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Medical Technology Program

The Medical Technology Training Program was established in 1958 and is operated by the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The program is approved by the California Department of Public Health, the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences and the UC Irvine Allied Health Committee.  

The program, alternatively known as the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) or Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Training Program, provides a full year of didactic and clinical instruction.

The curriculum includes intensive bench training, formal and informal lectures, and case studies. Students receive more than 200 hours of formal lectures covering the various disciplines of clinical laboratory science. Instructor-student ratio for lecture sessions is 1:6. Training in the clinical rotations takes place in each area of the working clinical laboratories with an instructor-student ratio of 1:2 or 1:3.

After fulfilling all program requirements, students receive a certificate of completion and are eligible to take the external exam leading to licensure as a California Clinical Laboratory Scientist and certification as a Medical Laboratory Scientist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

Program Medical Director Luis M. de la Maza, MD, PhD
Program Director Laura Ogata, MA, CLS, MT (ASCP)
Accreditation/Approval

NAACLS

(5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL  60018)

California Department of Public Health

Program Start Date First Tuesday in September; one class per year
Program Duration

One year of full-time training

Monday to Friday, 40 hours/week

Application Deadline January 15
Training Positions Up to 6
Fees/Cost No tuition; student is responsible for costs associated with parking, transportation, textbooks, licensing/certification exam fees, and immunizations as required for health clearance
Stipend/Scholarship A scholarship is provided to admitted students, paid on a monthly basis; amount is dependent on annual budget

Mission  

The mission of the UC Irvine Medical Center Medical Technology Training Program is to provide a learning environment in which students acquire the academic knowledge, technical skills, professional behaviors and critical thinking experiences necessary to become proficient medical technologists (clinical laboratory scientists/medical laboratory scientists).  

Program Goals

  • To provide a learning experience that will:
    • Stimulate and challenge the student to become educated in the theories and principles of laboratory medicine
    • Teach the clinical significance of laboratory procedures in diagnosis and treatment of patients
    • Help develop the student's understanding of the principles and practices of quality assurance
    • Result in the development of skills necessary to perform manual tests and operate complicated, state-of-the-art instrumentation 
    • Build problem-solving skills; familiarize students with principles of educational methods, research methods and personnel/business management in a clinical laboratory 
  • To provide examples of professionalism, leadership, integrity and compassion that the student can observe and practice; to demonstrate a dedication to the continued acquisition of knowledge required for continuing professional development. 
  • To provide an in-depth curriculum and clinical experience in an environment in which the judgmental abilities of the student can develop and mature. 
  • To assist each student in developing communication skills that will enable him/her to effectively listen, read, speak and write thoughts, ideas and information. 
  • To instruct students on issues regarding patient rights, patient safety, patient privacy and compliance with regulatory agencies.  
  • To provide financial assistance in the form of a monthly stipend.  
  • To provide an atmosphere in which the student can learn his/her responsibilities in society and develop characteristics that will make him/her an excellent professional with an understanding and respect for all individuals.

Entry Level Competencies 

At entry level, the clinical laboratory scientist/medical laboratory scientist will possess the competencies necessary to perform the full range of clinical laboratory tests in areas such as clinical chemistry, hematology/hemostasis, immunology, immunohematology/transfusion medicine, microbiology, urine and body fluid analysis, molecular diagnostics, laboratory operations, and other emerging diagnostics, and will play a role in the development and evaluation of test systems and interpretive algorithms. 

The medical laboratory scientist will have diverse responsibilities in areas of analysis and clinical decision-making, regulatory compliance with applicable regulations, education, and quality assurance/performance improvement wherever laboratory testing is researched, developed or performed. 

At entry level, the medical laboratory scientist will have the following basic knowledge and skills in:

  • Principles and practices of clinical study design, implementation and dissemination of results
  • Educational methodologies and terminology sufficient to train and educate users and providers of laboratory service
  • Principles and practices of administration and supervision as applied to clinical laboratory science
  • Communications sufficient to serve the needs of patients, the public and members of the healthcare team
  • Principles and practices of professional conduct and the significance of continuing professional development
  • Application of safety and governmental regulations and standards as applied to clinical laboratory science

Adapted from "Unique Standards for the Medical Laboratory Scientist," Core Standards for Accredited and Approved Programs. National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 2012.

