Online Medical Laboratory Science Graduate Certificate Programs

Medical laboratory science is a burgeoning field with myriad opportunities at the intersection of medicine and clinical laboratory science. An online graduate certificate in medical laboratory science is ideal for professionals who are unable to commit to a full-fledged master’s program, but wish to advance their skills and knowledge of the subject.

The curriculum for this certificate program is graduate-level, like that of a master’s program in medical laboratory science, but with a more limited number of courses. Most of these programs require students to work in an approved laboratory alongside a mentor. Students explore the fundamentals of clinical laboratory work, such as laboratory testing, the detection of diseases, and quality control and assurance. In addition, students gain insight into subjects such as microbiology, hematology, immunology, immunohematology, and clinical chemistry.

On successful completion, graduates may be eligible to take certification exams offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathology, and pursue a career as a medical lab scientist (or medical technologist). Medical lab scientists delve into the theoretical aspects of clinical laboratory work, and may devise new means of laboratory testing. This specialized profession pays a median annual salary of $82,090 in the U.S., according to the BLS.

The following guide discusses six exceptional online graduate certificate programs in medical laboratory science. Additionally, it covers three notable faculty members from these programs.

Featured Online Medical Laboratory Science Graduate Certificate Programs

George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences

George Washington University offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in medical laboratory science, comprising 48 credit-hours. The program is divided into two components: MLS courses (32 credit-hours) and clinical practicum courses (16 credit-hours). On successful completion of this certificate program, graduates will be eligible for taking national board of certification exams as a medical laboratory scientist, including those offered by the Board of Certification of the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

While all courses are taught online, students are expected to complete four months of clinical practicums. The theoretical courses lay a solid foundation for the practical phase of the program. For the clinical phase, students must attend laboratory for eight hours a day, five days a week. The rigorous curriculum explores topics such as clinical bacteriology, parasitology, hematology, immunology, and serology. Students learn about the latest diagnostics techniques, systems used in clinical practice, identification of bacteria and viruses, and collection of specimens. The laboratory operations courses introduce them to quality control and assurance, lab safety, and federal regulations.

Graduates of the program may investigate and determine causes of disease, perform and analyze tests, and use the latest biomedical instruments. They may be eligible to work in roles such as medical laboratory scientists or technologists in physician offices, hospital laboratories, pharmaceutical firms, and government health facilities.

  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Scientists (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: Three semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: $595 per credit-hour

Rutgers School of Health Professions

The Rutgers School of Health Professions offers an online graduate certificate in clinical laboratory science for medical lab professionals holding a baccalaureate certificate and a BOC-ASCP certificate. This advanced certificate program helps professionals develop new skills and gain a deeper knowledge of their field.

The certificate program is divided into four short courses of study, the credits of which can be applied towards the Rutgers MS-CLS-MLS track or the doctorate program in clinical laboratory science. While the courses are taught online, students have the opportunity to meet faculty and colleagues through real-time online interactions. All courses are taught by expert professionals and international guest lecturers in the field of clinical laboratory science.

The program covers specialized courses such as molecular diagnostics, advanced hematology, immunology, clinical chemistry, and microbiology. Students learn how to conduct laboratory data analysis, detect infectious diseases, and deliver quality healthcare. The program also offers a great opportunity to develop management skills and learn about healthcare regulations.

  • Location: Newark, New Jersey
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24-36 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $380 per credit-hour

University of Massachusetts–Lowell

This four-course online graduate certificate program in clinical pathology is designed for medical lab professionals, healthcare professionals, and biomedical scientists. The courses offer theoretical as well as technical know-how of human anatomy, microbiology, hematology, cellular pathology, clinical chemistry, and immunology.

Students enrolled in the program learn to examine disease processes, the treatment of disease, etiology, and pathogenesis. The courses also include a primer in healthcare management, with topics such as health informatics and health information systems. Students gain an insight into how healthcare institutions are run, role of management, physicians, and nurses, and how these systems can be optimized.

This program is ideal for laboratory personnel, nurses, medical professionals, biotech professionals, and those working in the pharmaceutical industry, as it allows them to enhance their knowledge of clinical pathology.

  • Location: Lowell, Massachusetts
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12-60 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $575 per credit-hour

Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University offers a post-baccalaureate certificate program in clinical laboratory science (CLS). This program is ideal for students who have a bachelor’s degree in chemical or biological sciences and wish to obtain a certification in clinical laboratory science. While the program is offered online, it also incorporates clinical experiences at community laboratories.

