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Online Colleges for Clinical Laboratory Science

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Imagine working behind the scenes to solve some of the greatest medical mysteries known to man. Picture yourself examining samples, running complicated laboratory tests and discovering the hidden cause behind an illness or disease.

With a career in clinical laboratory science, you'll work alongside doctors and other healthcare professionals to discover the inner workings of genetics and the human body. You'll perform crucial tests for healthcare practitioners, evaluate each test for quality and accuracy, and compile your results into written reports.

If all of this sounds exciting, that's because it is. By forging a career in laboratory science, you can work at the forefront of disease discovery and management. Online colleges for clinical laboratory science can train you to work in this rewarding field, but only if you find a program that works for your needs.

This page was created to introduce you to the best online colleges for clinical laboratory science and what they have to offer. If you're ready to begin a career that allows you to change lives and improve human health, keep reading.

Best Online Colleges for Clinical Laboratory Science

The best online colleges for clinical laboratory science offer quality education, flexible coursework and a curriculum that will teach you what you need to know about this career. To come up with a list of the top schools, we used a methodology to rank each school based on specific criteria. The following list includes the top five schools in this niche:

1

University of North Dakota

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$6,630
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
49
Accredited
School Type
4-year
Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the University of North Dakota offers a wide range of online degree programs. Included on that list are a bachelor's degree in medical laboratory science and a master's degree in medical laboratory science.

While the University of North Dakota is a top-notch school on its own, certain factors help it stand out. For starters, 86 percent of applicants were accepted in 2014, which is quite a lot. Meanwhile, the fact that the school offers a total of 49 degree programs online makes it a leader in the field of online learning.

Accreditation:

  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • The Higher Learning Commission
  • National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences

Location:

264 Centennial Drive, Stop 8193
Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202
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2

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$1,546
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
50
Accredited
School Type
4-year

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell offers an online program for a master of science in clinical laboratory sciences, among other excellent web-based degree programs. Helping this program stand out is its high accessibility rate, along with the fact that the school offers a full 50 online degree programs.

Students who choose this option can select a concentration in clinical research, clinical administration, health informatics, nutritional sciences or public health laboratory sciences.

Accreditation:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

Location:

1 University Ave.
Lowell, Massachusetts 01854
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3

Winston-Salem State University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$3,433
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
7
Accredited
School Type
4-year
Winston-Salem University offers a high-quality online bachelor's degree program in clinical laboratory science. Created for graduates of an accredited medical laboratory technician program, this bridge degree program helps students further their careers in clinical laboratory science.

A key point that helped this program stand out was its high prominence rank. Out of all the degrees awarded by the school in 2014, almost 2.5 percent of the degrees were awarded in clinical laboratory science. This is a relatively high percent when compared to other schools that offer this degree program.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Location:

601 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27110
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4

George Washington University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$36,747
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
54
Accredited
School Type
4-year
George Washington University offers a wide range of degree programs in fields related to clinical laboratory science and health technology. Within clinical laboratory science itself, they offer three online degree programs: a bachelor of science in health sciences and clinical research administration, a bachelor of health sciences in medical laboratory science, and a master of science in health sciences in clinical and translational research.

Helping George Washington earn its spot on this list was its high rate of graduation. In fact, in 2014 the university had a graduation rate of 79 percent. Because of this, the school received the top ranking for this metric among the 17 schools ranked.

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Location:

2121 I St. NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20052
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5

Augusta University

Tuition/Year Tuition per year refers to the average in-state tuition for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
$5,338
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
12
Accredited
School Type
4-year
Augusta University, formerly known as Georgia Regents University, offers online programs for a bachelor of science in clinical laboratory science and a master of health science in clinical laboratory science. Students who pick these programs can learn the foundation of clinical laboratory science and the lessons required for licensing.

These programs ranked relatively high in terms of accessibility and prominence when compared to other schools on our list. They ranked six for accessibility and seventh for prominence out of 17 ranked schools. In fact, the school had a 77 percent admittance rate in 2014.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science

Location:

1120 Fifteenth St.
Augusta, Georgia 30912
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Online Medical Laboratory Science Degrees

Medical laboratory science offers several different degree types, all of which can be earned online at colleges and universities. The following section includes details on each degree type, the courses available and potential outcomes once you graduate.

Online Certificate in Medical Laboratory Science

Earning an online certificate in medical laboratory science can help prepare you for employment in various medical and bioscience laboratories. During this program, which usually takes less than a year to complete, students learn to perform basic laboratory tests and apply what they learned to the real world. Commonly, graduates of these programs find work as a medical laboratory technician.

Online Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Science

An online associate degree in this field typically takes two years to complete. In addition to core curriculum, students will learn about quality patient care and laboratory standards. Also, they'll learn what it takes to work alongside doctors and other medical professionals in a laboratory setting. Students who earn online associate degrees in medical laboratory science often work as medical laboratory technicians, but they occasionally work in supervisory roles.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Medical Laboratory Science

Students who earn online bachelor's degrees in medical laboratory science perform the bulk of testing required by physicians and hospitals. They study biology, chemistry and nearly every component of the human body. This degree program not only aims to prepare students to work in medical laboratory science, but it can also prepare students to sit for national certification examinations to become a medical laboratory scientist. A bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science generally takes four years to complete.

