Medical laboratory technicians (MLTs) are health care professionals who assist physicians and other medical professionals in diagnosing diseases. They collect a variety of samples consisting of various bodily fluids and tissues. Then, they test those samples and analyze the results, recording their findings.
Demand for medical lab technicians is growing in the United States as the population continues to age. Those with an interest in the career will find Illinois medical lab technician programs located in every corner of the state. These programs provide future generations of medical lab techs with the theoretical knowledge and basic skills competency needed to pass board exams and land entry-level jobs within the profession.
Illinois Medical Lab Technician Schools
Illinois medical lab technician programs are an excellent way for students to prepare for the challenges of a rewarding career as a medical lab tech. These programs provide the academic foundation and the practical skills training needed to obtain entry-level employment for this in-demand career. Most accredited programs also qualify students to sit for credentialing exams. In addition to the schools already mentioned, students will find additional medical laboratory technician programs in Illinois located around the state.
- Illinois Central College: Founded in 1967, Illinois Central College has 3 physical campuses - located in Peoria, East Peoria, and Penkin - and an online learning program. The school generally serves students in 10 Central Illinois counties. In addition to numerous Associate's degrees, the college awards professional certificates, offers continuing education programs, and caters to students who wish to learn in their spare time. Students may take advantage of financial aid options as well as enjoy a host of activities and sports teams. Successful completion of the medical laboratory technician program results in the award of an Associate of Applied Science Degree.
- Oakton Community College: Oakton Community College (OCC) has two campus locations situated in the Northern Chicago suburbs of Des Plaines and Skokie. Students can choose from over 80 majors in a variety of subject areas. Credits earned can be used to jump start a new career or transferred to a four-year institution. Opportunities for involvement include various clubs, student government, and numerous service opportunities. The medical laboratory technology program offers an Associate's degree to its graduates. OCC also offers certificates for Pharmacy Technicians and Phlebotomists.
- Southwestern Illinois College: With 5 campus locations plus an online learning department, Southwestern Illinois College serves the population of the southwest corner of the state. The school offers more than 40 different career and degree programs in a variety of different subjects. Students interested in the medical laboratory technology program can fulfill their general education requirements at the Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City, or Red Bud campuses. They can also complete these requirements online. However, the medical technology courses are only held during daytime hours at the Belleville campus. Students must also complete two nine-week clinical practicums at facilities throughout Southwestern Illinois and the St. Louis vicinity.
- NorthShore University HealthSystem: Located in Evanston, Illinois, Northshore University HealthSystem offers a certificate program for medical laboratory scientists. Graduates of the program receive a certificate from Evanston Hospital and may receive a degree from affiliated universities. Completion of this accredited program qualifies graduates to sit for the national board exam which is sponsored by the Board of Certification of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Because the program is "hospital-based," students get the extra benefit of interacting with a variety of medical professionals on a daily basis.
Illinois Medical Lab Tech Programs
Aspiring medical lab technicians in Illinois should be able to find training programs located relatively near their place of residence. Prospective students should have an interest in the fields of chemistry, biology, and math. They should also possess a strong desire to help others through their career.
As all Illinois medical lab technician programs are different, curriculum varies by school. However, most programs require some general education requirements plus courses specific to medical lab technology. Here are some of the most common topics:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- General Chemistry
- Medical Terminology
- Health Care Technologies
- Medical Laboratory Techniques and Procedures
- Medical Ethics and Law
- Clinical Microbiology
Medical lab techs are charged with collecting samples, testing them, and analyzing those results. This includes the use of complex medical equipment that requires medical lab techs to use their hands proficiently. They must also be able to work on their feet for hours at a time.
Additional Requirements for Medical Lab Techs in Illinois
Many Illinois medical lab technician programs offer Associate's degrees upon successful completion while others offer certificates, sometimes in specific disciplines. These programs usually prepare students to sit for the proper certification exams. Some clinical experience is usually required. Beyond this, some continuing education may be necessary for medical lab technicians in Illinois to continue legally practicing in the state.
- Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015-16 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm
- Medical Laboratory Science Program, NorthShore University HealthSystem, http://www.northshore.org/academics/academic-programs/other-programs/medical-technology/
- Medical Laboratory Technician, Illinois Central College, https://icc.edu/academics/catalog/health-careers/medical-laboratory-technician/
- Medical Laboratory Technology, Oakton Community College, http://www.oakton.edu/academics/academic_departments/medical_laboratory/
- Medical Laboratory Technology, Southwestern Illinois College, http://www.swic.edu/MLT-FAQ/