Medical Laboratory Science Schools

It may be reassuring to know that trained medical laboratory technologists, often called clinical laboratory scientists (CLS) or medical laboratory scientists (MLS), are behind some of the more complex procedures being carried out on patient specimens in a laboratory. In fact, because most of those entering the MLS field need to have a bachelor’s degree and broad knowledge about biology, chemistry, and microbiology, these professionals may even be able to specialize in a number of areas, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A few of the specialties available include: immunology (carry out specimen tests on the human immune system and its reaction to foreign bodies), immunohematology (collect, classify and prepare blood for use in transfusions), and molecular biology (carry out protein and nucleic acid tests on samples of cells).

Of course, there are many other specialty fields that an MLS can enter, including cytotechnology, microbiology and clinical chemistry. Compared to clinical laboratory technicians, who usually have an associate degree, medical laboratory scientists are qualified and certified to carry out more complex procedures. When employed in a small lab, the MLS may do a variety of tests, but when working in a larger lab they may be able to specialize. Read on to learn more about the educational requirements for the MLS and what types of certifications may be available to help them discover the best possible job outcomes.

MLS fast facts
Projected Jobs Created35,100
Projected Job Growth11%
Low Salary$29,910
Average Salary (Median)$52,330
High Salary$80,330
Entry-Level EDU Bachelor's Degree
Sourced from BLS, June 2018

Degree & Certification Programs

A bachelor’s degree is typically needed to start off in an MLS career, according to the BLS, and this usually means an investment in a four-year full-time education. That said, students in some programs may be able to complete a degree part-time or even to accelerate their speed of learning for an earlier graduation date. Below are a few MLS programs that prospective lab scientists may want to consider:

  • Arizona State University – The bachelor’s of applied science (BAS) degree available at Phoenix-based Arizona State University leads to an education in medical laboratory science. The program features both on-campus options and a selection of courses in an online format. The program includes clinical rotations through which students gain practical experience including lab work in hematology, immunology, and many other fields, and use of current technology and automation similar to what would be found in a lab setting. The professional part of the program can be completed in as little as 16 months.

  • Ohio State University – Located in Columbus, Ohio State University offers a bachelor’s degree in MLS that includes four full semesters of specific MLS courses. A 10-week internship is included as part of the program to help students prepare to seek certification through the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Indeed, the school reports, that as of 2018, 93 percent of students who sought ASCP MLS certification successfully passed the exam and received certification over the past four years. Students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field also can complete coursework for a second degree at the school or pursue a certificate of study to further their skills in this area.

  • University of North Dakota – Offering a degree in MLS since 1949, the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks allows students to either pursue a 2+2 route, comprised of pre-professional and professional education, a 4+1 route for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, or a medical laboratory technician (MLT) to MLS route, which also offers online learning options. In fact, the MLT to MLS program can be completed totally online while working at a medical facility. A total of 126 credits are needed to graduate from the MS 2+2 program, which would be for students just starting college, with the professional portion in MLS beginning during the fall of the junior year and including a summer semester of 13 credits between the junior and senior years. 

  • University of Washington – Based in Seattle, the University of Washington offers an MLS program through the university’s department of laboratory medicine that features pre-professional and professional portions. Subjects including bacteriology, biochemistry, clinical hematology, mycology, virology and others are featured in the professional part of instruction and students also complete their final year (three quarters) in the lab at the university. Students also have the opportunity to learn about more complex laboratory procedures by completing an internship.

  • University of Vermont – A bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science is offered through the University of Vermont, located in Burlington. In fact, two concentration areas are available: clinical laboratory science and public health. In the spring semester of the senior year, students start intensive laboratory experiences and begin to work one-on-one with a staff technologist. The school has affiliations with several labs in the Northeast part of the country, including in Vermont, New York and Connecticut.

