Medical Laboratory Technology Program

Loading the player ...

The Medical Laboratory Technology Program is an essential member of the health care team, performing laboratory tests used in the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of disease, and the maintenance of health.

Professionals in this field are described as being investigative, problem solvers, science-minded, and dedicated. They are the health care team's microbiologists, blood bankers, and chemists.

The Medical Laboratory Technology Program provides the general education core, sciences, and clinical laboratory education courses necessary for career-entry preparation.


It is the mission of the Medical Laboratory Technician Program to provide well trained, professional, knowledgeable and competent Medical Laboratory Technicians to serve the healthcare community and public at large.


1.  Graduates will demonstrate the ability to comprehend, apply, and evaluate clinical information relevant to their role as a Medical Laboratory Technician.

2.  Graduates will demonstrate entry-level technical competency in all skills necessary to fulfill their role as a Medical Laboratory Technician.

3.  Graduates will demonstrate personal behaviors consistent with professional and employer expectations of a Medical Laboratory Technician.

4.  Graduates will render both professional and personal services to the patient, physicians, coworkers, other laboratory professionals, and commumity.

5.  Graduates will possess the necessary knowledge to pass their certification exam and meet the criteria for licensure established by the Tennessee Medical Laboratory Board.

6.  The program will educate and train students to perform as knowledgeable and competent medical laboratory technicians.


Accreditation of this program has been granted through

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N River Rd
Suite 720
Rosemont, IL  60018
(773) 714-8880



Program Admission Requirements

Program Admission & Nondiscriminatory Statement

Policies for admission, promotion and graduation shall be implemented without discrimination or bias.  Volunteer State Community College is an equal opportunity affirmative action educational institution.  No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of the College because of race, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation or handicap.  Due to the nature of the MLT profession, the ability to distinguish colors shall be assessed before admission into the program.

Admission to the MLT program is limited and on a competitive basis.  The MLT program starts in May and continues for twelve months.  Screening for entry into the program is conducted in April.  Acceptance is contingent upon completion of the general education core and MLT 100 with a 2.2 minimum GPA.  Elibible candidates must participate in an interview with the Screening Committee.  Please see the information packet for more information about  class selection criteria.

Schedule of Selection and Notification

  • Deadline for program application:   March15.
  • Interview:  scheduled after March 15.
  • Review of applications by selection committee.  Class selection is based on:
    • Minimum GPA of 2.2
    • Acceptable performance in MLT 100
    • Interview
    • Acceptable background check and drug screen (initiated after program acceptance)

Special consideration is given to those with previous health-care experience, high GPA in science courses, knowledge of profession, and a good interview score.  Twelve (12) students are accepted each year into the MLT program.  Preference is given to in-state residents.

  • Students are notified of acceptance in writing by mid-April.
  • Following acceptance into the Program, students must respond in writing within 10 days after the postmarked date of their acceptance letters.  A student who failes to respond will forfeit his/her place in the class.
  • The MLT program courses begins in May and continues for twelve months, ending with graduation.

Essentials Functions

Essential functions, as dictated by leading professional organizations in the field of laboratory science, represent the non-academic requirements of the program that all students must master to successfully participate in the program and become employable.  Before beginning the MLT program, all students are expected to have the following abilities upon which the program can build:

  1. Vision:  Able to read and interpret charts, graphs, and labels:  read and interpret instrument panels and printouts; discriminate colors, hue, shading or intensity and clarity; read microscopic material and record results.
  2. Speech and Hearing:  Able to communicate effectively and sensitively in order to assess non-verabal communication; adequately and accurately transmit information; follow verbal or written communication; have clarity of speech especially if English is not one's first language.
  3. Motor Functions:  Possess all skills necessary to carry out diagnostic procedures; manipulate tools, instruments and equipment; perform phlebotomy safely and accurately; travel to a clinical site for clinical experience.
  4. Behavioral Requirements:  Possess the emotional health required for full utilization of applicant's intellectual abilities; be able to recognize emergency and take appropriate action.
  5. Physical Requirements:  Able to complete fine repetitive hand movements; twist and bend; handle flammable and infectious materials; handle hazardous chemicals and electrical equipment; lift ten (10) pounds; maintain prolonged sitting or standing positions; maintain concentration with distracting noises and close proximity to fellow workers; tolerate unpleasant odors; work in buildings either above or below ground level; work in an environment without windows; perform keyboarding.
  6. Critical Thinking:  Able to appropriately and accurately perform complex interpretative testing.
  7. Professionalism:  Able to maintain a professional attitude and appearance as described in the MLT Student Manual.

Transfers, Advanced Placement, Etc.

The College Catalogue contains information about applying credit earned outside of Volunteer State Community College (including credit for life experiences).  The College's Admissions Office website contains information addressing a number of questions for transfer students and those seeking advance placement.  

Course Descriptions

MLT course descriptions can be found in the Volunteer State Community College on-line catalog.

Tuition and Fees

The Business Office posts information about tuition and fees as well as refund policies.  The Advising Office website provides instructions concerning the withdrawal process.  The MLT Program's Information Packet includes information about additional costs associated with the program.

