Associate of Medical Laboratory Technician: Degree Overview
Research associate's degree programs for aspiring medical laboratory technicians. Get information on classroom and clinical courses, educational prerequisites and salary information to make an informed decision about your education.
Associate's Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology
An associate's degree program in medical laboratory technology helps students develop the skills needed to become medical laboratory technicians. A medical laboratory technician's responsibilities range from collecting biological specimens and conducting tests to analyzing test results and developing other test procedures.
The first year of this 2-year program is usually spent in the classroom, learning basic concepts, while the second year entails clinical and laboratory education. This program may be offered in various associate's degree formats, such as Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED for admission to this program. Although there are not typically course prerequisites for this program, candidates may need chemistry and biology credits prior to admittance. A criminal background check may also be required.
In addition to classroom lectures, students complete lab studies and participate in clinical internships. Some courses may be offered through distance learning. Students may take courses in the following topics:
- Urinalysis and coagulation
- Cultural diversity in healthcare
- Laboratory medicine
- Computer information systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical and clinical laboratory technicians is expected to increase 14% between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). The bureau stated that population growth and the development of new types of tests will contribute to the employment increase. In 2011, medical and clinical laboratory technicians earned a median annual wage of $36,950, reported the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates may seek immediate employment as medical laboratory technicians or may advance their education and pursue bachelor's degree programs. Earning an advanced degree in medical technology, along with professional certification, can lead to technologist or leadership positions.
Medical laboratory technicians often obtain voluntary certification upon graduating. In addition to being a demonstration of knowledge and skills in the profession, certification is also preferred by many employers. Organizations offering certification include the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) and the American Association of Bioanalysts (ABB). Although requirements may vary by agency, most certification programs require applicants to pass a written examination. Some states may also require laboratory personnel to be licensed.
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