  • Weber State University – Based in Ogden, Utah, Weber State University provides a bachelor or science degree in medical technology (MT), as well as an associate degree to pursue a career as a medical laboratory technician (MLT). The bachelor’s degree offers two tracks. The first is for students who are intending to use their MT degree to work in a medical lab while the second is intended for those who plan to go on to graduate-level education, including veterinarian, physician assistant or medical school. An online MT program also is available.

List of Clinical/Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website grads (2018)
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati Ohio www.uc.edu 181
University of North Dakota Grand Forks North Dakota und.edu 116
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee Wisconsin uwm.edu 93
Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan www.msu.edu 89
Austin Peay State University Clarksville Tennessee www.apsu.edu 71
Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus Ohio www.osu.edu 69
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Lubbock Texas www.ttuhsc.edu 58
San Francisco State University San Francisco California www.sfsu.edu 55
The University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston Texas www.utmb.edu 53
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond Virginia www.vcu.edu 53
University of Rhode Island Kingston Rhode Island www.uri.edu 52
Idaho State University Pocatello Idaho www.isu.edu 45
CUNY Hunter College New York New York www.hunter.cuny.edu 43
University of Utah Salt Lake City Utah www.utah.edu 42
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-San German San German Puerto Rico www.sg.inter.edu 39
Stony Brook University Stony Brook New York www.stonybrook.edu 39
California State University-Dominguez Hills Carson California www.csudh.edu 38
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth North Dartmouth Massachusetts www.umassd.edu 35
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell Massachusetts www.uml.edu 35
University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences San Juan Puerto Rico www.rcm.upr.edu 34
Brigham Young University-Provo Provo Utah www.byu.edu 33
University of Delaware Newark Delaware www.udel.edu 32
Farmingdale State College Farmingdale New York www.farmingdale.edu 31
Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud Minnesota www.stcloudstate.edu 31
Illinois State University Normal Illinois illinoisstate.edu 30
Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Bowling Green Ohio www.bgsu.edu 29
Northern Illinois University Dekalb Illinois www.niu.edu 29
University of Kentucky Lexington Kentucky www.uky.edu 28
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Stevens Point Wisconsin www.uwsp.edu 28
Wichita State University Wichita Kansas www.wichita.edu 28
The University of West Florida Pensacola Florida uwf.edu 27
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill North Carolina www.unc.edu 27
West Virginia University Morgantown West Virginia www.wvu.edu 27
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico-Ponce Ponce Puerto Rico www.pucpr.edu 25
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock Arkansas www.uams.edu 25
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle Washington www.washington.edu 25
DeVry University-Arizona Phoenix Arizona www.devry.edu 24
Grand Valley State University Allendale Michigan www.gvsu.edu 24
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse La Crosse Wisconsin www.uwlax.edu 24
Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti Michigan www.emich.edu 23
Ferris State University Big Rapids Michigan www.ferris.edu 23
The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso Texas www.utep.edu 23
University of Central Florida Orlando Florida www.ucf.edu 23
Wayne State University Detroit Michigan www.wayne.edu 23
Eastern Kentucky University Richmond Kentucky www.eku.edu 22
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-New Orleans New Orleans Louisiana www.lsuhsc.edu 22
University at Buffalo Buffalo New York www.buffalo.edu 22
