Medical Lab Technician (MLT) Schools

While no one can deny the importance of physicians, surgeons, and nurses, there are a number of other healthcare professionals who work behind the scenes, often unnoticed, making significant contributions to healthcare. Not the least of these is the medical laboratory technician, or MLT, who conducts a variety of lab tests to help with the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of conditions as varied as AIDS, cancer, and diabetes.

Entry-level MLTs perform routine clinical lab tests that include hematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, serology/immunology, and other diagnostic tests.

Once medical lab technicians have the skills needed for employment, one of the exciting aspects of their job is the ability to work in a wide variety of environments. These can range from hospital labs to research labs as well as veterinary labs and even public health facilities.

In order to become eligible for an entry-level position, prospective MLTs typically must complete a minimum of a two-year associate’s degree program. Keep reading for details on MLT programs in the U.S., including online options for working professionals.

Medical Lab Technician fast facts
Projected Jobs Created24,700
Projected Job Growth7%
Average Salary$54,780
Low Salary$30,920
High Salary$81,530
Entry-Level EDU Associate's Degree (Technician) or Bachelor's Degree (Technologist)
Sourced from BLS, May 2019

Medical Lab Technician (MLT) Degree & Certification Programs

Medical lab technicians typically need an associate’s degree to obtain entry-level work in the field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Most associate degree programs can be completed in about two years, but some fast-track programs are also available to students, particularly those who already have training in a related healthcare field, such as nursing. There are many different programs available in the U.S.

Below are listed just six of the medical lab technician schools offering programs, although there are many more to choose from:

Folsom Lake College – With campuses in Folsom, Placerville, and Rancho Cordova, the MLT program at this California-based school leads to an associate of science (AS) degree in medical technology and can take anywhere between 18 to 24 months to complete. The first two semesters consist of didactic coursework followed by a semester of rotations, but these rotations do not align with the school’s typical fall/spring calendar.

In all, ten med tech classes, including four practicums, are completed in the program. Sample courses include clinical microbiology, hematology, and clinical chemistry and urinalysis. Folsom Lake’s MLT degree should help prepare students to sit for the national certifying exam available through the ASCP.

  • Location: Folsom, Placerville, and Rancho Cordova, CA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $353 per credit

El Centro College – Located in Dallas, Texas, El Centro College offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in MLT but requires students to complete 39 credits in general education courses and health-related courses in the first two semesters. From there, students can apply for acceptance into the program, but admission is fairly competitive, given that there are just 20 spaces each year. The application period is January 1 to March 15 annually.

If admitted, students begin their medical lab technician coursework mid-May, finishing over a 16-month period that features lectures, labs, and clinical coursework.

  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $200 per credit

Allegany College of Maryland – With locations in Cumberland, Maryland, and Everett and Somerset, Pennsylvania, Allegany College of Maryland gives students the opportunity to complete an MLT program in a few different ways. Allegany College offers a traditional associate’s degree route, a biotechnology degree option, a biotechnology certificate, and a fast-track MLT program for those who have already completed their general education courses.

In the traditional track, students complete 13 courses specific to MLT, one of which includes an internship. Students also take a trip to the Regional Red Cross Facility in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, during their blood banking class. Students at Allegany can join the MLT Club at the school. Students should be prepared to sit for certification through the ASCP upon completion of their medical laboratory technician school program, according to the school website.

  • Location: Cumberland, MD, and Everett and Somerset, PA
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $314 per credit

Keiser University – The associate degree program in MLT offered through Keiser University is available at its Fort Lauderdale, Florida location. To obtain the school’s AS degree, students need to complete 73 credits in all, 26 of which are in general education (which all must be completed with a ‘C ‘or higher) and 47 of which are in the MLT major.

In the program, students learn about the lab tests and standard lab practices used in clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, immunohematology, hematology, serology/immunology, and urinalysis. While there are 12 courses specific to the MLT program, students may need to take an additional eight credit hours in biology and eight credit hours in chemistry to sit for MLT certification.

  • Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Duration: Two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $19,808 per year

Applicants to any MLT program should be advised that they may need to meet different eligibility requirements to be accepted into or to stay enrolled in one of the medical lab technician schools. For example, a ‘C’ average in all MLT classes might be necessary. Students might also need to supply certain items themselves, such as lab fees, a lab coat, and malpractice insurance. Students applying to programs may also be required to undergo a background clearance, a drug screening, and a physical exam to even be considered.

List of Medical Lab Technician Schools

Filter by state :
School City State Website grads (2018)
George Washington University Washington District of Columbia 494
West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah Kentucky 63
Tulsa Community College Tulsa Oklahoma 57
Jefferson State Community College Birmingham Alabama 55
Southwest University at El Paso El Paso Texas 46
Laredo College Laredo Texas 42
Weatherford College Weatherford Texas 40
Virginia Western Community College Roanoke Virginia 37
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis Indiana 36
Miami Dade College Miami Florida 35
Jefferson Community and Technical College Louisville Kentucky 34
Phoenix College Phoenix Arizona 32
Tidewater Community College Norfolk Virginia 31
Hopkinsville Community College Hopkinsville Kentucky 30
Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale Florida 29
San Diego Miramar College San Diego California 29
Tyler Junior College Tyler Texas 28
Folsom Lake College Folsom California 28
Henderson Community College Henderson Kentucky 27
Northern Virginia Community College Annandale Virginia 27
Mountain Empire Community College Big Stone Gap Virginia 26
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Miami Oklahoma 26
Somerset Community College Somerset Kentucky 26
Vista College El Paso Texas 26
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College Richmond Virginia 24
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Rochester Minnesota 24
Northern Michigan University Marquette Michigan 24
Saddleback College Mission Viejo California 24
Tarleton State University Stephenville Texas 24
Wytheville Community College Wytheville Virginia 24
Maysville Community and Technical College Maysville Kentucky 23
Quest College San Antonio Texas 22
San Jacinto Community College Pasadena Texas 22
South College Knoxville Tennessee 22
South Louisiana Community College Lafayette Louisiana 22
University of New Mexico-Main Campus Albuquerque New Mexico 22
CUNY Bronx Community College Bronx New York 21
Madison Area Technical College Madison Wisconsin 21
Madisonville Community College Madisonville Kentucky 21
Allen College Waterloo Iowa 20
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold Maryland 20
Boston University Boston Massachusetts 20
Hazard Community and Technical College Hazard Kentucky 20
Portland Community College Portland Oregon 20
Shoreline Community College Shoreline Washington 20
Sinclair Community College Dayton Ohio 20
Alamance Community College Graham North Carolina 19
Community College of Philadelphia Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19
Rose State College Midwest City Oklahoma 19
Arapahoe Community College Littleton Colorado 18
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati Ohio 18
Eastern Florida State College Cocoa Florida 18
George C Wallace State Community College-Hanceville Hanceville Alabama 18
Houston Community College Houston Texas 18
Milwaukee Area Technical College Milwaukee Wisconsin 18
Quincy College Quincy Massachusetts 18
SUNY Broome Community College Binghamton New York 18
Wake Technical Community College Raleigh North Carolina 18
Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny Iowa 17
Mt San Antonio College Walnut California 17
Austin Community College District Austin Texas 16
Casper College Casper Wyoming 16
Community College of Allegheny County Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 16
Danville Community College Danville Virginia 16
Erie Community College Buffalo New York 16
Mercer County Community College West Windsor New Jersey 16
North Georgia Technical College Clarkesville Georgia 16
Saint Paul College Saint Paul Minnesota 16
Sandhills Community College Pinehurst North Carolina 16
Columbus State Community College Columbus Ohio 15
Hawkeye Community College Waterloo Iowa 15
Lakeland Community College Kirtland Ohio 15
Marion Technical College Ocala Florida 15
Middlesex Community College Bedford Massachusetts 15
Western Dakota Technical Institute Rapid City South Dakota 15
Central Texas College Killeen Texas 14
Chippewa Valley Technical College Eau Claire Wisconsin 14
