulties in hiring laboratory technicians/technologists according to American Society for Clinical Pathology. Projections show an even greater need for laboratory technicians by 2018 when approximately 10 percent of clinical laboratory professionals will reach retirement age. Other factors impacting the field are the increasing number of tests needed for general patient care, disease control, and the long-term care of an aging population. Industry experts predict test usage will increase 17 percent as the population ages

Program Length

The Tidewater Community College Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology is five semesters in length and consists of 69 credit hours:  This curriculum is designed to prepare students for employment as medical laboratory technicians upon graduation and certification.

To be admitted to the program students must comply with all general admission requirements for Division of Health Professions Programs.

In addition to meeting the admissions requirements for TCC and the Division of Health Professions programs, students must meet the following specific requirements to be admitted to the Medical Laboratory Technology program. Students must:

1.   Be a high school graduate or have a GED.
2.   Meet current requirements for admission to TCC.
3.   Attend a Medical Laboratory Technology Information Session.
4.   Submit a completed application for the Medical Laboratory Technology Program. Admission to the program is based on the date the completed application was received in the Medical Laboratory Technology/ Phlebotomy Program Director’s office.
5.   Complete the following prerequisite courses with a grade of ‘C’ or better: BIO 101 General Biology I; BIO 141 Anatomy and Physiology I; and MTH 158 College Algebra.
6.   Maintain a curricular GPA of 2.5 or better at the last school or college attended.
7.   Have a personal interview with the Program Director.
8.   Assure that transcripts from all other colleges attended are on file at TCC prior to program application deadline date. These transfer credits must be evaluated before any transfer credit is granted. Applications are accepted from January 15 through May 15 for fall admission. Admission will be on a competitive placement basis of fully qualified candidates.

Once accepted, students must:

    1. Submit a satisfactory health status as certified by submission of a completed Health Professions Physical form signed by a licensed healthcare provider within the last twelve months. Select this link for The Health Physical form or pick up one in the Division of Health Professions Administrative Office.
    2. Submit Immunization record - Health Professions students must comply with both Virginia Law and Clinical facility requirements related to immunizations. Healthcare professions include inherent health and safety risks. All health sciences students are required to be compliant with Virginia laws related to immunizations for the protection of themselves and patients. A copy of your immunization records must be provided at the time of application.
    3. Submit documentation of a negative TB test or, if a previous positive TB test was obtained, record of a negative chest X-ray.
    4. Completion of a criminal background check and possibly a drug screen, depending on clinical site requirements, prior to placement for clinical rotations.
    5. Maintain a ‘C’ grade point average or better to remain in good standing. Students whose academic performance is below a ‘C’ grade point average will be readmitted to the program at the discretion of the Program Director and according to space.