What is a Medical Laboratory Scientist (Medical Technologist)?

As a valued member of the health care team, the medical laboratory scientist uses advanced technology to perform analyses on blood and other body fluids to aid in detecting and/or treating disease. Working closely with physicians and other allied health professionals, the medical laboratory scientist (often called a medical technologist) plays an integral role in comprehensive patient care by providing accurate and timely results. Graduates of a medical laboratory science training program have a firm foundation enabling them to work in the medical laboratory and pursue graduate study for many advanced or alternate career paths.

Medical Laboratory Science Program Philosophy and Goals 

The Undergraduate Program

The Medical Laboratory Science Program at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children cooperates with area colleges and universities in offering the clinical year of a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Science. During the first three years, the student follows a course of study concentrating on biology and chemistry at the college where the student is matriculated. In the fourth year, all courses are held at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and various medical laboratory sites in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.  To fulfill their clinical and academic requirements in 10.5 months, students spend two months in didactic instruction with the remainder of time spent as follows: Mondays in the classroom and Tuesday-Fridays in their medical laboratory rotations. The academic year begins in late August and ends in early July late June.

The Post Baccalaureate Program

Enrollment in the Medical Laboratory Science Program is not limited to undergraduates. Individuals with Bachelor's degrees and Medical Laboratory Technicians who wish to advance to the Medical Laboratory Science level are also accepted based on their qualifications and mandatory prerequisites. Individuals with Bachelor's degrees who have already taken the courses required by the certification agencies are typically required to take only the courses given during the clinical year at the hospital.

College Affiliates

While the program accepts students from many colleges, it is currently affiliated with:

  • Bloomsburg University
  • East Stroudsburg University
  • Gwynedd-Mercy University
  • Holy Family University
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Slippery Rock University
  • University of The Sciences in Philadelphia
  • West Chester University
  • Wilkes University

Hospital Affiliates

Clinical rotations will be performed at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Capital Health Medical Center and Temple University Hospital. These rotations will provide a broader experience for the students and enhance their understanding of the profession of medical laboratory science (medical technology) in both pediatric and adult populations.

The Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to give the student a thorough background in the performance, interpretation and application of medical laboratory procedures. Equally important is the emphasis placed on correlation of test results with pathologic conditions of patients. 

The four major areas of the hospital laboratory are Microbiology, Clinical Chemistry, Hematology and Immunohematology (Blood Bank). Upon completion of the internship year, the individual will be proficient in each of these four areas. Students will also be introduced to the clinical disciplines of Serology, Point-of-Care Testing, Cytogenetics, Virology, Respiratory Therapy, HLA, and Molecular Diagnostics. In addition, students are exposed to the basics of health care management, education, research and computer skills, which are applicable to career advancement and/or graduate school. 


Course Descriptions

Pre-Clinical Course Requirements

The Medical Laboratory Science Program at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children is fully accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). You may contact the NAACLS at 5600 N. River Rd., Suite 720 Rosemont, IL 60018-5119 or NAACLS.org..

In order to become enrolled in a NAACLS-approved medical laboratory science program, students must take college-level courses in the following areas:

  • A minimum of 16 semester hours of Biological Sciences to include: Microbiology, Immunology, Anatomy and Physiology
  • A minimum of 16 semester hours in Chemistry to include: Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry
  • A minimum of three semester hours of college-level Mathematics, preferably Statistics

Recommended:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Hematology/Coagulation
  • Immunohematology (Blood Bank)
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Computer courses to include the use and function of Windows, spreadsheet usage, database usage, and word-processing.

Survey courses do not qualify as fulfillment of chemistry and biology science prerequisites. Remedial mathematics courses will not satisfy the mathematics requirements. Other science courses may be necessary to satisfy the degree requirements of the various college affiliates. Students will be required to update any biology and chemistry course work completed more than seven years prior to admission to their clinical year. Students completing course work in a foreign country must submit a transcript evaluation. Further information on this can be obtained from the program director.

Clinical Course Requirements

* Students will spend a five-day week on the hospital site. 
** Varies somewhat with each college affiliate.