El Centro College Dallas Texas 14
Gadsden State Community College Gadsden Alabama 14
Kapiolani Community College Honolulu Hawaii 14
Marion Technical College Marion Ohio 14
Panola College Carthage Texas 14
Southeastern Technical College Vidalia Georgia 14
Spartanburg Community College Spartanburg South Carolina 14
West Georgia Technical College Waco Georgia 14
Allegany College of Maryland Cumberland Maryland 13
Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte North Carolina 13
Community College of Baltimore County Baltimore Maryland 13
Community College of Rhode Island Warwick Rhode Island 13
Elgin Community College Elgin Illinois 13
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville Florida 13
Fortis Institute-Cookeville Cookeville Tennessee 13
Kankakee Community College Kankakee Illinois 13
Pearl River Community College Poplarville Mississippi 13
Pima Community College Tucson Arizona 13
Seminole State College Seminole Oklahoma 13
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College Cumberland Kentucky 13
Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Mount Gay West Virginia 13
Southwest Tennessee Community College Memphis Tennessee 13
Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria Minnesota 12
Amarillo College Amarillo Texas 12
Central New Mexico Community College Albuquerque New Mexico 12
Clark State Community College Springfield Ohio 12
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas Nevada 12
Erwin Technical College Tampa Florida 12
John C Calhoun State Community College Tanner Alabama 12
Platt College-McCann-Allentown Allentown Pennsylvania 12
Shawnee State University Portsmouth Ohio 12
Stark State College North Canton Ohio 12
Volunteer State Community College Gallatin Tennessee 12
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville North Carolina 11
Baker College Flint Michigan 11
BridgeValley Community & Technical College South Charleston West Virginia 11
Carrington College-Phoenix East Phoenix Arizona 11
Coastal Carolina Community College Jacksonville North Carolina 11
Edison State Community College Piqua Ohio 11
Fortis Institute-Nashville Nashville Tennessee 11
Grayson College Denison Texas 11
Greenville Technical College Greenville South Carolina 11
Harrisburg Area Community College Harrisburg Pennsylvania 11
Illinois Central College East Peoria Illinois 11
Mississippi Delta Community College Moorhead Mississippi 11
Owensboro Community and Technical College Owensboro Kentucky 11
Rappahannock Community College Glenns Virginia 11
Tri-County Technical College Pendleton South Carolina 11
Trident Technical College Charleston South Carolina 11
Washington State Community College Marietta Ohio 11
Bristol Community College Fall River Massachusetts 10
Brookline College-Phoenix Phoenix Arizona 10
Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins Georgia 10
Columbia State Community College Columbia Tennessee 10
Davidson County Community College Thomasville North Carolina 10
De Anza College Cupertino California 10
Farmingdale State College Farmingdale New York 10
Fortis College-Landover Landover Maryland 10
Georgia Piedmont Technical College Clarkston Georgia 10
Iowa Central Community College Fort Dodge Iowa 10
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston Mississippi 10
Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell South Dakota 10
Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac Wisconsin 10
Southwestern College Chula Vista California 10
Southwestern Illinois College Belleville Illinois 10
Southwestern Oklahoma State University Weatherford Oklahoma 10
St Philip's College San Antonio Texas 10
Turtle Mountain Community College Belcourt North Dakota 10
Western Piedmont Community College Morganton North Carolina 10
Bunker Hill Community College Boston Massachusetts 9
College of the Canyons Santa Clarita California 9
Del Mar College Corpus Christi Texas 9
Lorain County Community College Elyria Ohio 9
Middlesex County College Edison New Jersey 9
Minnesota State College Southeast Winona Minnesota 9
Monroe Community College Rochester New York 9
North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park Minnesota 9
Northeast Texas Community College Mount Pleasant Texas 9
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay Wisconsin 9
Northern Essex Community College Haverhill Massachusetts 9
Oakton Community College Des Plaines Illinois 9
Pierpont Community and Technical College Fairmont West Virginia 9
South Central College North Mankato Minnesota 9
Southeast Community College Area Lincoln Nebraska 9
Three Rivers College Poplar Bluff Missouri 9
Western Technical College La Crosse Wisconsin 9
Arkansas State University-Beebe Beebe Arkansas 8
Blackhawk Technical College Janesville Wisconsin 8
Concorde Career College-Memphis Memphis Tennessee 8
