Medical laboratory science (MLS) is a dynamic field that allows one to be an integral part of the healthcare team. Medical laboratory scientists perform analyses that aid physicians in diagnosing the absence, presence or extent of disease, along with monitoring therapy. They use sophisticated instrumentation and technology as well as manual dexterity to perform testing on blood and body fluids. Medical laboratory testing involves disciplines such as chemistry, hematology, coagulation, immunology, immunohematology, urinalysis, molecular biology, microbiology, mycology and parasitology.
Men and women interested in helping others are the foundation of a successful laboratory. They must be accurate, reliable, have an interest in science and be able to recognize their responsibility for human lives. The importance of the role of the medical laboratory scientist is recognized by physicians, hospitals, industry and government health agencies.
The practice of modern medicine would be impossible without the tests performed by the medical laboratory scientist. Rapid advances in medicine have increased not only the number and complexity of laboratory procedures but also the need for medical laboratory scientists. MLS is a profession of unlimited career opportunities. It offers job stability, choice of places to work, attractive futures for men and women and personal satisfaction in knowing that you are a valuable member of the healthcare team.
The School of Medical Technology offers a 12-month course in medical laboratory science. The program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018; phone (773) 714-8880. The School of Medical Technology, established in 1946, is a division of the Department of Pathology at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center (MBMC). The largest private general hospital in the state, Mississippi Baptist Medical Center is accredited by The Joint Commission (JC) and is a member in good standing of the Mississippi Hospital Association. The Pathology Department is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, the American Association of Blood Banks and the FDA.
All medical laboratory science programs accredited by NAACLS must culminate in a baccalaureate degree. Applicants may already have a baccalaureate degree (4+1 students) or may be planning to obtain one following successful completion of the year of clinical education at MBMC (3+1 students). The School of Medical Technology maintains affiliations with Mississippi State University & William Carey University, which allow the proper transfer of 30 semester hours of credit to the university for those students whose senior year of college will be the year at MBMC.
Contact the Medical Technology/Medical Laboratory Science advisor at the following schools to learn more about 3+1 degree requirements:
Mississippi State University: www.msstate.edu William Carey University: www.wmcarey.edu
The clinical education course at MBMC lasts 12 consecutive months. During the year of clinical education, students receive instruction in all phases of laboratory medicine including biochemistry, parasitology, mycology, microbiology, immunology, immunohematology, urinalysis, coagulation, hematology, computer applications, client service operations, education and management.
Students are in the laboratory Monday–Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Students develop technical skills under the instruction and supervision of certified medical technologists/medical laboratory scientists by rotating through the major divisions of the clinical laboratory. They learn to perform laboratory procedures by assisting with actual tests on hospital patients. Because their learning is directly related to patients and their illnesses, students develop an important professional concept–a sense of responsibility toward patients.
Students also attend lectures on a daily basis. Both lectures and lab rotations are accompanied by frequent written, oral and practical examinations. The entire clinical course is concluded with a comprehensive examination.
Upon successful completion of the clinical program, students receive a certificate from the School of Medical Technology and are eligible to take a national certification examination. For the last three years, 100% of graduates have sat for the ASCP Board of Certification exam. The program currently has a 100% pass rate for the exam. (revised 1/2013)
Students are selected for admission to the School of Medical Technology on the basis of college performance, aptitude for medical laboratory science, interest, motivation, character, health status and Mississippi residency. Student, faculty and employment selection practices are non-discriminatory with respect to race, color, creed, sex, age, disability and national origin.
For either 4+1 or 3+1 students, academic requirements include successful completion of required courses in the following academic disciplines:
A cumulative grade point average of 2.70 and a 2.70 math/science GPA are also required. In addition, all applicants must successfully complete the Graduate Record Exam. If the applicant’s native language is not English, successful completion of the TOEFL exam is required.
Individuals who have met the minimum educational requirements, including GRE and TOEFL exams, seven or more years prior to application must complete additional academic work before qualifying. All “updated” academic work must be approved by the Program Director.
