Where Medical Mysteries are Solved: The Laboratory

Med Lab Tech at UMA

The MLT Program of Maine was created as a collaborative effort between the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the University of Maine at Augusta in cooperation with hospitals across the state that serve as clinical affiliates.

MLT LogoMedical Laboratory Technology is a two-year program leading to an Associate of Science in MLT awarded by the home campus.

The program’s vision is “Providing Quality MLT Education to Communities Across the State of Maine.” All MLT lecture courses are available via videoconferencing at locations statewide. Periodic intensive laboratories will be held at the Presque Isle or Augusta campuses. The final semester is a 20-week clinical practicum scheduled at an affiliated hospital laboratory.

There is a strong need for medical laboratory technicians as approximately 40% of the current laboratory workforce is within five to ten years of retirement. You will be prepared to ensure ongoing delivery of quality healthcare to communities across the State of Maine.

The MLT Program of Maine includes Canadian alumni that have trained in the United States and have become certified through the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS).

Upon completion, graduates are eligible to take the certification exam administered by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) or the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

The MLT Program of Maine is accredited by:
The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N. River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018
773-714-8880
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science

What is a Medical Laboratory Technician?

Med Lab Tech Student with Professors

Medical laboratory technicians (MLT) are vital to the healthcare team as they are often the first to produce patient results. MLT’s use sophisticated biomedical instrumentation, as well as manual procedures, to perform testing and provide results that are essential in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. It is estimated that over 70% of all medical decisions are based in part on  laboratory results.

The medical laboratory technician has diverse and multi-level functions in the areas of collecting, processing, and analyzing biological specimens and other substances, principles and methodologies, performance of assays, problem solving, troubleshooting techniques, correlation of clinical procedures and results, principles and practices of quality assessment, for all major areas: clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology, immunohematology, microbiology, and molecular biology practiced in the contemporary clinical laboratory.

Medical laboratory technicians practice independently and collaboratively, being responsible for their own actions, as defined by the profession. They have the requisite knowledge and skills to educate laboratory professionals, other health care professionals, and others in the laboratory practice as well as the public.

The ability to relate to people, a capacity for calm and reasoned judgment and a demonstration of commitment to the patient are essential qualities. Communication skills extend to consultative interactions with members of the healthcare team, external relations, customer service and patient education. Laboratory professionals demonstrate ethical and moral attitudes and principles that are necessary for gaining and maintaining the confidence of patients, professional associates, and the community.

Adapted from NAACLS: Unique Standards of the Medical Laboratory Technician.

Admission Requirements

The MLT Program of Maine admits a maximum of 30 new students (15 at UMPI and 15 at UMA) in the fall semester of each academic year.

In order to be considered for the MLT program, you must do the following:

Complete the following prerequisites

  • High School Diploma or GED equivalent
    • High School Chemistry with Lab or course waiver
    • High School Biology with Lab or course waiver
    • Algebra I and II or course waiver
  • Meet general admission requirements of the University
  • Submit an application to the home University
  • Provide official transcripts of all colleges attended. Courses with a grade of “C-” or better should transfer to the University.  Note: The MLT Program is science intensive and the Program Co-Directors recommend course grades of “C+” or higher.
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in courses completed at UMPI/UMA.

Note: Students interested in the program who do not meet the entrance requirements are invited to contact one of the Program Co-Directors, the advising department or the admissions office for assistance in identifying methods to obtain necessary courses required for the program.

Required Essay

We ask all potential MLT students to write an essay addressing the following questions.

  • Why are you interested in the MLT Program? You may comment on previous experiences (work or personal) that have influenced your decision to enter this field.
  • What qualities do you possess that will help you to be a good MLT?
  • What are your professional goals?

Lab Tour

It is highly recommended that if you have not had an opportunity to visit a clinical laboratory, please contact one of the Program Co-Directors for more information on scheduling a visit.

Further Education

MLT graduates may upgrade their professional certification to Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) by transferring into the BA biology program.

Additional Requirements Following Admission

For your information, if you are accepted to the MLT Program of Maine, you will need to complete the following requirements:

Criminal Background Checks

MLT students entering the clinical rotation component of the program must have a completed criminal background check on file.  If a student’s criminal background check returns evidence of a felony criminal conviction or other serious charges that could result in a clinical affiliate denying clinical rotation access to that student, a review of the situation will be conducted by the program director. Students are advised in MLT 100 that the majority of our clinical affiliates require evidence/validation of a criminal background checks as per clinical affiliate/college contract agreements. If a student has a criminal history, the clinical affiliate has the right to deny that student access to its facility and the program must disclose such information to the affiliate and allow the affiliate the right to deny or approve access to said clinical affiliate. Failure to be placed in a clinical rotation would prevent the student from completing the MLT clinical program.  In the event that the student feels that an error has been made in the results of the criminal background check, it is the responsibility of the student to contact the external vendor for a verification check.