Graduation Competencies

Each student must demonstrate his/her knowledge in each of the following areas by written and/or practical examination prior to graduation from this program:

  1. Blood bank/Transfusion medicine including:
    • Blood bank skills including blood type, antibody screen and identification, DAT, cross-match,
    • HDFN & tranfusion reaction work-ups
    • Blood products and transfusion practices
  2. Hematology including:
    • Blood smear preparation and evaluation of normal and abnormal blood smears
    • Routine hematology and coagulation tests including automted cell counts, spun hematocritis, and cell counts using a hemocytometer, PT/INR, aPTT, and FSP
    • Clinical lab findings in normal physiology, anemia, leukemia, and bleeding/clotting disorders
  3. Clinical Chemistry including:
    • General medical knowledge including normal and abnormal analyte and enzyme ranges
    • Correlating test results to diseases
    • Pipetting and preparing dilutions
    • Instrumentation to include theory, maintenance and troubleshooting
  4. Medical Microbiology including:
    • Sterile technique and speciment set-up
    • Identification of medically significant bacteria, fungi, and parasites
    • Susceptibility testing
  5. Immunology and Special techniques
    • Cellular and humoral immunity including antibodies, complement, and histocompatibility.
    • The ability to follow procedures such as those found in immunology/serology kits
    • Serology of autoimmune and infectious diseases
    • Molecular science and techniques as applied to healthcare
    • Flow cytometry
  6. Urinalysis and body fluids including:
    • Routine urine analysis to include physical, chemical and microscopic evaluation as well as confirmatory tests
    • body fluid analysis including synovial fluid, semen, serous fluids, amniotic fluid, stool and CSF specimens
  7. General Lab Operations including:
    • Phlebotomy and specimen processing
    • Infection control
    • Quality control and quality assurance
    • Instrumentation to include routine maintenance and troubleshooting
    • Laboratory mathematics
    • Lab safety
  8. Professional and ethical expectations in the medical laboratory including appropriate conduct and communication.

College policies are available at the following links:

Service Work

This is an accelerated, highly specialized course of study.  The MLT  program recommends no more than 20 hours of work per week after the student begins the program to allow sufficient time for class, study, and personal needs.

Students are not responsible for service work in the clinical laboratory.  Any service work is noncompulsory outside of scheduled class or clinical hours.  Students are not to be substituted for licensed employees.  Students enrolled in the program may choose to be employed in affiliated medical laboratory offices or clinics.  This work relationship must be separate from educational activities.


Academic advisors are assigned to all students enrolled at Volunteer State Community College.  Academic advisors are committed to helping students meet their educational needs though referrals to other resources of the institution.  Medical Laboratory Program faculty are available to advise students as needed.  The College's advising office on campus has academic advisors available for guidance.  For more information, contact the Advising Department

Students concerns related to tests, course content, performance, etc, can be addressed during scheduled meetings with instructors.  The Program Director and the Health Sciences Division Dean are also available for counseling assistance.  All counseling is conducted with confidentiality and impartiality.

Clinical Assignment

The Medical Laboratory Technology Program requires a specific number of hours in clinical patient care experiences.  The Program limits the number of students it accepts so that all students starting the second year will be guaranteed a clinical assignment.  Students may request their preferred clinical site.  A reasonable effort is made to honor all requests.  A request in no way guarantees an assignment to any particular rotation site.  The Medical Laboratory proram reserves the right to assign students to clinical sites where there is available space for clinical experience.

Clinical sites may be two hours of travel time from the college.  Students are responsible for transportation to and from clinical sites.  Any parking or transportation fees are the responsibility of the student.  Please see the Information Packet for a list of clinical affiliates. 

Student Grievance and Appeals

All student complaints must be addressed.  Some complaints may require an investigation into the situation(s) surrounding the student complaint.  This is done to ensure a fair and resonable resolution of the complaint and that due process is followed.  Procedures for student grievance and appeals can be found in the on-line student handbook (topics are arranged alphabetically) or on Volunteer State Community Colleg's on-line policies.  See APPEAL FOR GRADE CHANGE (VSCC Policy III:15:06) and STUDENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURES (VSCC Policies III:00:06 & V:02:19)

Criteria for program completion

This is a nontraditional course of study so hours of study and length of semester may not exactly parallel Volunteer State Community College semesters, holidays, and/or breaks.
A link to the College's Academic calendar can be found on the College's homepage and the College Catalogue.  The Program issues a schedule at the beginning of the program and again before clinical rotations begin.

The Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Laboratory Technology is an accelerated "one-plus-one" program of study.

