Celebration of Medical Technology Laboratory Week Highlights the Need for More Students to Enter the Field

Apr 20th, 2021

Medical laboratory technology students at Jackson State Community College, who are celebrating a week that highlights their profession, know they are entering an open job market after graduation.

Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, April 18-24, is an annual celebration of medical laboratory professionals and pathologists who play a vital role in health care and patient advocacy, said Pete O'Brien, Jackson State's Program Director and Associate Professor of the Medical Laboratory Technician Program.

Jackson State's Medical Laboratory Technician Program (MLT), which began in 1969 and is one of the oldest in the country, teaches students to hunt for clues about the absence, presence, extent, and causes of diseases, O'Brien explained. "This is a field for those people who are part scientist and part detective."

Medical laboratory technicians perform general tests in the lab. Medical laboratory testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases as well as monitoring and maintaining patient health.

O'Brien frequently gets emails from recruiters looking for medical laboratory technicians and medical technologists for jobs that are available across the country. "Signing bonuses are a real thing, and salaries are going up," O'Brien said.

Students interested in the 24-month program are encouraged to apply online now at jscc.edu. The student must submit an application to both the college and MLT. The deadline is June 1 to begin classes for the fall term.

The MLT program includes both academic courses and clinical instruction.

Students graduate from the program with an Associate Degree and are ready to go to work. For the past 30 years, almost all of Jackson State's MLT graduates have passed their licensure and certification exams on the first attempt - their averages on exit exams are well above state and national averages.

The need for medical laboratory technicians has been increasing for years; the extra lab testing during the COVID pandemic increased the need even more.

Like the school's other high-achieving programs, Jackson State's MLT graduates typically don't have a problem finding work. "The majority of the time, if our students want a job, they can have one when they walk across the stage at graduation," O'Brien said. "They can go anywhere once they have this degree."

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