University of Vermont Burlington Vermont www.uvm.edu 22
University of Maryland Baltimore Baltimore Maryland www.umaryland.edu 21
Andrews University Berrien Springs Michigan www.andrews.edu 20
CUNY York College Jamaica New York www.york.cuny.edu 20
Georgia Southern University Statesboro Georgia www.georgiasouthern.edu 20
Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Metro San Juan Puerto Rico www.metro.inter.edu 20
Oakland University Rochester Hills Michigan www.oakland.edu 20
Tarleton State University Stephenville Texas www.tarleton.edu 20
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham Alabama www.uab.edu 20
University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage Alaska www.uaa.alaska.edu 20
Marist College Poughkeepsie New York www.marist.edu 19
Seattle University Seattle Washington www.seattleu.edu 19
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg Texas www.utrgv.edu 19
University of Kansas Lawrence Kansas ku.edu 19
Loma Linda University Loma Linda California home.llu.edu 18
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Albany New York www.acphs.edu 18
Long Island University Brookville New York liu.edu/cwpost 18
Texas State University San Marcos Texas www.txstate.edu 18
University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield Illinois www.uis.edu 18
Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi Corpus Christi Texas www.tamucc.edu 17
Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia Pennsylvania www.jefferson.edu 17
Universidad Ana G. Mendez-Gurabo Campus Gurabo Puerto Rico ut.suagm.edu 17
Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers Florida www.fgcu.edu 16
Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke Virginia www.jchs.edu 16
Wright State University-Main Campus Dayton Ohio www.wright.edu 16
Carolinas College of Health Sciences Charlotte North Carolina www.carolinascollege.edu 15
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis Indiana www.iupui.edu 15
Marquette University Milwaukee Wisconsin www.marquette.edu 15
Mercy College Dobbs Ferry New York www.mercy.edu 15
Saginaw Valley State University University Center Michigan www.svsu.edu 15
Salisbury University Salisbury Maryland www.salisbury.edu 15
University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe Louisiana www.ulm.edu 15
Upstate Medical University Syracuse New York www.upstate.edu 15
Dominican University of California San Rafael California www.dominican.edu 14
Texas Southern University Houston Texas www.tsu.edu 14
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio Texas www.uthscsa.edu 14
University of Connecticut Storrs Connecticut uconn.edu 14
McNeese State University Lake Charles Louisiana www.mcneese.edu 13
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Lancaster Pennsylvania www.pacollege.edu 13
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston Texas www.mdanderson.org 13
Winona State University Winona Minnesota www.winona.edu 13
Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro Arkansas www.astate.edu 12
St John's University-New York Queens New York www.stjohns.edu 12
The University of Texas at Austin Austin Texas www.utexas.edu 12
University of Bridgeport Bridgeport Connecticut www.bridgeport.edu 12
University of Hartford West Hartford Connecticut www.hartford.edu 12
Kean University Union New Jersey www.kean.edu 11
Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines Iowa www.mchs.edu 11
University of Rochester Rochester New York www.rochester.edu 11
Bellarmine University Louisville Kentucky www.bellarmine.edu 10
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas Nevada www.csn.edu 10
College of Staten Island CUNY Staten Island New York www.csi.cuny.edu 10
Michigan Technological University Houghton Michigan www.mtu.edu 10
Minnesota State University-Mankato Mankato Minnesota mankato.mnsu.edu 10
North Dakota State University-Main Campus Fargo North Dakota www.ndsu.edu 10
Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette Indiana www.purdue.edu 10
University of Michigan-Flint Flint Michigan www.umflint.edu 10