Applicants must meet the essential functions of a Medical Technologist. The essential functions include the ability to read and write effectively, to sit and stand with freedom of movement for extended periods of time, including lifting up to ten pounds, to reach over and bend around instruments, to perform repetitive motions, to demonstrate good hand-eye coordination and near visual acuity, to see through a microscope, to hear intercom and instrument alarms, to discriminate color reactions of special stains and other laboratory procedures, to possess necessary manual dexterity, to effectively communicate verbally and in writing with patients and staff, to wear personal protective equipment and be aware of potential exposure to contagious diseases and chemical irritants.
Mental aptitude of the Medical Technologist includes frequent periods of concentration requiring close attention to many integrated processes and details with frequent interruptions. Independent judgment is required.
Applications may be submitted at any time. The application deadline is January 1 for entrance into the following Fall class. If the regular Fall class is not filled, students may be admitted at other times during the year at the discretion of program officials.
There is no tuition fee; however a $1,000 activity fee is charged. Students must purchase their own textbooks and uniforms as well as provide for their own housing and transportation.
3+1 students should have access to the usual financial aid provided through their college or university. At times, stipend funds are available through the MBMC Clinical Laboratory for students enrolled in the School of Medical Technology. In addition, the Program Director provides information about various scholarships that may be available. Contact the Program Director for more information about the student stipend and scholarships.
An overview of various managerial and supervisory theories and practices is also provided. Students solve management problems during clinical rotation and lectures.
For more information about the School of Medical Technology or to request a tour of the laboratory, contact the Program Director at 601-968-3070 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send completed applications, reference evaluation forms, test scores and official college transcripts to: Program Director School of Medical Technology Mississippi Baptist Medical Center 1225 North State Street Jackson, MS 39202
A medical laboratory scientist is a highly skilled individual who performs and evaluates laboratory procedures on blood and body fluids to aid physicians and other healthcare professionals in diagnosing and monitoring disease states. They may also be involved in developing new diagnostic procedures, supervising and conducting biomedical research, providing technical expertise, consulting and teaching as well as analyzing and implementing laboratory information systems. The primary disciplines in laboratory medicine include clinical chemistry, hematology, clinical microbiology, clinical immunology, immunohematology (transfusion medicine) and molecular diagnostics.
The medical laboratory science profession offers multiple career tracks based on level of education. A Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) is an associate degreed individual involved in the performance of lab procedures, the maintenance of instruments, and the relating of lab findings to common diseases/conditions. Medical Technologists/Medical Laboratory Scientists (MT/MLS) obtain a baccalaureate degree and have a more extensive theoretical knowledge base. They perform high-level laboratory procedures as well as evaluate and interpret test results, integrate data, problem solve, consult, conduct research and develop new test methods.
University-based programs are typically degree programs. They are often two years in length and offer a slower pace for students. Upon completion of the program, students may be awarded a baccalaureate degree in Medical Laboratory Science. Hospital-based programs are typically certificate programs. They are often one year in length and offer a more intensive fast pace for students. Upon completion of the program, students receive a certificate of completion. As hospital-based programs typically are unable to grant degrees, the students they accept must have completed a baccalaureate degree already (4+1 student) or be in the final year of degree completion (3+1 student). Hospitals maintain affiliation agreements with colleges or universities that allow the MLS program to send grades to the college or university that will grant the degree for the 3+1 student. Regardless of whether a student has a degree in MLS from a university-based program or a certificate of completion from a hospital-based program, once a student completes a NAACLS accredited program, he or she is eligible to sit for a national certification exam.
Currently there is a nationwide shortage of medical laboratory science personnel. Graduates have many options related to where and what hours they want to work. MLS graduates work in hospital laboratories, physician office laboratories, veterinary laboratories and reference laboratories. They work in public health laboratories, at the CDC, in research and in molecular science. They work in reagent sales, instrument sales and service, marketing, education and management. They work in information systems, industry and forensics. Many graduates use MLS as a stepping-stone to medical school or law school. The possibilities are endless.
Salaries vary depending on geographic location and type of position. Graduates who work evening or night shifts frequently receive a “shift differential” in addition to their base pay. Those working in physician office labs may receive a lower salary, but they usually do not work nights, weekends or holidays. Contact a local MLS Program Director or see www.salary.com for more information related to MLS salaries in your area.
Most programs require basic biology and chemistry courses. The following is a non-inclusive list of the types of courses that will prepare you for a MLS program: Microbiology, Immunology, Cell Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Molecular Biology, Parasitology, Statistics, Physics, Computer Science, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Genetics and Research Methods.
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