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Degree Overview: Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology

Majors Overview March 2, 2014

Associate of Science (A.S.) degree programs in medical laboratory technology features students performing medical lab tests and routine procedures while supervised by lab administrators and doctors. These programs combine clinical experience and classroom instruction.

A.S. Programs in Medical Laboratory Technology

Students enrolled in medical laboratory technology programs are taught about examination of tissues and body fluids for symptoms of a disease, by employing various lab techniques and medical equipment. Students learn to perform laboratory procedures, conduct complex tests and manage labs for medical clinics, blood banks, diagnostic services companies, hospitals and doctors.

Students can expect to become adept at troubleshooting and maintaining the sophisticated instruments used in medical labs. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold GED certificates or high school diplomas. They may also have to submit to a criminal background check and physical examination. Schools also offer this program in an Associate of Science format.

Coursework

Coursework is a combination of classroom lectures and lab studies. Students can participate in clinical rotations at hospitals to gain hands-on experience. Coursework in medical laboratory technology programs may include topic areas such as:

•Medical terminology
•Hematology
•Chemistry
•Microbiology
•Urinalysis and body fluids

Career Choices

Career opportunities are available to graduates within diagnostic laboratories, physicians’ offices and hospitals. A faster-than-average job growth rate of 22% has been projected for medical lab technicians and technologists during the decade from 2012 to 2022 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This is attributed to the availability of a number of new tests as well as an aging population that would lead to an increase in demand for medical services. These professionals may choose from job titles such as:

•Medical laboratory technician
•Clinical laboratory technician
•Medical technician

Continuing Education Choices

Associate’s degree holders may seek entry-level occupations as medical technicians; however, they would need to earn a bachelor’s degree in medical technology in order to gain employment as a medical technologist. Although the requirements may vary according to the state, these professionals may require registration or licensure (BLS).

While certification may not be mandatory, it would help candidates demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the field to potential employers. The American Society for Clinical Pathology, the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel, Inc., the American Association of Bioanalysts and the American Medical Technologists are among the agencies that offer certifications.

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