Dutchess Community College Poughkeepsie New York 8
El Paso Community College El Paso Texas 8
Heritage University Toppenish Washington 8
Howard Community College Columbia Maryland 8
Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa Iowa 8
Indian River State College Fort Pierce Florida 8
Jackson State Community College Jackson Tennessee 8
Lord Fairfax Community College Middletown Virginia 8
Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls Minnesota 8
Nassau Community College Garden City New York 8
Northeast Mississippi Community College Booneville Mississippi 8
Nunez Community College Chalmette Louisiana 8
York Technical College Rock Hill South Carolina 8
Orange County Community College Middletown New York 7
Central Virginia Community College Lynchburg Virginia 7
Florence-Darlington Technical College Florence South Carolina 7
Louisiana State University-Alexandria Alexandria Louisiana 7
Manhattan Area Technical College Manhattan Kansas 7
McLennan Community College Waco Texas 7
Midlands Technical College West Columbia South Carolina 7
North Arkansas College Harrison Arkansas 7
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas Helena Arkansas 7
Springfield Technical Community College Springfield Massachusetts 7
Chattahoochee Technical College Marietta Georgia 6
Colorado Mesa University Grand Junction Colorado 6
Delgado Community College New Orleans Louisiana 6
Hinds Community College Raymond Mississippi 6
Lake Superior College Duluth Minnesota 6
Marshall University Huntington West Virginia 6
Meridian Community College Meridian Mississippi 6
National Park College Hot Springs Arkansas 6
Navarro College Corsicana Texas 6
New England Institute of Technology East Greenwich Rhode Island 6
Northcentral Technical College Wausau Wisconsin 6
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Hazleton Hazleton Pennsylvania 6
Pima Medical Institute-Colorado Springs Colorado Springs Colorado 6
Platt College-McCann-Lewisburg Lewisburg Pennsylvania 6
Reading Area Community College Reading Pennsylvania 6
Southeastern Community College Whiteville North Carolina 6
Stanly Community College Albemarle North Carolina 6
Texas Southmost College Brownsville Texas 6
University of New Mexico-Gallup Campus Gallup New Mexico 6
Wayne Community College Goldsboro North Carolina 6
Zane State College Zanesville Ohio 6
Blessing Hospital School of Medical Laboratory Technology Quincy Illinois 5
National American University-Zona Rosa Kansas City Missouri 5
CUNY Hunter College New York New York 5
Ferris State University Big Rapids Michigan 5
Fortis College-Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Louisiana 5
Fortis Institute-Birmingham Birmingham Alabama 5
Halifax Community College Weldon North Carolina 5
John A Logan College Carterville Illinois 5
Mid-Plains Community College North Platte Nebraska 5
Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls Minnesota 5
Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell Pennsylvania 5
New River Community and Technical College Beaver West Virginia 5
University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage Alaska 5
Youngstown State University Youngstown Ohio 5
Bismarck State College Bismarck North Dakota 4
Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wesson Mississippi 4
River Valley Community College Claremont New Hampshire 4
Southern Regional Technical College Thomasville Georgia 4
Southwest Virginia Community College Cedar Bluff Virginia 4
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore Wisconsin 4
Central Community College Grand Island Nebraska 3
Merritt College Oakland California 3
Mount Aloysius College Cresson Pennsylvania 3
Mount Wachusett Community College Gardner Massachusetts 3
Otero Junior College La Junta Colorado 3
Paul D Camp Community College Franklin Virginia 3
Saint Louis Community College Bridgeton Missouri 3
Shawnee Community College Ullin Illinois 3
University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Indiana 3
Mercyhurst University-North East Campus North East Pennsylvania 2
Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion Marion Indiana 2
Laurel Technical Institute Sharon Pennsylvania 2
Moberly Area Community College Moberly Missouri 2
Southwestern Community College Sylva North Carolina 2
Stautzenberger College-Maumee Maumee Ohio 2
Beaufort County Community College Washington North Carolina 1
Broward College Fort Lauderdale Florida 1
College of Southern Maryland La Plata Maryland 1
John Wood Community College Quincy Illinois 1
Kaskaskia College Centralia Illinois 1
Rend Lake College Ina Illinois 1
Rhode Island College Providence Rhode Island 1
Southern University at Shreveport Shreveport Louisiana 1
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Hybrid & Online Medical Lab Technician Programs – MLT Degrees