Curriculum »

Throughout the training year, students participate in a minimum of four hours of formal lecture per week. Lecture topics cover all laboratory disciplines and provide essential information for understanding the etiology and pathophysiology of disease, and the clinical significance of laboratory test results. Presenters include pathology professors, residents and clinical laboratory scientists.  

The majority of training time is spent in the working clinical laboratory where students observe, practice and perform clinical diagnostic testing under the direct supervision of their instructors. They learn to perform manual procedures, operate highly sophisticated automated instruments, utilize laboratory computer systems, monitor quality control and review lab results for their validity. The program provides students the opportunity to greatly expand their scientific knowledge, develop proficiency in an array of technical skills and consistently demonstrate the highest regard for patient care.  

Blood Bank/Donor Center    

Students in the blood bank study transfusion medicine and immunohematology concepts. During the rotation, students practice blood banking tests, work with blood donors and process blood components. Problem-solving skills are challenged by practical exams. Time is also spent in apheresis—observing plasma exchanges and cytapheresis—and hemotherapy services—observing therapeutic phlebotomy and directed donations.  

Chemistry  

The chemistry section includes rotations through automated and special chemistry, immunochemistry, toxicology, therapeutic drug monitoring and urinalysis. Students perform a wide range of analytical procedures and learn to correlate laboratory data with clinical findings. They have the opportunity to work with a multitude of highly sophisticated automated technologies.  

Hematology/Coagulation

During the rotation, students learn to identify normal and abnormal cells of blood, bone marrow and body fluids and learn manual/automated cell counting methods. Students are also introduced to flow cytometry and hemoglobin electrophoresis. Problem-solving skills are further developed in the coagulation lab while investigating disorders of hemostasis.

Microbiology  

Students rotate through bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, serology, mycobacteriology, virology and molecular microbiology. They learn to identify a wide variety of human pathogens using identification techniques such as culture and isolation, direct exam and immunofluorescence. Automated methods are also introduced in bacteriology, molecular microbiology and serology.   

Molecular Diagnostics 

Students are introduced to the use of molecular technologies in patient diagnosis, treatment and monitoring. They utilize these techniques in a number of applications including molecular microbiology, molecular pathology and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) testing. 

Professional Practice

  • Phlebotomy: Techniques of blood specimen collection and other processes in the pre-analytical phase of specimen testing
  • Laboratory information systems (LIS): Computer applications, interfaces with instrumentation and other information systems
  • Compliance and regulatory agencies: Healthcare regulatory agencies and compliance with required standards of operation
  • Laboratory management: Introduction to areas such as human resource management, laboratory operations, communications and quality assurance
  • Education: Use of strategic methodologies to effectively teach and evaluate student learning outcomes
  • Research: Develop skills needed to prepare, analyze and present scientific data for application in the clinical laboratory

Evaluation  

Students must successfully fulfill the minimum requirements in each section of the lecture and laboratory training areas. Performance will be evaluated throughout the training year based on didactic lecture exams, lab exams, practical exams, lab skills, work habits, professional attitudes and ability to work with others.

Students will also have multiple opportunities to evaluate the overall program, lecture presentations, bench instructors and clinical rotations.

Admission Requirements »

Admission requirements are based on standards set by the California Department of Public Health.  

Academic Requirements 

  • Baccalaureate degree (biological sciences, biochemistry or microbiology recommended).  To include:
    • 18 semester units (27 quarter units) in biological sciences; must include immunology, hematology and medical microbiology (other recommended courses include mycology, virology and parasitology)
    • 16 semester units (24 quarter units) in chemistry; must include analytical chemistry and biochemistry
    • Three semester units (4.5 quarter units) in physics; must include principles of light and electricity
    • One college mathematics course, preferably calculus
    • Courses in anatomy, physiology, genetics, molecular biology and statistics are also highly recommended
  • All required courses must have been taken for a letter grade and a minimum grade of "C" achieved
  • All courses must be completed by June, prior to the start of training
  • Proof of enrollment in or completion of medical microbiology, hematology, immunology, biochemistry and analytical chemistry must be received no later than Feb. 15 of the application cycle
  • Minimum GPA in sciences of 2.7
  • No record of academic probation within the last three years
  • Candidates with foreign degrees must have a course-by-course credential evaluation from an acceptable agency and have 30 semester units (45 quarter units) in upper division science courses from an United States college/university
  • Candidates awarded degrees in excess of seven years prior to the date of application for clinical training should have recent course work in medical microbiology and biochemistry

