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Medical Laboratory Technology

Are you intrigued by scientific discoveries, especially medical ones? Do you enjoy the challenge of solving puzzles by analyzing and interpreting data? Are you ready for a secure job in one of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation?

Consider the allied health field of medical laboratory technology, a varied career path that involves looking at cells microscopically, cross-matching blood, performing chemical and molecular analysis, and looking at pathological disease states. It’s a great and growing occupation for highly organized people who can perform the investigative-style research that helps unravel the mysteries of the human body.

Medical Laboratory Technology at a Glance

Looking for a quick overview of the Medical Laboratory Technology program? Take a look at Medical Laboratory Technology at a Glance for a short summary of what a medical laboratory technician does and the degrees and certificates offered at El Centro College.

What Does a Medical Laboratory Technician Do?

Medical laboratory technicians and clinical laboratory technicians — used as interchangeable terms — use advanced instrumentation and testing methods to perform a variety of complex chemical and analytical tests. MLTs and CLTs test patient specimens, performing hematological, immunological, chemical, transfusion-related, molecular and microbial analysis.

MLTs, who must have at least an associate degree, and medical laboratory scientists, who have earned a bachelor’s degree, do about 75 percent of all patient care testing in a clinical setting and help pathologists and other physicians in making a diagnosis. MLTs help to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

The El Centro College Medical Laboratory Technology program can prepare you for this challenging career field. Our program is recognized locally and nationally for its outstanding faculty and student experience that includes class and lab instruction, field trips, clinical rotations and special-topic speakers.

Medical Laboratory Technology Associate Degree
El Centro College

Graduates of the Medical Laboratory Technology program earn the Medical Laboratory Technology Associate in Applied Sciences degree. The 60-credit-hour associate degree program blends science, liberal arts and technical courses in classroom and clinical settings.  

Before you can apply for admission to the MLT program, you must first complete the 29-credit-hour Medical Laboratory Technology Core Curriculum, which includes general education and related health classes and can be completed in two semesters.

You can then apply for admission to the MLT program, which accepts students via a competitive selection process based on grade point average in the primary prerequisite courses. MLT courses begin in mid-May of each academic year. Over a 16-month period, you’ll take lecture, lab and clinical course work.
When you graduate, you’ll be eligible to take the Board of Certification exam to become licensed as a medical laboratory technician through the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Our students’ pass rate on this exam is generally more than 90 percent each year, well above the national pass rate average.

Medical Laboratory Technicians vs. Clinical Laboratory Technicians

Note that you may hear the designation clinical laboratory technician used interchangeably with medical laboratory technician. The scope of practice for CLTs and MLTs is identical. However, the official CLT designation was granted by an agency that merged with ASCP in 2009, so only those technicians who took the CLT exam before the merger hold that credential.
For details about graduation rates, program costs and other important information, view the gainful employment disclosure.