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Medical Laboratory Science Program (MLSP)

instructor and studentCareer Description

If you're interested in health care, laboratory work, producing and using scientific data, and analytical problem solving, then Medical Laboratory Science may be the career for you.

University of Iowa's Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine offers a bachelor's degree in medical laboratory sciences through an affiliation with Allen College in Waterloo, Iowa. The program provides patient-centered educational opportunities, with theoretical knowledge and practical experience in hematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, immunohematology, immunology, endocrinology, and molecular diagnostics. Students can enroll in the program as the final year of a bachelor’s degree or as an additional year following receipt of a bachelor’s degree.

Features of the Program

  • A broad education that prepares students for many professional options
  • Individualized help and attention
  • Laboratories where students put course material into practice
  • Hands-on experience with patient samples and the latest technology
  • Clinical experiences in the laboratories of University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • The experts, technology, and learning environment of two of the world's largest academic medical centers

Applying to the Program

Students should apply to the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program at Allen College. The priority application deadline is Nov. 1. Applications are reviewed after Nov. 1. The top 16 qualified students are admitted. Any additional qualified students are placed on a ranked alternate list. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis after the deadline for the alternate list or any space remaining in the program. Please contact Allen College for specific information as to prerequisite coursework and financial aid available. 

Successful Program Participants Also Possess the Following Abilities

  • Strong communication skills
  • Sound judgment
  • Professional integrity
  • Manual dexterity
  • Attention to detail
  • Capacity to work independently and as a team member

The Clinical Year

Students seeking entry into the Medical Laboratory Sciences Program should take three or more years of prerequisite coursework at the University of Iowa or another college. Following application no later than Nov. 1 of their junior year, accepted students start the clinical year in late May of their junior year. The students will complete coursework via web-based, streaming–video lectures from Allen College faculty. Clinical rotations will begin in late November at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The program emphasizes laboratory principles and procedures, clinical significance and application, principles and practice of quality assurance, principles of laboratory management and supervision, safety, instructional methods, and computer applications.

Students complete the clinical year in early May. They will receive academic credit from Allen College (40 semester hours) which will be transferred (at the student’s request) to the University of Iowa (UI) to combine with their existing credits to award them a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences from the Carver College of Medicine. Only those students who previously were UI juniors are eligible to receive the UI bachelor of science (BS) degree. Graduates from Allen College will receive a Bachelor in Health Science which grants them eligibility to take the national certification examination from the American Society for Clinical Pathology

National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences

5600 N. River Road
Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
Fax: (773) 714-8886
E-mail: info@naacls.org

Employment Opportunities

MLS graduates are well qualified to work in health care, research, or industry; in hospital or clinic laboratories, and in doctors' offices, private clinical laboratories, or the armed services.

MLS graduates can use their degrees as building blocks to careers that require MS, PhD, MD, DDS, MBA, or other advanced degrees.

MLS graduates can practice their profession in the U.S. military as well. Between the Army, Navy, and Air Force, there are 500 to 600 MLS active duty “lab officer” positions. They practice in settings ranging from spartan field hospitals to tertiary care medical centers as well as research facilities and offer exceptional opportunities for free graduate and post-graduate education.

In a Clinical Laboratory Setting, Clinical Laboratory Scientists May:

  • Work in clinical chemistry, hematology, immunohematology, immunology, molecular pathology, and/or clinical microbiology
  • Perform analysis on blood, urine, and other body fluids
  • Operate complex instruments to generate scientific data that aid in the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of disease
  • Evaluate quality assurance data to ensure accurate and reliable test results
  • Use independent judgment and problem-solving abilities
  • Develop research projects to evaluate new products and methods
  • Provide and participate in continuing education

Alternative Job Options Include:

  • Environmental chemist
  • Research assistant
  • Research and product development scientist
  • Laboratory administrator
  • Laboratory sales representative
  • Veterinary and zoo laboratorians
  • Continuing education coordinator
  • Educator
  • Technical representative
  • Laboratory computer specialist
  • Waste management supervisor
  • Epidemiologist
  • Industrial laboratorian
  • Pharmaceutical laboratorian
  • Marketing manager

These jobs are found in various settings including hospitals, research facilities, private industry, public health, pharmaceutical companies, and educational programs.

To receive additional information and specific course requirements, please e-mail mls-program@uiowa.edu.