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Carrington College Blog

What Will I Learn: Medical Laboratory Technician

December 14, 2016

Finding out what’s wrong with a patient is an important part of their medical journey, maybe the most important. That all starts with a medical laboratory technician doing their job right. So what does a medical laboratory technician do, and what will you learn on the Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program [1] at Carrington College? We spent some time with students and instructors to find out.


What does a medical laboratory technician do?

MLT program director Kara says, “Medical laboratory technicians are vital to help physicians or clinicians determine what exactly is going wrong with the patient.”

How do MLTs do that? They run different tests on blood, bodily fluids and specimens. The results of those complex tests give doctors answers they need to help diagnose an illness. Medical laboratory technicians, sometimes called medical lab techs or clinical laboratory technicians, work in hospitals, diagnostic labs and doctor’s offices. Britney, an MLT student shares her view. “We’re behind the scenes. We go through the specimens, the blood, the urine and what not, to help the doctor come up with a diagnosis.”

Read more about what does a medical laboratory technician do?

Tell me more about the Medical Laboratory Technician program.

Carrington’s Medical Laboratory Technician Associate Degree program consists of six terms and takes about two years [2] to complete. The first five terms are made up of lectures and hands-on lab work. During the sixth term you’ll go out to a clinical site and practice what you’ve learned on campus.

What will I do in the lab on the MLT program?

If you’re a bit of a science geek (which is a good thing!) then you might make a perfect medical laboratory technician! Geeking out in the lab is the highlight for many MLT students! Listen to what these guys have been up to so far.

“The lab part of it is the best ever! We have the opportunity to diagnose and view different parasites under the microscope,” explains MLT student Toya.

“We’re learning more about lab safety in the first part, then we’re going to venture into the different branches of hematology and urinalysis. Last week we drew blood,” said student Sage.

As a medical lab tech, you certainly can’t be scared of blood or needles! Depending on where you work, you may be asked to draw a patient’s blood for testing, and that can be scary at first, as student Marisella explains. “The first initial poke was the hardest, but after that it’s just learning how to do it without hurting anybody!” We asked Marisella what she enjoys about the program; “Being hands-on in the lab and learning about all the different things that we can do; I mean we can grow bacteria in the lab; that’s really interesting because you can make something happen.”

“We’ve done gram staining [a frequently used technique to tell two groups of bacteria apart], we’ve learned all about the different kinds of parasites,” explains Britney. “I love getting in the lab and being able to draw blood and look at all the different bacteria under the microscope.”

What about after college?

Some states, including California and Nevada, require medical lab techs to be licensed [3] while others (Arizona for example) don’t. Visit The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science for all the details about states where MLTs need a license. MLT student Toya already has her career plan laid out. “[After college] I’m going to do a full year here in Arizona, and then I’ll be able to move to California and travel with my Medical Laboratory Technician degree.”

We’ll save the last word for Toya, who sums up her advice for anyone considering the Medical Laboratory Technician program at Carrington College… “Start as soon as possible!”

So what are you waiting for?

Click here to learn more about the Medical Laboratory Technician program at Carrington College.

[1] Important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rate of students who attended this program can be found at visit

[2] Not including breaks. Program length by weeks and admission requirements can be found here in the academic catalog.

[3] Carrington College prepares students to take appropriate certification and licensure exams related to their individual majors. The College does not guarantee students will successfully pass these exams or be certified or licensed as a result of completing the program.