News | February 5, 2019

Penn State Lehigh Valley Delivers New Degree In Medical Laboratory Technology

Two-year associate degree program will prepare students for growing job opportunities in health care

With the growing demand for medical laboratory technicians in the coming years, Penn State Lehigh Valley is offering an associate of science in medical laboratory technology (MLT) as of this fall 2019, through a partnership with Penn State Hazleton.

“St. Luke’s lauds Penn State for expanding this much-needed program," said Sharon Scheirer, senior coordinator of college relations and employee development at St. Luke’s University Health Network. "Medical lab techs are an important part of the modern health care delivery system, and upon graduation from Penn State, students will find their skills in high demand by St. Luke’s and other systems. If you’re serious about a healthcare laboratory career, a medical laboratory technology degree is the way to go,”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in this field will grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for other occupations. Starting salaries for medical laboratory technicians are around $40,000 or more, depending on the location, the type of lab and shift differential.

“A degree in MLT will position students to help detect, diagnose and treat disease, and with the increasing need of medical testing for Pennsylvania’s aging population, job opportunities abound,” said Tina Q. Richardson, chancellor of Penn State Lehigh Valley. “With nationally-ranked hospitals and health service systems located just minutes from our campus, our students will gain tremendous clinical opportunities as well.”

This joint offering from Penn State Lehigh Valley and Penn State Hazleton also will help meet the growing need of MLTs locally.

“We have a long history of strong collaborations between the Hazleton and Lehigh Valley campuses. We work together to make educational opportunities available to more students in the Commonwealth,” said Elizabeth Wright, director of academic affairs at Penn State Hazleton. “This joint program supports our University’s philosophy of 'one University, geographically dispersed' throughout the Commonwealth.”

The program began at Penn State Hazleton in 1979 and has been accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences since 1981.

Similar to the Hazleton campus program, a student can stay at Penn State Lehigh Valley for the entire program. The first-year courses are offered at the Lehigh Valley campus, and MLT students will have an academic adviser assigned to them at Lehigh Valley.  

For the specific MLT classes, taken during the first summer and second fall and spring, the student will attend classes at the Lehigh Valley campus that are brought to Penn State Lehigh Valley via videoconferencing from the Hazleton campus. These classes consist of real-time, synchronous lectures with the students and instructor at Hazleton. All students are able to interact. For the campus lab sessions, an MLT lab instructor will teach bench techniques at the Lehigh Valley campus while Hazleton students have their labs in Hazleton. Students at each campus will be assigned to an affiliated clinical laboratory in their area, where they will gain critical real-world, hands-on experience.

Penn State Lehigh Valley is in the process of hiring an MLT lab instructor to be based at the Lehigh Valley campus.

SOURCE: The Pennsylvania State University