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport Shreveport Louisiana www.lsuhscshreveport.edu 9
Stevenson University Stevenson Maryland www.stevenson.edu 9
University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash College Blue Ash Ohio www.ucblueash.edu 9
University of North Texas Denton Texas www.unt.edu 9
York College of Pennsylvania York Pennsylvania www.ycp.edu 9
DLP Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center Johnstown Pennsylvania www.conemaugh.org 8
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Baton Rouge Louisiana www.franu.edu 8
Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate Tennessee www.lmunet.edu 8
Monmouth University West Long Branch New Jersey www.monmouth.edu 8
Rush University Chicago Illinois www.rushu.rush.edu 8
Saint Louis University Saint Louis Missouri www.slu.edu 8
University of South Dakota Vermillion South Dakota www.usd.edu 8
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Oshkosh Wisconsin www.uwosh.edu 8
University of Wyoming Laramie Wyoming www.uwyo.edu 8
Baptist Health College Little Rock Little Rock Arkansas www.bhclr.edu 7
Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion Pennsylvania www.clarion.edu 7
East Carolina University Greenville North Carolina www.ecu.edu 7
Howard University Washington District of Columbia www.howard.edu 7
Louisiana Tech University Ruston Louisiana www.latech.edu 7
Northeastern State University Tahlequah Oklahoma www.nsuok.edu 7
Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences Cape Girardeau Missouri www.sehcollege.edu 7
Southern Adventist University Collegedale Tennessee www.southern.edu 7
University of Iowa Iowa City Iowa www.uiowa.edu 7
University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa Florida www.usf.edu 7
University of Toledo Toledo Ohio www.utoledo.edu 7
West Liberty University West Liberty West Virginia westliberty.edu 6
Dixie State University Saint George Utah dixie.edu 6
George Mason University Fairfax Virginia www.gmu.edu 6
Kent State University at Kent Kent Ohio www.kent.edu 6
Morgan State University Baltimore Maryland www.morgan.edu 6
The University of Montana Missoula Montana www.umt.edu 6
University of California-Davis Davis California www.ucdavis.edu 6
University of the Sciences Philadelphia Pennsylvania www.usciences.edu 6
Youngstown State University Youngstown Ohio ysu.edu 6
Auburn University Auburn Alabama www.auburn.edu 5
Ball State University Muncie Indiana www.bsu.edu 5
East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania www.esu.edu 5
Miami University-Oxford Oxford Ohio miamioh.edu 5
Minot State University Minot North Dakota www.minotstateu.edu 5
Mississippi State University Mississippi State Mississippi www.msstate.edu 5
Norfolk State University Norfolk Virginia www.nsu.edu 5
Northwest Missouri State University Maryville Missouri www.nwmissouri.edu 5
St Luke's College Sioux City Iowa www.stlukescollege.edu 5
SUNY College at Plattsburgh Plattsburgh New York www.plattsburgh.edu 5
Texas Woman's University Denton Texas www.twu.edu 5
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison Wisconsin www.wisc.edu 5
University of Maine Orono Maine umaine.edu 4
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences Memphis Tennessee www.bchs.edu 4
Brookline College-Phoenix Phoenix Arizona www.brooklinecollege.edu 4
Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus Indiana Pennsylvania www.iup.edu 4
Nazareth College Rochester New York www.naz.edu 4
Oklahoma Christian University Edmond Oklahoma www.oc.edu 4
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona Minnesota www.smumn.edu 4
The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington Texas www.uta.edu 4
Baylor University Waco Texas www.baylor.edu 3
Bradley University Peoria Illinois www.bradley.edu 3
Eastern Illinois University Charleston Illinois www.eiu.edu 3
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro Pennsylvania www.edinboro.edu 3
Holy Family University Philadelphia Pennsylvania www.holyfamily.edu 3
Indiana State University Terre Haute Indiana www.indstate.edu 3
Itawamba Community College Fulton Mississippi www.iccms.edu 3
