Online Graduate Certificates in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS)

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 cannot 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.

Upon successful completion, graduates may be eligible to take certification exams offered by the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and pursue a medical lab scientist (or medical technologist) career. Medical lab scientists delve into the theoretical aspects of clinical laboratory work and may devise new means of laboratory testing.

The following guide discusses nine exceptional online graduate certificate programs in medical laboratory science.

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 credits. The program is divided into MLS courses (32 credits) and clinical practicum courses (16 credits). Upon successfully completing this certificate program, graduates will be eligible to take the national exams as medical laboratory scientists, including those offered by the Board of Certification of the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

While all courses are taught online, students must complete four months of clinical practicums. Those with clinical laboratory experience may be eligible to waive individual clinical practicum requirements.

The theoretical courses lay a solid foundation for the practical phase of the program. The rigorous 48-credit 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 disease causes, 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 Sciences (NAACLS); Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 20 months

Rutgers University – School of Health Professions

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

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

This 12-credit program covers specialized courses such as molecular diagnostics; advanced hematology; immunology; clinical chemistry; and advanced hemostasis. 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, NJ
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 to 36 months

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 and technical know-how in 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, the role of management, physicians, and nurses, and how these systems can be optimized. The two required courses include clinical pathophysiology and molecular pathology.

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, MA
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 or more

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 with bachelor’s degrees in chemical or biological sciences who 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 focus 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, FL
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 16 months

University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers a fully online graduate certificate in clinical laboratory science, allowing students who have already completed an MSHS degree the opportunity to complete a second concentration. Courses in this certificate program will provide a deeper dive into hematology and hemostasis, clinical chemistry, immunology, and advanced diagnostics.

Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in medical laboratory sciences or clinical laboratory sciences with an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0, two letters of reference, a letter of intent, and ASCP MLS generalist certification.

Comprising 18 credits, the program includes courses such as pathophysiology of disease; advanced clinical practice in hematology and hemostasis; advanced practice in clinical chemistry; advanced practice in the clinical laboratory diagnosis of infectious disease; advanced practice in immunohematology and immunology; and clinical applications in molecular diagnostics.

  • Location: Edinburg, TX
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months

Weber State University – Dumke College of Health Professions (Related)

Weber State University offers a certificate as a medical laboratory assistant. This program is ideal for professionals keen on working in a laboratory, detecting and diagnosing diseases, and performing lab tests. The program is available on campus as well as online. Students who may already be in the healthcare field will be provided an opportunity to learn additional laboratory skills through this online certificate course.

To apply, students must have access to a clinical laboratory. Students are expected to work with a lab professional at a chosen facility to perform the course’s practical components. The curriculum focuses on ethical and fundamental skills such as general laboratory safety, phlebotomy practice and techniques, basic quality control and quality assurance, pre-analytical specimen processing, point-of-care testing in clinical chemistry and microbiology, and urinalysis with microscopy, immunology, and basic hematology testing.

On completion of the program, students will receive a certificate as a medical laboratory assistant (MLA). After the program, students can also take certification exams offered by the ASCP. Notably, students who wish to continue their education and apply to the online MLT program may have the first MLT course waived.

  • Location: Ogden, UT
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS); Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 15 weeks

Texas Tech University – Health Sciences Center

Texas Tech University offers second-degree and online certificate programs for students with bachelor’s degrees from an accredited institution. While the program is available online, students must attend a six-day on-site laboratory session at the end of each of the first two semesters. 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 35-credit certificate includes topics such as clinical immunology, foundations of hemostasis, clinical chemistry, and foundations of clinical microbiology. Additionally, students gain insight into molecular diagnosis principles, body fluids analysis, advanced hematology, and microbiology.

  • Location: Lubbock, TX
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months

University of Cincinnati – College of Allied Health Sciences

The University of Cincinnati offers a medical laboratory science certificate program for students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in a science discipline or who will complete one before starting the program. Courses in this program are delivered in different formats: online, traditional classroom lectures, demonstrations, collaborative learning, and laboratory settings. Students gain professional experience and technical proficiency from clinical rotations in labs and blood banks. Schedules and locations vary depending on the corresponding content.

The program, which comprises 49 credits, includes courses such as clinical fluid analysis, principles of medical laboratory science, hematology, clinical immunology, clinical microbiology, immunohematology, hemostasis, and diagnostic molecular biology.

  • Location: Cincinnati, OH
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS); Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 18 months

Admissions Requirements for Online MLS Certificates

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 program 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 qualify for the program.
Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani Writer

Farheen Gani has immense knowledge about medical technology schools, having researched topics such as medical billing and coding, health information management, nursing informatics, and biotechnology degree programs since 2018. She is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).