Students may be able to find medical lab technician schools throughout the U.S. that offer online or hybrid online programs that offer flexibility for those with work or family obligations. Often, very specific parts of these programs are offered online, typically the didactic learning components, while hands-on clinical work is still required.

Because lab and clinical experiences are often part of medical lab technician programs, students may need to be on campus or at a clinical site during some segment or segments of their learning. Here are some schools offering hybrid learning:

Arapahoe Community College – Students attending the medical lab technician program at this Littleton, Colorado-based school can work toward an associate of applied science degree over two years time, although a one-year fast-track option is also available. The lab sections that comprise the program are held Friday and Saturday afternoons, but the MLT courses are offered through hybrid instruction, meaning that many are partially online.

Students also do 13 weeks of a clinical internship, occurring at hospital clinical sites. Finally, students who are interested in a bachelor’s degree should speak to school advisors, as they have many transfer agreements in place with four-year schools.

  • Location: Littleton, CO
  • Duration: One to two years
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $629.25 per credit

Columbus State Community College – Students in the MLT program at this Columbus, Ohio-based school can complete an associate degree over five semesters. In the fifth semester, students test their skills through hands-on experiences arranged in environments located within 60 miles of Columbus. All of the program’s technical lecture courses are delivered using a Web-based format while lab work is done on campus at the school’s laboratories in Union Hall.

The program provides students with essential knowledge and skills in areas like clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology, phlebotomy, and others, and also prepares them to take the certifying exam offered through the ASCP.

  • Location: Columbus, OH
  • Duration: Five semesters
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $333.25 per credit

Rasmussen College – Located in the midwest, Rasmussen College offers a medical lab technician associate degree at three of its campus-based locations, including in Lake Elmo/Woodbury and Moorhead, Minnesota, as well as Green Bay, Wisconsin. Courses can be completed entirely in a hybrid format with many classes being offered online. The program provides hands-on learning to students in areas like blood banking, clinical chemistry, and microbiology.

The program can be completed in 24 months and includes a six-month practicum that occurs at clinical sites. Students should be prepared to sit for the medical lab technician credentialing exam offered through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) upon graduation, and the school even covers the application fee for the first attempt. (See more on certifications in the section further below).

  • Location: Lake Elmo/Woodbury and Moorhead, Minnesota, as well as Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Duration: 21 months
  • Accreditation: National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  • Tuition: $260 per credit
School City State Website grads (2018)
George Washington University Washington District of Columbia 494
Weber State University Ogden Utah 166
Rasmussen College-Minnesota St. Cloud Minnesota 28
Auburn University at Montgomery Montgomery Alabama 22
Albany State University Albany Georgia 15
Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown South Dakota 14
Barton County Community College Great Bend Kansas 13
Hibbing Community College Hibbing Minnesota 10
Rasmussen College-Wisconsin Green Bay Wisconsin 8
Siena Heights University Adrian Michigan 6
Harcum College Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania 5
Seward County Community College Liberal Kansas 5
Rasmussen College-North Dakota Fargo North Dakota 3
2017-2018 School Data from IPEDS (Sourced in November, 2019)

Core & Elective Courses in Medical Lab Technician Programs

The educational components of a medical lab tech program should generally be similar across the board since students need to be able to complete the same types of lab tasks no matter where they are employed in the U.S. For this reason, some of the common courses featured in medical lab tech programs include:

  • Basic and intermediate lab skills

  • Blood banking

  • Hematology

  • Immunology

  • Medical terminology

  • Phlebotomy

  • Urinalysis

Students working on an associate's degree will also need to complete a broad number of general education courses, usually in the social sciences, liberal arts, and math, or even related to career development. Coursework may include science components in anatomy, chemistry, and physiology.