Lake Superior State University Sault Ste Marie Michigan www.lssu.edu 3
Missouri State University-Springfield Springfield Missouri www.missouristate.edu 3
Ohio Northern University Ada Ohio www.onu.edu 3
Pittsburg State University Pittsburg Kansas www.pittstate.edu 3
Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick New Jersey newbrunswick.rutgers.edu 3
Salem State University Salem Massachusetts www.salemstate.edu 3
Salve Regina University Newport Rhode Island www.salve.edu 3
Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau Missouri www.semo.edu 3
Southwest Minnesota State University Marshall Minnesota www.smsu.edu 3
St. Joseph's College-Long Island Patchogue New York sjcny.edu 3
St. Joseph's College-New York Brooklyn New York www.sjcny.edu 3
SUNY at Fredonia Fredonia New York www.fredonia.edu 3
University of Central Oklahoma Edmond Oklahoma www.uco.edu 3
University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu Hawaii manoa.hawaii.edu 3
Washburn University Topeka Kansas www.washburn.edu 3
Indiana University-Southeast New Albany Indiana www.ius.edu 2
Bemidji State University Bemidji Minnesota www.bemidjistate.edu 2
Blue Mountain College Blue Mountain Mississippi www.bmc.edu 2
Indiana University-East Richmond Indiana www.iue.edu 2
Keuka College Keuka Park New York www.keuka.edu 2
King's College Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania www.kings.edu 2
Marian University Indianapolis Indiana www.marian.edu 2
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston Mississippi www.mgccc.edu 2
Northern State University Aberdeen South Dakota www.northern.edu 2
Purdue University Northwest Hammond Indiana www.pnw.edu 2
Roberts Wesleyan College Rochester New York www.roberts.edu 2
The College of Saint Rose Albany New York www.strose.edu 2
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville Knoxville Tennessee www.utk.edu 2
Western Illinois University Macomb Illinois www.wiu.edu 2
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green Kentucky www.wku.edu 2
Arkansas Tech University Russellville Arkansas www.atu.edu 1
Brescia University Owensboro Kentucky www.brescia.edu 1
Briar Cliff University Sioux City Iowa www.briarcliff.edu 1
Caldwell University Caldwell New Jersey www.caldwell.edu 1
DePaul University Chicago Illinois www.depaul.edu 1
Dordt College Sioux Center Iowa www.dordt.edu 1
Drury University Springfield Missouri www.drury.edu 1
Elmira College Elmira New York www.elmira.edu 1
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Campus Madison New Jersey www.fdu.edu 1
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus Teaneck New Jersey www.fdu.edu 1
Gannon University Erie Pennsylvania www.gannon.edu 1
Kansas State University Manhattan Kansas www.k-state.edu 1
Lincoln University Jefferson City Missouri www.lincolnu.edu 1
Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis Missouri www.maryville.edu 1
Missouri Southern State University Joplin Missouri www.mssu.edu 1
Missouri Western State University Saint Joseph Missouri www.missouriwestern.edu 1
Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids Iowa www.mtmercy.edu 1
Quincy University Quincy Illinois www.quincy.edu 1
Ramapo College of New Jersey Mahwah New Jersey www.ramapo.edu 1
SUNY College at Brockport Brockport New York www.brockport.edu 1
Union College Lincoln Nebraska www.ucollege.edu 1
University of Arizona Tucson Arizona www.arizona.edu 1
University of Central Missouri Warrensburg Missouri www.ucmo.edu 1
University of Evansville Evansville Indiana www.evansville.edu 1
University of Idaho Moscow Idaho www.uidaho.edu 1
University of Indianapolis Indianapolis Indiana uindy.edu 1
University of Mary Bismarck North Dakota www.umary.edu 1
University of Sioux Falls Sioux Falls South Dakota www.usiouxfalls.edu 1
Wartburg College Waverly Iowa www.wartburg.edu 1
Washington Adventist University Takoma Park Maryland www.wau.edu 1
Western New Mexico University Silver City New Mexico www.wnmu.edu 1
Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania www.wilkes.edu 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Hybrid & Online programs