  1. The first year is "Pre-MLT" and consists of general education and prerequisite courses.
  2. After acceptance but before admission to the program, studens must pass a background check.
  3. Upon admission into the program, students are considered to be MLT students and will begin the second year.  Students are involved in the MLT training for a period of twelve months.
  4. The second year is a three-semester, full time program of study starting in May of each year.
    • The summer and early fall are spent in the classroom and student laboratories.
    • At the end of all didactic and student lab courses and before clinical rotations, students must prove competency in key laboratory skills to progress to clinical rotations.
    • The second half of the fall and the entire spring term are spent in clinical rotations.
    1. A drug screen must be passed before clinical rotaions can be started.
    2. Clinical rotations consist of eight (8) hours/day, Monday through Thursday.
    3. Additional classroom instruction occurs on Friday mornings.
  5. A grade of "C or better" in all MLT courses is required for progression through the program.  An exam average of 70% or better in each course is required to successfully pass any MLT course and for progression through the program.  Lab Skills are assessed throughout the program and students must demonstrate progressive mastery of these skills.  Each rotation through a clinical lab section includes an exam.  Students must earn > 70% on the rotation exam and a 'B' on the clinical evaluation in order to progress to their next rotation. Unacceptable or unlawful behavior at clinical sites may result in dismissal from the program.
  6. The awarding of a degree is NOT contingent on passing a certification exam.

The program sets forth academic and behavioral standards for students.  These standards are aimed at ensuring the academic and professional success of program graduates.  When standards are not met, students are placed on probation and given a chance to correct themselves.  If correction does not occur, a student may be dismissed from the program.  In rare instances, some offenses are so grievous that correction is not attempted.

The goal of probation is restoration.  It is important for both the student and program official to recognize that correction is meant for the betterment of the student and/or the profession.  The usual progression is an initial, documented discussion with the program director concerning the unmet standard.  If correction is not made after this initial discussion, program probation follows.  Probation includes the terms of probation and consequences if expectations are not met.


Students are expected to behave as responsible members of the Medical Laboratory Technology Progam in the classroom and laboratory, and as responsible professional members of the medical team in the clinical setting.  Students are expected to avoid any conduct that would be in violation of federal laws, Tennessee State laws, policies of the Medical Laboratory Technology Program or the College (see VSCC Policy III:00:05) in the Student Handbook or Volunteer State Community College policies.

Honesty, as the basic component of trust, is essential to both individual and institutional integrity.  With this premise in mind, Volunteer State Community College has set forth certain behaviors as violating academic honesty and regards academic dishonesty as a serious offense.

Professionalism, required of MLT students, is a broad topic and includes attendance, patient confidentiality and professional appearance.  In brief, the student will-in classroom, laboratory, and clinical rotations be responsible for ahere to the following:

  1. Arrive on time to all scheduled learning activities (class, lab, rotations, etc.)
  2. Communicate in a consistently pleasant, polite, professional manner, and convey respect in interactions with instructors, healthcare providers, other students, and patients
  3. Not engage in rumors, gossip, lying or slander
  4. Not commit a misdemeanor or felony
  5. Not commit acts which violate the rights of others
  6. Assume accountability for personal behavior as a representative of the Volunteer State Community College Medical Laboratory Technolgoy Program
  7. All Medical Laboratory Technology students are required to follow the professional appearance code while at clinical sites.  A neat, clean, and professional appearance is expected at all times.  Failure to adhere to the professional appearance code will result in a warning, and, if not corrected, can result in dismissal from the clinical setting.  This will be considered an absent day.
  8. Policies and guidelines for each facility must be followed by the student.  If policies are not followed, the student may be removed from the clinical site.  Any work or conduct at the clinical site that is detrimental to the patient will constitute removal from the clinical course and possible dismissal from the program.

Failure to adhere to the code of conduct may result in verbal and/or written warnings and if not corrected, dismissal from the program.

Program Effectiveness

The MLT program measures its effectiveness through several outcomes.



Class of 2014


(2012, 2013, 2014)

Graduation Rate 83% 85%
Certification rate (within one year of graduation) 89% 90%
Licensure rate (within one year of graduation) 80% 84%
Placement rate 89% (Preliminary) 83%
Graduate satisfaction 4 out of 5 (Preliminary) 3.8 out of 5
Employer satisfaction 4 out of 5 (Preliminary) 4.4 out of 5 (Preliminary)
Student Background Check & Drug Screening

Effective September 1, 2005, students seeking enrollment in designated Health Sciences programs requiring participation in clinical training in area hospitals and related clinics/agencies must provide evidence of a passing score on a background check prior to official acceptance/enrollment into the respective program. Either the failure to provide the required background check results by the due date established or the receipt of anything other than a passing score on the background check will make a student ineligible for enrollment in the respective program. Background checks are performed at the student's expense. Find more detailed information about Student Background Checks.

Drug Screening

Students seeking enrollment in the Health Sciences Programs requiring participation in clinical training in area hospitals and related clinics must provide evidence of having passed a 10-panel urine drug screen prior to official acceptance/enrollment in the Program.  Find out more information about the screening procedures and locations.

Degree Advancement

MTSU and Volunteer State Community College have developed an AAS-to-BS program to allow students who earn an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology at Volunteer State Community College to transfer the majority of those credits to MTSU toward the completion of a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies with a concentration in Organizational Leadership. This degree is offered through MTSU's University College in cooperation with the Tennessee Board of Regents.

MTSU provides a wealth of information about Degree Advancement Program on their website; including an information sheet about Medical Laboratory Technology.

Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN has an on-line MLT to MLS program for MLTs that have three years of work experience.  Additional information can be found at http://www.apsu.edu/medical-technology/online-mlt-program

What to Do Next