Number of College Credits**
Medical Hematology and Coagulation    4
Clinical Hematology and Coagulation    2
Immunology    2
Clinical Immunohematology    2
Medical Immunohematology    2
Urinalysis and Other Body Fluids    2
Medical Chemistry    4
Clinical Chemistry and Urinalysis    4
Medical Microbiology    5
Clinical Microbiology and Serology    4
Clinical Seminar    4

National Certification

Upon completion of the program and all other college requirements, the student is eligible to receive a bachelor's degree. This is conferred by the college at which the student is enrolled. The student is then eligible to take the nationally administered certification examination to become a credentialed Medical Laboratory Scientist - MLS(ASCP).

Admissions

The Admissions Committee at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children bases its acceptance on the strength of a student's academic record, recommendations and a personal interview that is conducted during the application process.  

The prerequisites for admission into the internship program include approximately 90 semester credits of both liberal arts and science courses, including the content areas listed previously under Pre-Clinical Course Requirements. Admission will be limited to students with a minimum cumulative average of 2.5 and minimum average of 2.5 in all science courses. If accepted, into the Program, the student must maintain a 3.0 average in all science courses during the fourth year. The program accepts applications from June through October for the next academic year's class. All applications should be received no later than October 31st. The MLS Program at St. Christopher's accepts only 8 students each year to provide the very best in personalized education in the medical laboratory sciences. Students assume responsibility for their own health care and hospitalization costs. In addition, all Medical Laboratory Science students are required to maintain health insurance during their professional training experience. 

Tuition

For individuals affiliated with a college, tuition varies depending on the institution. For persons with a degree, tuition is charged by St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. The current tuition rate for the Medical Lab Science Program is $15,000/ year.  This rate is not inclusive of the textbooks which usually range from $600.00 - $900.00 for the entire program. Upon acceptance into the program, a $1000 nonrefundable deposit must be received within 30 days. The remaining balance must be paid in two installments outlined in the acceptance letter in the amount of $7000.00 each. 

MLS Program Refund Policy

Tuition refunds are granted as follows:

Students enrolled in our Program through one of our affiliate colleges must abide by the refund policy of the respective college to which they pay tuition if the college is reimbursing the hospital; otherwise, the refund policy for students who withdraw during the curriculum year will be pro-rated and will depend upon:

  • Length of attendance
  • Reason for leaving is voluntary drop-out, not dismissal

Percent of refund is as follows:

If a student spends less than 60 percent of the time, for the first time, in the program, the student is entitled to a pro-rated refund.


Program Outcomes

Year ​Graduation Rate ​Certification Rate ​Job Placement Rate
Class of 2013 100% ​88% 100%
Class of 2014 100% 100% 100%
Class of 2015 100% 71% 100%
Class of 2016 100% ​88% 100%
Class of 2017 88% 100% 100%
Class of 2018 100% ​88% 100%
Class of 2019 100% 100% 100%

MLS Program Application

To apply for admission to the Medical Laboratory Science Program at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, contact:

MLS Program Director
School of Medical Laboratory Science
St. Christopher's Hospital for Children 
160 East Erie Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19134 
Phone: 215-427-5306 

Application Documents

St. Christopher's Hospital for Children does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, age, national origin, handicap, sexual preference, disability or Vietnam era veteran status or financial status, in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, their programs, activities or facilities.

Graduates of our program are prepared for many varied and stimulating career opportunities.

Graduates may:

Practice as generalists, rotating through all sections of the laboratory; or they may specialize in one section, such as hematology, blood bank, microbiology, chemistry or immunology. 
Work in a city, suburban or rural hospital, in the armed services or Veterans Affairs, in a medical school or research institute, in private or commercial laboratories or in public health.
Accept a wide variety of positions in other laboratories and in public health.
Perform a wide variety of positions in other laboratory-related industries:

  • Marketing, Research and Development
  • Technical Sales
  • Instrument Service
  • Management
  • Instructors/Professors
  • Medical Writing
  • Pharmaceutical Sales/Research and Development
  • Forensic Laboratories
  • Fertility Centers
  • Health Departments
  • Elect to continue their education in areas such as a laboratory specialty, computer science, business/healthcare administration or healthcare education. This advanced education may permit them to pursue careers as educators, healthcare administrators, healthcare computer specialists or laboratory consultants/inspectors.
  • Choose to attend a medical, dental or veterinary school.