The George Washington University
Online Healthcare MBA
HealthInformatics@GW - The George Washington University
Online Master's - Health Informatics
*sponsored

Students looking for online programming as part of their MLS education typically will find two options: a hybrid bachelor’s degree program with some campus visit required or a track for employed MLTs to complete a bachelor’s degree and further their careers.

In the first track, students may be able to take online courses for general education requirements or electives while traveling to campus for MLS courses. The second track can be appropriate for those who have earned an associate’s degree and are already employed as medical laboratory technicians, but who want to complete a four-year degree. The two years needed to finish this degree may necessitate that students complete clinical, internship and/or practicum experiences, but many schools may allow these to be done in the area in which the student is located.

A few of the available bachelor’s degree completion programs include:

  • Georgia Southern University – With campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, and Hinesville, Georgia Southern University offers an MLT-to-MLS degree that can be completed by taking 48 credits in the field, 15 of which must be done in clinical practicums. Another three credits are to be taken in laboratory management and education, which provides students insight into the financials, leadership, management, and personnel administration that is required at a lab. To be accepted into the program, students already must be employed at an approved clinical site.  The degree can be finished in as little as 16 months with some graduates going on to be employed at the Centers for Disease Control, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the American Red Cross.

  • University of Cincinnati – Medical laboratory technicians (MLTs) already working in the field who want to complete two more years of education for a bachelor’s degree in MLS can turn to the University of Cincinnati for an online education. Each term in the program, students are assigned to a specific cohort of students who are led by an instructor and with whom they interact through chat sessions, message boards, and other formats. An MLS coordinator will help students to find a clinical laboratory to use as their clinical training site for site-based portions of the program.

  • University of New Mexico – Many of the courses for the University of New Mexico’s MLS program are offered online through the school of medicine with required on-campus lab training. Students can complete their MLS bachelor’s degree in just one-and-half-years of full-time study or three years of part-time study. Admission dates are August and January of each year. Students complete their practical experiences at sites affiliated with the school in the state, such as Quest Diagnostics, TriCore Reference Laboratories, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, or a participating hospital.  

  • University of Tennessee – Students at the University of Tennessee can complete a bachelor’s degree in MLS by taking 36 credits in medical laboratory science with the program offered via this university’s health science center. The school has a number of affiliate sites in Tennessee, including Baptist Memphis Hospital and the Veterans Affair Medical Center, through which students can complete the clinical and practical hours of their program. Graduates can expect to gain clinical hours at more than one hospital in the state. Students need to be licensed to seek employment in the state and this program will make them eligible to seek the MLS credential offered through the ASCP.

It is important to know that to even be accepted into an online MLT-to-MLS program, students often need to have graduated from a program accredited through the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). (More information is provided on this below.) Other requirements also may be needed for acceptance, including a specific minimum GPA or even letters of recommendation. Finally, there are more schools, in addition to those listed above, that offer completion programs.

School City State Website grads (2018)
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati Ohio www.uc.edu 181
University of North Dakota Grand Forks North Dakota und.edu 116
Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan www.msu.edu 89
George Washington University Washington District of Columbia www.gwu.edu 74
Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus Ohio www.osu.edu 69
The University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston Texas www.utmb.edu 53
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond Virginia www.vcu.edu 53
Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem North Carolina www.wssu.edu 36
National University La Jolla California www.nu.edu 28
University of Kentucky Lexington Kentucky www.uky.edu 28
University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha Nebraska www.unmc.edu 27
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill North Carolina www.unc.edu 27
University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg Mississippi www.usm.edu 27
South Dakota State University Brookings South Dakota www.sdstate.edu 26
Marshall University Huntington West Virginia www.marshall.edu 25
Augusta University Augusta Georgia www.augusta.edu 23
Northern Michigan University Marquette Michigan www.nmu.edu 23
Old Dominion University Norfolk Virginia www.odu.edu 20
Tarleton State University Stephenville Texas www.tarleton.edu 20
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center Memphis Tennessee www.uthsc.edu 15
University of Mississippi University Mississippi www.olemiss.edu 14
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Flex Milwaukee Wisconsin flex.wisconsin.edu 13
Santa Fe College Gainesville Florida www.sfcollege.edu 12
Sullivan University Louisville Kentucky www.sullivan.edu 5
East Mississippi Community College Scooba Mississippi www.eastms.edu 4
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Core & Elective Courses

There are more than 220 MLS programs accredited through the NAACLS, which means that students should have plenty of opportunities in the U.S. to be accepted into a program that has gone through rigorous outside review by this agency. Often, in MLS degree programs, there are pre-professional and professional components that need to be completed. The pre-professional phase may include classes in biology, chemistry and statistics as well as general education requirements that could range from English to the social sciences or arts.

