Laboratory Technology Associate's Degree
A laboratory technology associate degree will teach you to examine and perform various tests on body fluids and cells in order to detect the presence of microorganisms and cross match blood samples for transfusions. Read on to find out more about programs and professional credentials. Learn about hybrid degree programs and career prospects. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What's the Advantage of Earning a Laboratory Technology Associate's Degree?
With an associate's degree in laboratory technology, you may be able to secure a position as a clinical or medical laboratory technician. As a laboratory technician, you work under the supervision of a physician, scientist or technologist in a clinical setting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's degree or certificate in medical technology is the minimum educational requirement for becoming a technician (www.bls.gov). To qualify as a medical technologist, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree in the field.
One of the best sources you can use to locate a program leading to an associate's degree in laboratory technology is the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) (www.naacls.org). At its website, the NAACLS lists over 450 accredited programs for laboratory technologists and technicians.
What Are Some Program Details?
It will take you about two years to complete an associate degree in laboratory technology. Depending on school policy and program configuration, you may be able to earn an Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Arts in the field. Typical courses include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, serology, parasitology, immunology, hematology, urinalysis and microbiology. All programs also include extensive internships to prepare you to work in clinical settings.
Where Does Certification Come In?
The BLS asserts that you can find out about specific licensing and certification requirements through your state's health department or board of occupational licensing. Even if your state doesn't require you to be certified as a lab technician, employers often prefer you to pass a certification examination. Examinations are administered by organizations such as the American Medical Technologists or the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.
What Are My Online Options?
Because of the necessity and extent of hands-on instruction, there are no programs delivered entirely online. However, schools may offer hybrid programs. In most hybrid programs, you have the option of completing general education and didactic courses via the Internet. You're required to complete labs and internships at a school-approved healthcare facility or clinical laboratory near your home.
What Are My Employment Possibilities?
The BLS predicted that employment for all clinical laboratory workers would increase by 14% from 2008-2018. The latest salary statistics were compiled by the BLS in 2010. At that time, the mean annual wages for laboratory technicians were $38,190. Lab technologists came in somewhat higher at $56,870. The mean salary for all other health technologists and technicians was determined to be $42,240.
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