Student Health Record

MLT students entering the clinical rotation component of the program must have a complete Health Record Form on file with the program that was completed no more than 12 months prior to the beginning of the clinical rotation. Students are advised in MLT 100 that all of our clinical affiliates require evidence/validation of immunizations and health records. The MLT Program has a standard health records form that must be completed by an approved medical provider. The following information must be completed as part of this process:

  • Two Step PPD process (evidence of Neg TB screen)
  • Evidence of immunization history
  • Required Titer levels
  • Hepatitis B vaccine or waiver form
  • Physician Evaluation

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these requirements, please contact the MLT Program Co-Director.

MLT Program of Maine Technical Standards

UMA Med Lab Tech student doing lab work

The MLT Program of Maine has established minimum essential requirements (separate from academic standards for admission), which every student must meet, with or without reasonable accommodations, in order to participate fully in all aspects of training and eventual employment in the clinical laboratory setting. These essential requirements are divided into observational, movement, communication, intellectual, and behavioral categories.

Observational – Ability to participate actively in all demonstrations, laboratory activities and clinical experiences in the professional program component. Such observation and information requires functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensations.

  • Observe laboratory demonstrations in which biologicals (i.e. body fluids, culture materials, tissue sections, and cellular specimens) are tested for their biochemical, hematological, immunological, microbiological, and histochemical components.
  • Characterize the color, odor, clarity and viscosity of biologicals, reagents, or chemical reaction products.
  • Employ a clinical binocular microscope to discriminate among fine structural and color (hue, shading, and intensity) differences of microscope specimens.
  • Read and comprehend text, numbers, and graphs displayed in print and on a video monitor.

Movement – Sufficient motor ability to execute the movement and skills required for safe and effective performance of duties.

  • Move freely and safely about a laboratory.
  • Reach laboratory benchtops and shelves, patients lying in hospital beds or patients seated in specimen collection furniture.
  • Travel to a clinical laboratory sites for practical experience.
  • Perform moderately taxing continuous work, often requiring prolonged sitting or standing, over several hours.
  • Maneuver phlebotomy and culture acquisition equipment to safely collect valid laboratory specimens from patients.
  • Possess finger and manual dexterity necessary to control laboratory equipment (i.e. pipettes, inoculating loops, test tubes), adjust instruments to perform laboratory procedures, such as handling small tools and/or parts to repair and correct equipment malfunctions, and transferring drops into tubes of small diameter.
  • Use a computer keyboard to operate laboratory instruments and to calculate, record, evaluate, and transmit laboratory information.

Communication – Ability to communicate effectively in English using verbal, non-verbal and written formats with faculty, other students, clients, families and all members of the healthcare team.

  • Read and comprehend technical and professional materials (i.e. textbooks, magazine and journal articles, handbooks and instruction manuals)
  • Follow verbal and written instructions in order to correctly and independently perform laboratory procedures.
  • Clearly instruct patients prior to specimen collection.
  • Effectively, confidentially, and sensitively converse with patients regarding laboratory tests.
  • Communicate with faculty members, fellow students, staff, and other health professionals verbally and in recorded format.
  • Independently prepare papers, prepare laboratory reports, and take paper, computer and laboratory practical examinations.

Intellectual – Ability to collect, interpret and integrate information and make decisions.

  • Possess these intellectual skills: comprehension, measurement, mathematical calculation, reasoning, integration, analysis, comparison, self-expression, and criticism.
  • Be able to exercise sufficient judgment to recognize and correct performance deviations.
  • Apply knowledge to new situations and to problem solving scenarios.

Behavioral – Possess the emotional health and stability required for full utilization of the student’s intellectual abilities, the exercise of professional judgment, the prompt completion of all academic and patient care responsibilities and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with faculty, fellow students, clinical instructors, patients and other members of the healthcare team.

  • Manage heavy academic schedules and deadlines.
  • Be able to manage the use of time and be able to systematize actions in order to complete professional and technical tasks within realistic constraints.
  • Demonstrate appropriate judgment and effectively employ intellect under conditions of stress.
  • Be able to provide professional and technical services while experiencing the stresses of task-related uncertainty (i.e. ambiguous test ordering, ambivalent test interpretation), emergent demands (i.e. stat test orders), and a distracting environment (i.e. high noise levels, crowding, complex visual stimuli)
  • Be flexible and creative and adapt to professional and technical change.
  • Recognize potentially hazardous materials, equipment, and situations and proceed safely in order to minimize risk of injury to patients, self, and nearby individuals.
  • Adapt to working with unpleasant biologicals.
  • Support and promote the activities of fellow student and of healthcare professionals. Promotion of peers helps furnish a team approach to learning, task completion, problem-solving, and patient care.
  • Be honest, compassionate, ethical, and responsible. Accept responsibility and accountability for one’s own actions. The student must be forthright about errors or uncertainty. The student must be able to critically evaluate her or his own performance, accept constructive criticism, and look for ways to improve (i.e. participate in enriched educational activities). The student must be able to evaluate the performance of fellow students and tactfully offer constructive comments.
  • Show respect for diversity: works well with individuals of different age, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation and/or educational backgrounds.
  • Exhibit professional behavior by conforming to appropriate standards of dress, appearance, language and public behavior.