Students need to successfully complete their pre-professional courses, including obtaining a specific GPA, to be able to move on to the professional part of the program. The latter part will more strictly focus on the MLS courses, and should last the latter two years of the degree. Some of the classes offered within an MLS degree program could include:

  • Blood banking
  • Clinical parasitology
  • Hematology & hemostasis
  • Introduction to clinical chemistry
  • Introduction to clinical microbiology
  • Advanced clinical microbiology
  • Laboratory operations math

Students may also need to complete clinical rotations, which are typically done after all of a student's MLS coursework has been finished. Lab hours are usually done on campus, and if the program is offered online, (as may be an option in some MLS completion programs), students may need to report to the campus lab or to an approved lab elsewhere to be able to complete this portion of their education.

Accreditation

The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) oversees accreditation of MLS programs, in addition to programs in other related fields, such as cytogenetic technology (CT), histotechnician (HT), diagnostic molecular scientist (DMS) and more. Students may choose to attend an NAACLS accredited program as a form of assurance that they will receive a quality education from qualified instructors. The NAACLS, a nonprofit, independently accredits schools using a process that begins with the submission of a self-study, which is then reviewed by the NAACLS and then sent back to the school for response and follow-up. From there, a site visit by NAACLS is scheduled.

Accreditation, when granted, can be given on a probationary basis, two year basis or even for five years, depending on the number of non-compliance issues found. Perhaps, more important, is that the NAACLS offers a search page on its website, allowing students to look for accredited programs by program name, institution name or state.

In addition to programmatic accreditation through NAACLS, students should be sure to verify a school's institutional accreditation. Offered through US Department of Education-approved accrediting bodies such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), this accreditation applies to the school as a whole. The institutional accrediting process is similar to programmatic accreditation, but must be more broad to cover all programs.

Career Outlook

Demand for the MLS occupation is expected to grow by 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, reports the BLS (2017). Numerous factors are expected to contribute to this growth, including an aging Baby Boomer population in need of more services, such as lab work that can be helpful in identifying conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes or cancer.

Another factor is that more people are gaining access to healthcare insurance, under a provision of federal law, enabling them to seek our more healthcare services and even lab work as a potential result. Because of this anticipated job growth, some 19,800 new positions for those in MLS are expected to become available from 2016 to 2026 (BLS 2017). It is important to note that this outlook data is applicable to all medical and clinical laboratory technologists and therefore may differ somewhat from the specific outlook for medical laboratory scientists.

Career Facts MLS
Related CareersChemist, Cytotechnologist, Histotechnologist, Materials Scientist, Microbiology Technologist, Veterinary Technologist
Common Job TitlesMedical Technologist, Medical Laboratory Scientist, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, Clinical Laboratory Technologist
Technology & EquipmentMicroscopes, Advanced Analytical Equipment, Precision Testing Equipment, Computers
Sourced from BLS, June 2018

Licensing & Certification

Upon graduation from a bachelor's level program, students may want to seek certification of their skills through an organization, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). The fee for its MLS certification exam is $240 (as of July 2018) and a bachelor's degree from an accredited MLS program or from a program that includes biology, chemistry and math courses in the past five years is required. There are also three other routes that can make applicants eligible for examination. When a student's eligibility documentation has been approved by the ASCP board of certification (BOC), they can schedule their exam through a Pearson Professional Center. If students pass the exam, they will receive their certification within three to five weeks of notification of their exam scores, and the certification will be good for three years.

Why seek certification through the ASCP BOC? As the site reports, it allows professionals to demonstrate their competence in carrying out a variety of responsibilities in the profession. Certification also can result in better job opportunities, higher pay and even garnered respect from work associates. The ASCP BOC reports that its certifications (including in many fields in addition to MLS), are sought by seven times as many lab professionals as compared with lab certification offered through different credentialing organizations.

In addition to certification, state licensure is required in some areas. According to the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), state licensure is required in 11 states: California, Hawaii, Florida, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Nevada, West Virginia, Montana, Georgia as well as Puerto Rico. The licensing process is different in each state but typically requires proof of certification, education, and fingerprinting. Any aspiring MLS who plans to work in a state requiring licensure should be sure to research that specific state's requirements prior to enrolling in an MLS program to ensure they are able to meet all standards upon graduation.