The program comprises 39 credits. The courses are focused on core CLS subjects such as biological fluid analysis, molecular diagnostics, clinical biochemistry, hemostasis, clinical immunology, and clinical microbiology. Students also undertake practical laboratory courses in areas such as biochemistry, microbiology, hematology, immunology,and immunohematology.

Individuals completing the program are equipped to work in the clinical laboratory areas of chemistry, microbiology, immunohematology, hematology, and immunology. At the end of the program, graduates have a thorough understanding of the best practices and principles of clinical laboratory science, along with laboratory mathematics, laboratory information systems, safety, ethics, and regulation.

  • Location: Fort Myers, Florida
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12-16 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $1300.66 per credit-hour

Weber State University, Dumke College of Health Professions

Weber State University offers a certificate as a clinical laboratory assistant. This program is ideal for professionals keen on working in a laboratory, detecting and diagnosing diseases as well as performing lab tests.

The program is available on campus as well as online. In order to apply, students must have access to a clinical laboratory. Students are expected to work with a lab professional at a facility of their choosing, in order to perform the practical components of the course. The lab professional must serve as a mentor. The curriculum includes core laboratory skills such as basic laboratory methods, quality assurance, information transfer and recording, and recognition of problems. Students will also explore laboratory instrumentation in areas such as clinical chemistry, urinalysis, serology, and hematology. For the laboratory component of the course, they are also expected to complete practical courses in clinical chemistry, hematology, and clinical microbiology.

On completion of the program, students will receive a certificate as a clinical laboratory assistant (CLA). This is the equivalent of a CLA level four, which is recognized by Intermountain Health Care. Students can also take certification exams offered by the ASCP, after the program. This certificate program is designed for medical professionals such as medical assistants, nursing practitioners, and phlebotomists, to further their knowledge and skills, and take their career to the next level.

  • Location: Ogden, Utah
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $270 per credit-hour

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Texas Tech University offers second degree and certificate online programs for students holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. While the program is available online, at the end of each of the first two semesters students must attend a six-day on-site laboratory session. Students completing the program successfully are eligible to take the national medical laboratory scientist (MLS) certification exam through the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

The certificate program includes topics such as clinical immunology, foundations of hemostasis, clinical chemistry, and foundations of clinical microbiology. Additionally, students gain an insight into the principles of molecular diagnosis, analysis of body fluids, advanced hematology, and microbiology.

  • Location: Lubbock, Texas
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $460 per credit-hour

Admissions Requirements

Here is a list of common admission requirements for all of the programs listed above:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university is the minimum requirement for admission to these programs.
  • Official transcripts of all universities attended must be submitted. The course prerequisites for each of the programs must have been completed within the past seven years.
  • Applicants from countries where English is not the official language must submit TOEFL or IELTS exam scores.
  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 is typically required to be eligible for the program.

Professors to Know in Online Medical Laboratory Science Graduate Certificate Programs

Katie Bennett is a laboratory director and associate professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She oversees the TTUHSC molecular diagnostics laboratory and teaches classes in laboratory science, primary care, and molecular pathology. Her research on molecular testing and clinical chemistry has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Dental Hygiene and the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. She holds a certification as a technologist in molecular biology from the American Society of Clinical Pathology. Further, she is also a registered clinical chemist. Several honours have been bestowed on her including the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017. Dr. Bennett completed her PhD from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and BS from West Texas A&M University.

Carol Rentas is an associate professor of integrated health sciences at the George Washington University. She brings extensive real-world experience to the classroom, having worked in clinical laboratory science for 17 years. Additionally, she has worked in education for 18 years. As a medical laboratory professional, she worked in several hospitals before switching tracks to academia. Currently, she teaches online courses in laboratory operations, clinical chemistry, urinalysis and body fluids, and immunohematology. She received her MEd from University of Maryland and BS from University of the State of New York.

Julie Zemplinski is program director of clinical laboratory sciences at the Marieb College of Health and Human Services at the Florida Gulf Coast University. She is a certified clinical laboratory scientist, with over 20 years of experience in the field. Her specialties include microbiology, virology, and mycology. Notably, she has also served as administrative director of clinical laboratory at the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital, US Virgin Islands. Presenting at several national conferences, she frequently talks about microbiology, virology, reduction in lab errors, and use of educational technology tools. She received her master’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences from University of Wisconsin and a second master’s degree in health service administration from Cardinal Stritch University.