Laboratory Field Services, the California agency that issues CLS Trainee licenses, will not accept the following courses from Weber State University that have been completed after June 1, 2014: 
      *  MLS 5810/5103/5104 - Clinical Microbiology
      *  MLS 5101 - Clinical Chemistry

Additional Requirements

  • A completed, signed application form
  • Three letters of recommendation from college/university instructors or employers, submitted on the letter of recommendation form
  • A written statement of interest in the program
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency in the U.S.
  • Clinical laboratory scientist trainee license, or evidence that one will be issued, from the California State Department of Public Health
  • Ability to communicate effectively in English
  • Ability to perform essential functions—various physical and behavioral capabilities that are necessary for achievement of competency
  • A pre-training health assessment is required of those selected for admission
  • Background checks will be performed on final candidates; admission is contingent upon clearance of the background check
  • In compliance with all licensing requirements, the program does not grant advanced standing and cannot waive any of the above prerequisites

Selection of Candidates for Training

To be considered for admission to the program, candidates must have submitted complete applications by the specified deadline and have met the stated admissions requirements.

Selected applicants will be contacted for an interview with members of the program’s admissions committee. In addition to evaluating academic performance, your interview, letters of recommendation, motivation and communication skills, the committee also considers clinical laboratory work experience, honors, extracurricular activities and overall comparison within the applicant pool.

The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information, ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation or service in the uniformed services. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access and treatment in University programs and activities.

Application Procedure »
A complete application must include:

Please adhere to the following instructions to ensure that your application will be considered valid.  

  • The application form should be typed (or printed clearly in black ink), signed and submitted directly to the training program. Keep copies of application materials and a dated record of the application process.
    • The personal statement of interest should be written in essay form (at least 500 words) and submitted with the application form.
    • Review the essential functions form. If you feel that you can meet these requirements, sign, date and return the signature page with your application form.
  • The applicant is required to provide official copies of transcripts for all college/university work completed. An official transcript is one that is signed by the registrar of the campus where the student was in attendance, imprinted with the institutional seal and mailed directly from the registrar to the program, without being accessible to the trainee. Official transcripts are also required by the California State Department of Public Health when applying for the trainee license. 
  • For foreign degree transcript evaluations - As of August 15, 2016, AACRAO discontinued its educational trascript evaluation services. Until further notice, LFS will accept educational transcript evaluations completed by "Current Members" of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES), and "Endorsed Members" of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE). Evaluations completed before August 15, 2016, will only be accepted if completed by AACRAO. Please use the links below to view the "Current" and "Endorsed" members of NACES and AICE.
    http://www.naces.org/members.html
    http://aice-eval.org/members/
  • All applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation from college or university science instructors. Please use the provided forms, supplying the identifying information at the top. The letters are to be mailed directly to the program from the recommender. 
    • A third letter of recommendation is also required from an employer (if no employer is available, a third science instructor, or someone that has supervised your work as a volunteer, intern, etc. should be asked to submit a letter).
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR SEPTEMBER CLASS IS JANUARY 15. ALL required application materials must be received by the deadline for the application to be complete. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications will be accepted from Sept. 1 of each year until the deadline of JANUARY 15.
  • Mail application materials to:
      Medical Technology Program
      UC Irvine Medical Center  
      101 The City Drive  
      Bldg. 54, Room 4700  
      Orange,CA  92868

All candidates accepted into training are required to have a clinical laboratory scientist trainee license from the California Department of Public Health. The trainee license will not be issued until after the Bachelor’s degree is completed (or prerequisite requirements have been met), but the application process should start well in advance. Apply online.

