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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a medical laboratory technician?

A: Medical laboratory technicians perform all of the routine tests in an up-to-date clinical laboratory: blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology, urinalysis and microbiology. Working with the supervision of a clinical laboratory scientist, a clinical laboratory technician looks for clues to the absence, presence, extent, and causes of diseases. The challenges and rewards of medicine and science allows the clinical laboratory technician to be involved in the best of both worlds. Medical laboratory technicians must be accurate, dedicated and skilled. They must also be self-motivated, and take the initiative to do what must be done every day to be part of the healthcare team.

Medical laboratory technicians must be able to discriminate between closely similar items and correction of errors by use of pre-set strategies. They are required to know specific techniques and instruments, and be able to recognize factors which directly affect procedures and results. For confirmation of results, knowledge of more than one test within each specialty area is expected. The technician monitors quality control programs within predetermined parameters.

Where do these individuals work?

A: Medical laboratory technicians can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, for-profit laboratories, clinical, nursing homes, public health facilities, private laboratories, doctors' offices, research, sales and commercial laboratories. Business and industry currently have positions open for qualified clinical laboratory technicians.

Q: What is the average salary?

A: The national average salary for medical laboratory technicians is approximately $44,000, although salaries vary by area of the country. The entry-level salary in Rhode Island is $41,741-$52,253 per year, and usually includes benefits. Evening and part-time positions are available with shift differential.

What type of training is required?

A: A two-year program that includes clinical laboratory training is required. At the end of this experience, the students are eligible to take a registry examination which certifies them to work in this field and become licensed as a clinical laboratory technician by the State of Rhode Island. The training program at CCRI is an associate degree program that combines theory with technical skills. This program includes a 23-week supervised clinical experience at a local hospital.

The student will receive an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree with a major in Medical Laboratory Technology. The student can advance in this area by continuing his/her education at a four-year institution like Rhode Island College or the University of Rhode Island to get a Bachelor's degree in Clinical Laboratory Science.

Q: How long will it take to become a medical laboratory technician?

A: This program can be completed in two consecutive years. However, if a student must work, all the non-technical courses can be taken at the student's convenience (evening or day). The technical courses are offered only during the daytime and must be taken in sequence unless special permission is obtained from the Program Director. At a student's request, a program of study can be designed to fit his/her special needs as long as there is a space available at the clinical site and arrangements have been made with the Program Director prior to the student's entrance into the technical courses.

Q: What are the necessary high school courses?

A: Any high school student interested in this program should be enrolled in a math and science curriculum, which includes algebra and basic sciences (including biology and chemistry). The student should also have good reading and writing skills, and be ready for English Composition I at the college level.

Q: What does the Medical Laboratory Technology Program consist of at CCRI?

A: This program contains two semesters at the clinical site (hospital): seven weeks in the summer between freshman and sophomore year, and 15 weeks during the spring semester of the last year. Training occurs during the daytime from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The student spends one day a week during the spring semester at the college for a seminar which includes a variety of activities, including testing. The student must take the general education requirements. A minimum grade of C must be achieved in the science portion. All the technical courses must be passed with a C or better, and the student must have a 2.0 cumulative grade point average to graduate from the college.

Q: What is the typical cost of this program?

A: The typical cost of the program for a full-time student is the current CCRI tuition and fees, laboratory fees, books, uniforms and travel expenses to the clinical sites. Additional information can be found on the Bursar website at

Q: If I apply, what are the chances of getting accepted?

A: CCRI accepts approximately 16 students into the Medical Laboratory Technology Program each spring. If students have prior college education or clinical experience, they can gain advanced placement into the program.

Q: Whom may I contact for more information?

A: Contact Susan Barrett, Enrollment Services, Warwick Campus. The address is:

Susan Barrett
Office of Enrollment Services
Community College of Rhode Island
Warwick Campus
400 East Avenue
Warwick, RI  02886
(401) 825-2084
[email protected]

CCRI Website:

If more specific information is needed, contact Mrs. Maddie Josephs, Medical Laboratory Technology Program Director, at the above address, or at (401) 333-7418, or e-mail at [email protected].

Q: What online resources would you recommend?

A: American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) -
This is the professional organization for clinical laboratory science practitioners. Click on Careers Center.

A: American Society for Clinical Pathology -
Information on medical laboratory careers.