In addition to general education classes, medical lab tech schools also typically require students to gain hands-on skills through clinical practicums or externships, which often occur during the final semester or semesters of a program.

MLT Program Accreditation

Many medical lab technician programs in the U.S. will have accreditation through the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), which accredits a range of allied health programs. Programmatic accreditation through NAACLS requires that a program submit a thorough self-study as well as a site visit from NAACLS experts in the MLT field. Accreditation means that the program curriculum, faculty, and facilities have been evaluated for effectiveness and learning outcomes.

As of March 2021, the NAACLS website lists 241 medical lab technician programs accredited through the institution. Results can be ordered by state or by zip code. The phone number for each school’s MLT program and the e-mail for its director are provided for each search result.

In addition to programmatic accreditation through the NAACLS, applicants should look for institutional accreditation as well. Regionally based organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) conduct an accreditation process that is similar to that of the NAACLS. However, unlike the NAACLS, regional accreditation will take into account the performance and facilities of an entire school.

Accreditation generally helps assure students that a specific program meets necessary education and training standards, but can also be needed to seek certification through credentialing organizations. Many licensing bodies require that applicants have completed a program that has earned some type of accreditation, although specific vary depending on the license.

Career Outlook

Job demand for medical and clinical lab technicians is expected to grow by 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, according to the BLS (2020). This job growth is higher than the national average, which is 4 percent) and is expected to create 24,700 additional positions nationally. What are the reasons for this expected job demand?

Access to health insurance, driven by new federal legislation, is providing more people with coverage and leading to a demand for more lab personnel. Additionally, an aging Baby Boomer population should place more demands on the health services industry, as individuals and doctors turn to more laboratory workers to help diagnose diseases or conditions. In all, by 2029, the BLS predicts that 362,500 people in the U.S. will be employed as clinical and medical laboratory technicians, an increase from 337,800 in 2019.

Career Facts Medical Lab Technician
Related CareersBiological Technician, Chemical Technician, Dental Laboratory Technician, Veterinary Technician
Common Job TitlesMedical Laboratory Technician, Clinical Laboratory Technician, Medical Technician
Technology & EquipmentMicroscopes, Cell Counters, Computerized Instruments
Sourced from BLS, June 2020

Licensing & Certification of Medical Lab Technicians

Currently, only 11 states require laboratory personnel, such as medical lab technicians, to be licensed. Licensing requirements can vary by state but typically include education requirements, passing an exam, work experience, a background check, and a drug screening. A full list of states requiring licensure can be found on the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) website.

For example, the requirements to earn a medical laboratory personnel license through the Tennessee Medical Laboratory Board are:

  • Pay $50 application fee
  • Complete a NAACLS accredited formal laboratory training program
  • Hold an associate’s degree in a laboratory science
  • Proof of current national medical lab technician certification
  • Pass a background check

Certification, on the other hand, is optional although it may be required for employment and can be a step for licensure in many states. Certification can also lead to opportunities for higher wages and promotions.

“Certification translates to an advantage in the workplace,” the AMT website reads. “Many employers now require certification because they know that individuals who are certified are committed to their profession and to quality patient care.”