For additional information, contact:

Laboratory Field Services
850 Marina Bay Parkway
Richmond, CA 94804-6403
LFSclstrainee@cdph.ca.gov

  • Selected applicants will be contacted by the program for an interview appointment.
  • Individuals selected for training will be notified in writing with a written response of acceptance requested.
Financial Information »

Benefits

  • No tuition is charged for the training program
  • Scholarships will be offered to admitted students, paid on a monthly basis and dependent on annual budget
  • Access to the UC Library Network
  • Lab coats and personal protective equipment provided

Fees/Expenses

  • Textbooks
  • Licensing/certification exam fees (approximately $500)
  • Parking at UC Irvine Medical Center
  • Immunizations as required for health clearance
Student Policies »

Student Advisement

From the time of admission, incoming students receive regular communications from the program director advising them of policies, requirements and other training issues. Students are provided with training guides, reviewed during orientation, which contain all policies and procedures related to the program. As students progress through the year, guidance is provided on professional and career-related topics.

In addition to the program director, each laboratory division has at least one education coordinator, usually a senior CLS, specialist or supervisor, who is available for assistance and guidance. Students can also seek counsel from the laboratory administrative director and program medical director.

All meetings and discussions of student concerns are held in confidentiality and take place in an office or other private area that can be closed off from public access. Whether a student is having personal or academic problems, or issues related to peers or laboratory staff, program officials strive to maintain sensitivity and impartiality in all situations.  

Service Work

Students will not be substituted for service work in place of regular, paid laboratory staff.  Any service work performed by students outside of regular academic hours is noncompulsory.  

Withdrawal from the Program

A student desiring to withdraw from the program must present his/her intention and reason for withdrawal in writing to the program medical director. Upon review of the request, an exit interview will be scheduled with at least one program official. Documentation of the interview and written request will remain in the trainee’s file. Laboratory Field Services and all relevant UC Irvine departments will be notified of the student’s withdrawal. Issuance of scholarship checks shall terminate upon withdrawal from the program. The student will return all medical center property upon termination.

Academic Progression

In order to progress in the Medical Technology Training Program, students must successfully fulfill the minimum requirements of academic achievement. 

Training objectives and student competencies are well defined for each unit of instruction. Achievement of objectives and competencies may be documented through competency checklists, by achieving passing scores (70 percent or better) on lecture/laboratory exams and quizzes and maintaining an overall “B” average in each rotation. Students must also achieve at least satisfactory ratings on each clinical rotation evaluation.  

Students are expected to develop a sense of responsibility and ethics related to patient care, which is reflected in attitudes toward learning. If a student is unable to achieve and maintain the level of performance required, the program is obliged to take steps toward probation and/or release from the program.  

Any combination of deficiencies in academic/laboratory performance can result in probation, final probation or release from the program. Verbal and written warnings are issued to the student during the period when he/she is not meeting minimum standards of the program.  

Student Conduct  

Academic integrity: Students are expected to refrain from cheating and plagiarism, to refuse to aid or abet any form of academic dishonesty and to notify faculty or program officials about observed incidents of academic dishonesty. Any student caught cheating or performing other serious acts of intentional academic dishonesty will be dismissed from the program.
 
Unacceptable behaviors: Examples of behaviors that are unacceptable at any time during the training program include: excessive, unexcused absences; involvement in non-professional behavior involving patients, students, staff or instructors; unauthorized possession/use of a controlled substance during work periods; violence or threats of violence; and dishonesty, theft or misappropriation of university property. Such behaviors will not be tolerated and will be cause for dismissal from the program.

Corrective Action

Corrective action may be required for minor offenses or deficiencies or those situations in which the student knows or reasonably should have known that the performance or conduct was unsatisfactory. Initial corrective action will begin with oral counseling. A reasonable time period shall be allowed for the student to improve after the oral counseling. When the student's performance has not improved with oral counseling, written counseling shall be initiated. 

The written warning shall describe the nature of the offense, the method(s) of correction, and the action to be taken if the offense is repeated or the deficiency persists. The student has a right to request reviews of the action by using the Student Appeals Procedure.  

