If you’re feeling sick and decide to visit your doctor, he may collect a specimen or sample to test for an illness or disease. Ever wondered what goes on while you’re waiting for results? This is when a medical laboratory technician (MLT) is working hard to conduct the test, interpret the results, and help your doctor correctly diagnose and treat your symptoms.
Frontier Community College now offers a two-year Medical Laboratory Technician program.
An MLT performs several analytical tests that help physicians diagnose and treat diseases. Primary job duties include preparing specimens, collecting blood samples, accurately monitoring tests and procedures, matching blood for transfusions, and analyzing the chemical content of fluids. Technicians are expected to handle sophisticated lab equipment that searches for microorganisms, including cell counters, microscopes, and automated analyzers. MLTs also have diverse functions in the areas of clinical decision-making, information management, regulatory compliance, and quality assurance.
In addition to classroom lectures, students in the MLT program participate in classroom labs and experiments. The program’s designated classroom, located in Mason Hall, is equipped with the latest technology and equipment to create an enhanced learning experience.
A clinical rotation (internship) is also a required component of the program. During this time, students will work off-campus with an affiliated medical laboratory. Clinical rotations are structured to provide exposure to all departments of a laboratory, including microbiology, immunology, chemistry, urinalysis, and more. Students will work at their clinical rotation 16 hours per week during the last two semesters of the program.
This hands-on experience will allow MLT students to work one-on-one with laboratory professionals, learn how to operate equipment, and apply course knowledge to real-life situations. Clinical rotations also have the potential to provide future job opportunities or networking within the field.
After completing the program, graduates are eligible to sit for the Board of Certification exam to become a Certified Medical Technician. This is offered through the American Society of Clinical Pathology and is paid for and administered online. Once an individual passes the exam, he or she will be a certified MLT and can begin working in the field.
Many healthcare organizations allow graduates to begin working immediately after completing the program and set a specific date by which the individual must pass the certification exam. All states recognize the national certification, although some states require an additional state certification prior to starting your MLT career. The State of Illinois requires only the national certification.
A major benefit of this program is that students will have a clear and straightforward career path and the ability to find a job as soon as they graduate. If graduates are willing to relocate for their careers, they will have an even wider variety of opportunities. MLT graduates can find careers with hospital and clinic laboratories, veterinarian laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, public health organizations, and blood and organ banks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 median salary was $53,000 per year.
The MLT profession plays an essential role in the practice of modern medicine. In fact, this practice would be impossible without the scientific testing performed daily in the medical laboratory. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for MLTs continues to grow, proving their importance in the healthcare industry. By 2028, the job outlook is projected to grow by 11 percent, which is much faster than the average for most occupations. In the southern Illinois region, a large turnover in the MLT field is expected within the next 5 to 10 years.
Graduates also have the opportunity to continue their education and pursue a baccalaureate degree to become a Medical Laboratory Scientist. This achievement allows individuals to work in laboratory management and education, as well as receive a higher salary.
If you would like to join the Medical Laboratory Technician program, or for more information, call Frontier Community College at 618-842-3711 or email email@example.com.
The MLT program is seeking accreditation by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Rd. Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018-5119; telephone: 773-714-8880; www.naacls.org