Medical Laboratory Technician Department

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the MLT Program?
What is a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)?
How do I become an MLT?
Where can I find a training program?
What kind of classes do I need to take before being accepted into the MLT program?
As an MLT will I find a job?
As an MLT, where can I work?
Will I make a good MLT?
Are there opportunities for advancement?
Where can I find more information on becoming an MLT?
Who can I contact for information concerning an MLT program?

What is the MLT Program?

Graduates of the Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program are members of the health care team who provide clinical information for disease prevention, medical diagnosis and treatment of the patient by processing specimens and performing laboratory tests. Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT's) are trained to perform a variety of general laboratory tests in hospital, clinic or private medical laboratories. The laboratory procedures performed by MLT's use an array of precision instruments and a variety of automated and electronic equipment. Upon completion of this program, the student will receive an Associate of Arts degree in Medical Laboratory Technology or for those individuals already possessing a degree, a certificate of proficiency from De Anza College and will be eligible to take a national certification exam.

The program is designed to be completed in two years but alternative scheduling is available for the part-time student.

The state of California approved MLT licensure in 2002, MLT regulations were finalized in January of 2005. Laboratory Field Services issued the first CA MLT license in March 2008.  Projections indicate that there will be an abundance of job opportunities for these laboratory professionals.

What is a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)?

  • MLTs are an important part of the medical team. Working together with pathologists, specialists and Clinical Laboratory Scientists (CLS) they help determine the presence, extent or absence of disease and provide vital data to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.
  • MLTs are mid level laboratory professionals who under the supervision of a Clinical Laboratory Scientist, perform routine testing in the clinical laboratory. MLT's operate, maintain and troubleshoot high tech automated medical instrumentation.
  • MLTs are graduates of accredited MLT training programs and as such have successfully completed core courses in: Chemistry, Hematology, Blood Bank, Urinalysis, Coagulation and Microbiology and 828hrs training in a clinical laboratory. During this externship students gain hands-on experience in a clinical laboratory setting.
  • MLTs pass a national examination, certifying them as a Medical Laboratory Technician.
  • MLTs are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education/2 year period as a condition of  California MLT license renewal.
  • MLTs are the second step in the Career Ladder between a Phlebotomist and a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS).

How do I become an MLT?

  • Obtain an A.A. degree or certificate from a NAACLS approved MLT training program and pass a national examination.
  • MLT programs can be completed in 2 years, but alternative scheduling is available for part-time students.

Where can I find a training program?

What kind of classes do I need to take before being accepted into the MLT program?

For the MLT program at DeAnza College , prerequisite courses include:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology (Bio 40A, B, C) or Biology for biology majors (Bio 6A, B, C)
  • Chemistry (Chem 30A and 30B)
  • Microbiology (Bio 26)
  • CA Phlebotomy certification (CPT1)

As an MLT will I find a job?

  • Currently there are severe laboratory staffing shortages nationwide including California. Position vacancy rates range from 9%-20%.
  • Job projections predict the need for clinical laboratory professionals will increase in the next 8 years due to increase demand for testing and replacement of retirees.
  • MLTs enjoy excellent salaries and benefits as well as great opportunities for lifelong learning through continued education.

As an MLT, where can I work?

  • Hospital laboratories
  • Clinics
  • Physician Offices
  • Fertility Clinics
  • Commercial laboratories
  • Veterinary laboratories
  • Research laboratories
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Technical Service
  • Training

Will I make a good MLT?

  • Are you a problem solver who enjoys challenging questions?
  • Are you interested in combining the study of biology and chemistry with the exploration of state of the art technology to make a difference in patient care?
  • Are you interested in becoming part of the health care team, performing testing to assist in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease? 85% of diagnostic treatment formulated by physicians is based on information obtained by laboratory professionals.
  • Are you deeply committed to a laboratory profession and truly fascinated by all that science has to offer?
  • Do you possess these qualities: accurate, dedicated, self-motivated, problem solver, always looking for a challenge, welcoming responsibility, reliable, possess good communication skills, and work well under pressure?
  • Do you have the ability to relate to people, a capacity for calm and reasoned judgment and commitment to the patient?
  • Do you demonstrate ethical and moral attitudes and principles that are necessary for gaining and maintaining the trust of professional associates, the support of the community and confidence of the patient and his family.
  • Can you keep patient data confidential?

Are there opportunities for advancement?

  • MLTs are the second step in the Laboratory Career Ladder between a Phlebotomist and a Clinical Laboratory Scientist.
  • MLTs can use their education and training toward more advanced degrees, such as a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree.

Where can I find more information on becoming an MLT?

www.ascp.org

Who can I contact for information concerning an MLT program?

Patricia Buchner, MS,MT (ASCP), CLS
MLT Program Director, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA
buchnerpatricia@fhda.edu

Statement of Program Goals and Objectives:

The Medical Laboratory Technology Associate Degree program is designed to prepare students to become Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT). MLT's are a newly recognized category of laboratory professional in the state of California . MLTs are members of the health care team that provides clinical information for disease prevention, medical diagnosis, and treatment of the patient by processing specimens and performing laboratory tests. This degree prepares students to sit for a national exam which when passed will allow for immediate entry into a technician-level position in a clinical laboratory environment. The Medical Laboratory Technology program integrates traditional classroom instruction with newly developed distance education courses and clinical practica in order to comprehensively and systematically enables the student to achieve mastery of the competencies required in this occupation.

Competencies required include:

  • Collecting, processing, and analyzing biological specimens and other substances
  • Performing analytical test of body fluids, cells, and other substances
  • Recognizing factors that affect procedures and results, and taking appropriate actions within predetermined limits when corrections are indicated
  • Performing and monitoring quality control within predetermined limits
  • Performing preventive and corrective maintenance of equipment and instruments or referring to appropriate sources for repairs
  • Applying principles of safety
  • Demonstrating professional conduct and interpersonal communication skills with patients, laboratory personnel, other health care professionals, and with the public
  • Recognizing the responsibilities of other laboratory and health care personnel and interacting with them with respect for their jobs and patient care
  • Applying basic scientific principles in learning new techniques and procedures

Program goals:

  • To provide students with the necessary academic instruction and professional training in the field of laboratory medicine in order to satisfy the employment needs of the South Bay Area and surrounding communities.
  • To produce a skilled clinical laboratory employee who has a competent working knowledge of the principles inherent in the laboratory tests being performed.
  • To prepare students to become accurate and reliable members of the health care team.
  • To provide students with an awareness of there role in the delivery of health care to the patient.
  • To develop positive student attitudes in the areas of professionalism and commitment to delivering excellent health care.

Medical Laboratory Technician

Office: S75A

Lab: S-73
Contact: Patricia Buchner
Phone: 408.864.8790

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Last Updated: 9/24/13