Online Master's Degree in Medical Laboratory Science

Earning an online master's degree in medical laboratory science makes sense for working medical laboratory scientists who hope to move into a leadership role. Possible promotions can include a move up to administration, education or a specialty within this field.

Students who enter this program must first earn a bachelor's degree in a related medical or science field. Once they begin a program, students must complete at least 32 credits in related graduate courses that cover topics such as microbiology, molecular biology, transfusion medicine and biotechnology. Most online master's degree programs in medical laboratory science also culminate in a thesis.

Earning this degree typically takes one to two years, depending on the rigor of the curriculum and how quickly you can complete it. Common career outcomes upon graduate include careers in medical laboratory science leadership positions, including administration.

Clinical Laboratory Science Completion Programs

Clinical laboratory science completion programs were created specifically for students who have already gained a minimum level of education. These programs allow student to pick up with their education where they left off.

One such program is the MLT to MT program, which allows medical laboratory technicians to transition to a career as a medical technologist. Another completion program, the MLT to MLS program, lets qualified medical laboratory technicians complete a bachelor's program to become a medical laboratory scientist.

If a completion program is something you might be interested in, check out the following schools and what they have to offer:

  • South Dakota State University offers an MLT to MLS program, which allows students to continue their education in pursuit of a bachelor's degree. To qualify for this program, you must work in a clinical laboratory for at least two years after completing an accredited program in medical laboratory science.

  • Thomas University offers a completion program for students who already hold an associate degree in medical laboratory technology or clinical laboratory technology. Students who want to earn this degree online must also have national certification as an MLT or CLT.

  • The University of Cincinnati offers an online completion program for professional Clinical Laboratory Technicians (CLTs) and Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLTs). This online MLS program holds accreditation from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and culminates in a bachelor's degree in medical laboratory science.

  • Virginia Commonwealth University offers a Bachelor of Science degree completion program in clinical laboratory sciences. This program is mainly geared to working medical laboratory technicians who hope to further their education, earn more money and have better job prospects.

Clinical Laboratory Science Career Outlook

Once students graduate from an online college for medical laboratory science, they can pursue several interesting careers in this field. That could include careers in management or administration for those who earned bachelor's or master's degrees. It could also include a more hands-on career for people who earned a certificate or associate degree.

The following careers are a couple of the most prominent in clinical laboratory science:

Laboratory Manager
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2014 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$120,160
Annual Job Openings Annual job openings refers to the average job openings each year, 2012-22, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
53,450
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015
Bachelor's degree
Laboratory managers oversee nearly everything that goes on within any laboratory or clinical environment. They check equipment levels, ensure quality and cleanliness, and coordinate many of the events and procedures that take place. Some are in charge of hiring and managing scientists, technicians and other staff members. Laboratory managers are also in charge of evaluating tests and equipment for accuracy and making sure each procedure is completed to the highest standards.

Most laboratory managers work in research and development, but some work for the government or in pharmaceuticals.
Clinical Laboratory Technologist
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2014 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$60,520
Annual Job Openings Annual job openings refers to the average job openings each year, 2012-22, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
162,950
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015
Bachelors
Clinical laboratory technologists analyze body fluids and cell samples to collect data for medical studies. They operate sophisticated equipment such as microscopes to perform specific tests or look for abnormalities in lab samples.

Once studies and analysis are complete, clinical laboratory technologists may discuss their findings with physicians, scientists and other medical staff. They also keep detailed records of all tests and their results.

Since clinical laboratory technologists often work in a supervisory role, they are commonly in charge of training medical laboratory technicians and overseeing their work. Most clinical laboratory technologists work in a hospital, while the rest work in laboratories, physician's offices and colleges or universities.
Salary
Number of Jobs
Job Growth
*This data is sourced from the 2013 BLS employment report (BLS.gov)

Methodology and Sources

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer at least one degree or certificate in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on six criteria, using the weights specified:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 20%
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 10%
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 10%
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded by the school in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 30%
  5.  Related subjects, based on the number of similar programs that the school offers at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 15%
  6. Variety of degree levels, based on the number of degree and certificate levels out of a possible nine that the school offers in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014: 15%

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources

  1. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  2. M.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science, Rutgers, http://shrp.rutgers.edu/dept/CLS/MSCLS/index.html
  3. Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, https://www.uml.edu/Catalog/Graduate/Health-Sciences/Clinical-Lab-Nutritional-Sci/Masters.aspx
  4. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015-16 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm
  5. Medicine and Health Sciences, George Washington University, https://online.gwu.edu/medicine-health-sciences
  6. MLT to CLS Bachelor's degree, Winston-Salem University, http://www.wssu.edu/academics/distance-learning/clinical-laboratory-science/default.aspx
  7. Natural Sciences Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015-16 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/natural-sciences-managers.htm
  8. Welcome to Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Augusta University, http://www.augusta.edu/alliedhealth/mlirs/cls/
  9. Welcome to Medical Laboratory Science, University of North Dakota, http://www.med.und.edu/medical-laboratory-science/