PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) —
Medical laboratory technicians with an associate degree can apply for a new online program at the University of West Florida (UWF) to earn a bachelor’s degree in clinical sciences.
The Medical Laboratory Technician to Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLT to MLS) program will be offered through Complete Florida which is a state-funded initiative that supports adults who return to college.
This is the first program in the state of Florida of this kind. Applications will be accepted through June 15 and classes will begin August 27.
Eligible students must be admitted to UWF, submit letters of recommendation and take part in a phone interview.
Applicants should also have an associate degree in medical laboratory technology that includes the prerequisites of the MLS program and completed the fulfillment of general education coursework or military training and an associate of arts degree that includes the prerequisites of the MLS program and fulfillment of general education coursework.
Students applying must also have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and certification as an MLT by the American Society of Clinical Pathology or be a graduate of a National Acrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science accredited MLT program and certified by a national board exam.
Katie Cavnar, the incoming chair of the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences at UWF, said earning a degree to become a medical laboratory scientist has a variety of benefits.
“In the hospital, both medical laboratory scientists and medical laboratory technicians do similar work, but the MLS learn more theory,” she said. “MLTs also have to work supervised, whereas an MLS does not. Going on to get your MLS is beneficial for a couple of reasons, including an increase in pay, and an increase in responsibility, which may allow for promotion in the laboratory.”
This online program will be similar to traditional MLS classed UWF offers, but geared more toward students who have already worked in a lab.