Release from the Program (Dismissal)

If, after probationary and/or corrective action processes, the deficient performance is not resolved, the student shall be informed in writing of dismissal from the program. The notice shall specify the effective date of release, state the reason(s) for dismissal and state the student's right to request review of the action by the student appeals procedure. Issuance of scholarship checks shall terminate upon release from the program. Laboratory Field Services and all relevant UC Irvine departments will be notified of the student’s release. The student will return all medical center property upon termination.  

Student Appeals Procedure

It is the policy of the university to encourage and facilitate the resolution of complaints in a prompt and equitable manner. The student appeals procedure is established for implementation when a student believes that he/she has received an unfair or inequitable evaluation. If the situation cannot be resolved by initial discussions with the immediate parties, an impartial grievance committee will be convened to review and determine the course of action.

Frequently Asked Questions »

Q: Can I apply for the program while still taking courses?
A: Yes. You can submit your application as long as you complete all required courses by June of the year in which you intend to begin training.

Q: Can I be taking courses while attending the program? 
A: No. All courses must be completed prior to the start of training so that you will be eligible for issuance of the CLS trainee license. The license must be in possession when training begins.

Q: I have a bachelor’s degree, but not in biology, biochemistry or microbiology. Am I still eligible to apply? 
A: Yes. We recommend a degree in those sciences because many of their academic requirements overlap with our admissions criteria. Since the training is lab-based, we recommend a background that emphasizes hands-on laboratory courses. However, as long as you satisfy admission requirements, your bachelor’s degree in another discipline from a regionally accredited college/university is acceptable.

Q: I took general microbiology in college. Will this course meet the requirement?
A: No. You must have taken a course in medical microbiology (aka medical bacteriology, bacterial pathogenesis).

Q: I have a bachelor’s degree from another country. Am I eligible to apply?
A: Yes. However, you must meet additional admission requirements. Applicants with foreign (non-U.S.) degrees must have their original transcripts evaluated by an acceptable agency and have the evaluation sent directly to the training program at UC Irvine Medical Center. The evaluation must include a course-by-course identification of courses, credits and grades. Foreign-degree candidates must complete at least 30 semester units (45 quarter units) at a U.S. college or university in upper division science courses. If the applicant does not have U.S. citizenship, he/she must have permanent residency in the US, or a legal work permit.

Q: I have an MD (or PhD) degree. Am I a qualified applicant for CLS training?
A: All candidates, regardless of credentials, must meet the same admissions criteria. If your credential is from another country, you must also meet the additional requirements stated above. Some institutions offer limited licensure CLS specialty programs, which provide training for specific laboratory disciplines. If you have an extensive background in a specialized category, you may be eligible for this type of training.

Q: Will I receive a degree in clinical laboratory science after completing the training program?
A: No. The training program at UC Irvine Medical Center is a post-baccalaureate certificate program. Graduates receive a certificate of completion, but the program does not award a degree.

Q: Is it necessary to have experience working in a clinical laboratory?
A: Clinical laboratory work experience is not a requirement for admission. However, it is much to your benefit to obtain exposure to the CLS profession from the “bench” perspective. The clinical lab environment is quite different from that of a research lab or college laboratory course. These different laboratories may share certain methods and techniques, but working conditions are unique in each situation. Because CLS training does require a full-time, one-year commitment, it is best to see beforehand whether it really is to your liking. Opportunities to obtain such experience may come from volunteering in a clinical lab, or working as a phlebotomist, lab assistant or lab technician.

Q: How competitive is the application process?
A: Admission to the program has become increasingly competitive. The number of applications we receive varies from year to year, but has been on an upward trend. Since our program only admits up to 6 students per year, we generally have more qualified applicants than available positions.

Program Outcomes Measures »

Program Administrators

Medical Director

Luis M. de la Maza, MD, PhD

Program Director

Laura Ogata, MA, MT (ASCP), CLS

For questions regarding the training program please contact:

Laura Ogata
Medical Technology Training Program
UC Irvine Medical Center
101 The City Drive
Orange, CA 92868
Phone: 714-456-6305
Fax: 714-456-8476