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Medical Laboratory Technicians in High Demand

Elizabeth City, North Carolina — While 2020 has brought on a pandemic crisis that has our healthcare communities working tirelessly to help those affected, it has also presented the need for positions in the healthcare field whose response is not on the front lines. The Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program at College of The Albemarle (COA) gives students an opportunity to begin a career in healthcare behind the scenes to deliver critical lab results in medical facilities.

Medical laboratory technicians have been thrust into the spotlight amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. With the around-the-clock testing of the virus across the globe, technicians and technologists are responsible for ensuring accurate readings of test results to aid physicians in their diagnoses. Medical lab technicians are employed by a number of healthcare facilities including hospitals, state health departments, reference and forensic laboratories, and pharmaceutical and biotech firms. Based on the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, employment of medical laboratory technicians and technologists has an anticipated growth rate of 11 percent through 2028.*

The MLT program at COA can be completed in four semesters. The program begins with the spring semester and students enrolled take courses through summer, fall and spring of the following year. Students in the program graduate with an Associate in Applied Science degree and are eligible to take the national certification exam to become a certified medical laboratory technician. In 2019, COA graduates of the MLT program who sat for The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science Board of Certification exam received a 100 percent pass rate. There are a number of four-year universities that graduates may transfer to upon completion of the program, and COA currently has an articulation agreement with Old Dominion University.

“Medical laboratory professionals are a vital part of any healthcare team. Many know very little about the profession because we are often behind the scenes, with limited exposure in the public eye,” explained Terri Riddick, Assistant Professor/Program Coordinator of the Phlebotomy and MLT programs at COA. “As the country continues to battle the pandemic of 2020, requiring more testing, these trained professionals are in demand. COA graduates have a historical employment rate of 100 percent within six months of graduating; most students have jobs secured before graduation.”

The deadline to apply for fall admittance into the MLT program at COA is Oct. 15, 2020. For questions, contact Christopher Robertson, Director of Health Sciences and Wellness Programs Admissions/Advisement, at or 252-335-0821 ext. 2304.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians (visited May 17, 2020).