Here are three of the major certifications available to medical lab technicians:

American Medical Technologist (AMT) Certification


To be eligible to sit for the Medical Lab Technician (MLT) certification, offered through American Medical Technologists (AMT), candidates must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Complete an MLT program from an accredited institution, including clinical laboratory experience, less than five years prior
  • Complete 60 semester hours (two years) of coursework from a regionally accredited institution, which includes at least 25 semester hours in clinical laboratory science and six months of approved clinical laboratory experience
  • Complete a 50-week US military medical laboratory training program
  • Pass a generalist MLT examination given by another certification organization or state licensure agency


The exam costs $175 and consists of 210 multiple choice questions, which must be answered in three hours. Candidates will take their exams at a PearsonVUE test center. Questions in this exam cover the following topics:

  • General Laboratory
  • Chemistry
  • Hematology
  • Coagulation and Hemostasis
  • Immunology and Serology
  • Immunohematology
  • Blood Banking and Transfusion Services
  • Microbiology
  • Urinalysis and Body Fluids

A list of reference materials to study is available on the AMT website to help candidates prepare for this exam. Additionally, there are practice exams available for purchase that can help candidates determine their readiness to sit for the test. Results are available within 48 hours of taking the test with official certificates following in the mail seven to 14 days later.


To maintain certification, certificate holders must pay a $95 yearly fee. Every three years, MLT certificate holders must submit 45 continuing education points. These points are earned by completing various educational activities, including authoring articles, completing online courses, work experience, and participating on a professional committee.

American Association of Bioanalysts Certification


The MLT generalist certification offered through the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) requires candidates to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Hold a doctoral, master's, bachelor's from an accredited university or college with a major in chemical, physical, biological, clinical laboratory science, or medical technology
  • Hold an associate degree or an associate of applied science degree from an accredited institution with a major in clinical laboratory science or medical technology
  • Complete at least 60 semester hours of coursework from an accredited institution that includes 24 semester hours of medical laboratory technology courses

Candidates must also supply proof that they completed a clinical laboratory training program approved or accredited by ABHES, NAACLS, or other accrediting body, or have three months of documented laboratory training completed in the past ten years.


The MLT generalist certification exam takes five hours to complete and consists of 240 multiple-choice questions. It costs $95 to apply to take the exam and another $165 for the exam fee. Topics covered in this exam include:

  • Basic knowledge
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Immunohematology

Candidates in most states can take the exam at any local university that has a testing center. Proctoring fees are the responsibility of the test taker. Exams are scheduled and administered on specific dates in Florida and California. Candidates must score a minimum of 50 percent in each section and 60 percent overall in order to pass this exam. Results are emailed four to six weeks after the exam.


AMS certifications must be renewed annually and cost $102. There are no continuing education requirements to renew a certification, although it is highly recommended. The AAB Board of Registry offers a continuing education program.

American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Certification


MLT certification is also available through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). To be eligible to sit for this exam, candidates must meet one of the following four pathways:

  • Associate degree or 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) from a regionally accredited institution with at least six semester or nine quarter hours in chemistry and biology as well as three years of qualifying experience
  • Associate degree or 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) from a regionally accredited institution with at least six semester or nine quarter hours in chemistry and biology as well as an MLT military program
  • Associate’s degree of at least 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) and completion of a NAACLS or ABHES accredited MLT program
  • Be an existing CLA(ASCP) certification (discontinued in 1982) and hold an associate’s degree of at least 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours)


Once eligibility has been verified, candidates will be able to schedule their exam at a Pearson VUE test center. This exam costs $215, consists of 100 multiple choice questions, and must be completed in two and a half hours. Topics covered include:

  • Blood banking
  • Urinalysis and other body fluids
  • Chemistry
  • Hematology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Laboratory operations

Study guides are available for purchase from the ASCP to help prepare for this exam. Scores are sent via email shortly after the exam is completed. Wall certificates are sent by mail and arrive six to nine weeks later.


In order to renew an ASCP MLT certification, candidates must complete an application, pay a $95 fee, and provide proof of 36 credential maintenance points. These points are earned through continuing education activities. Points must be earned in the following categories: one point must be in laboratory or patient safety; two each in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology; and the remaining points other areas such as lab specialty, immunology, molecular diagnostics, management, and education.

Kimmy Gustafson
Kimmy Gustafson Writer

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with a passion for sharing stories of bravery. Her love for world-traveling began when her family moved to Spain when she was six and since then, she has lived overseas extensively, visited six continents, and traveled to over 25 countries. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. When not writing or parenting she can be found kiteboarding, hiking, or cooking.