Adapted from Fritsma, George A., Fiorella, Beverly J. & Murphy, Maryrose. (Jan/Feb. 1996). Essential Requirements for Clinical Laboratory Science. Clinical Laboratory Science, 9, 40-43.
Revised: July 22, 2014

Sample Curriculua

First Year – Fall Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
BIO 110 General Biology I 4
BIO 210 Human A&P 4
CHY 115 General Chemistry I 4
MLT 100 Orientation/Clinical Chemistry I 3
Total 15

 

First Year – Spring Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
MAT 115 Basic Statistics 3
CHY 116 General Chemistry II 4
MLT 203 Clinical Chemistry II & Immunology 3
BIO 321 General Microbiology 4
ENG 101 College Composition I 3
Total 17

 

First Year – Summer Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
MLT 105 Urinalysis 3
MLT 103 Phlebotomy 2
MLT 104 Phlebotomy Practicum (2 weeks) 1
PSY 100 General Psychology 3
ENG 102W UMA:   Introduction to Literature 3
Total 11-12

 

Second Year – Fall Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
MLT 204 Clinical Microbiology 4
MLT 205 Immunohematology 4
MLT 206 Hematology/Coagulation 4
COM Elective Business Communication 3
Total 15

 

Second Year – Spring Semester

Course Number – UMPI Course Number – UMA Course Name Credits
MLT 395 MLT 395 Hospital Practicum (Jan-June) 12
Total 12

First Year – Fall Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
BIO 110 General Biology I 4
CHY 115 General Chemistry I 4
ENG 101 College Composition I 3
Total 11

First Year – Spring Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
CHY 116 General Chemistry II 4
MAT 115 Basic Statistics 3
ENG 102W Introduction to Literature 3
Recommend BA-Biology requirement 3-4
Total 13-14

Second Year – Fall Semester

Course Number – UMA Course Name Credits
MLT 100 Orientation/Clinical Chemistry I 3
PSY 100 General Psychology 3
BIO 210 Human A&P 4
COM Elective Business Communication 3
Total 13

Second Year – Spring Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
MLT 203 Clinical Chemistry II & Immunology 3
BIO 321 General Microbiology 4
Recommend BA-Biology requirement 6-8
Total 13-15

Second Year – Summer Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
MLT 105 Urinalysis 3
MLT 103 Phlebotomy 2
MLT 104** Phlebotomy Practicum (2 weeks) 1
Total 5-6

**Strongly Recommended Elective

Third Year – Fall Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
MLT 204 Clinical Microbiology 4
MLT 205 Immunohematology 4
MLT 206 Hematology/Coagulation 4
Total 12

Third Year – Spring Semester

Course Number Course Name Credits
MLT 395 Hospital Practicum (Jan-June) 12
Total 12

MLT Program of Maine – Student Performance Outcomes

Graduates of the MLT Program of Maine are eligible for national certification as Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLTs).

ASCP Board of Certification Results – NAACLS Goal > 75%

The following table lists the number of graduates, number of first-time examinees, number of first-time exam takers who passed the exam, and the percentage of first-time pass rates for program graduates.

Year Number of Program Graduates Number of first-time ASCP examinees Number of first-time ASCP examinees that passed Percentage of first-time ASCP examinees that passed Number of graduates seeking Canadian certification (CSMLS)
2013 15 10 10 100% 1
2014 20 12 11 91.7% 3
2015 19 12 11 91.7% 1
Total       3-Year 34 32 94.5%

Graduation Rates – NAACLS Goal > 70%

The following table lists the graduation rates for students of the MLT Program of Maine that began the second half of the program (defined as fall semester of the second year – MLT 204, MLT 205, MLT 206).

Year UMPI Graduation Rate UMA Graduation Rate % Graduation (Combined)
2013 4 of 5 = 80% 11 of 12 = 92% 88%
2014 8 of 10 = 80% 12 of 12 = 100% 90%
2015 8 of 11 = 73% 11 of 14 = 79% 76%

Graduate Placement Rates – NAACLS Goal > 70%

The following table lists the program graduates that found jobs in the medical laboratory science profession within 12 months following successful completion of the program and the number of graduates that continued their education.

Year Number of Program Graduates Graduates working in the Lab field within 12 months post-graduation Graduates continuing their    education % Placement
2013 15 11 1 80%
2014 20 18 0 90%
2015 19 19 0 100%