FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A critical need in the nation’s health care system is prompting the Indian River State College to encourage more students to consider a career as a medical laboratory technologist.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
An increase in the aging population is expected to lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or type 2 diabetes, through laboratory procedures.
Indian River State College reported a full enrollment when the program started last year and currently accepting applications for the Fall 2021 program.
Upon completion of Indian River State College’s two-year program, graduates will have earned an Associate in Science Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology.
Graduates will be qualified to work in hospital laboratories and clinical laboratories performing blood tests.
The Medical Laboratory Technologist makes up part of the diagnostic health care team and is responsible for processing body fluids for chemical, serological and biological analysis.
“The state of Florida requires you to be licensed, so we prepare them to be licensed to work in the lab and they also do clinical internships at the hospital,” said Michael Vogt, the Medical Technologies Department Chair of Indian River State College. “It’s really geared towards outcomes.”
The increased application in use of clinical laboratory procedures for diagnosis, combined with the advanced technology of the medical laboratory technology equipment, has prompted the use of specialized personnel to ensure the production of quality laboratory procedures.
Thus, the role of the medical laboratory technologist as an important member of the medical team has also been enhanced.
“We have a great partnership with the hospital clinical environment,” Vogt said. “We have 10 clinical sites that they go to. We have a very diverse program.”
Students are able to get experience at clinical sites across the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast.
“This program is close to 60 years in existence,” said Vogt. “It was one of the original programs here in this region.”
Students completing the program at IRSC, go on to take the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) medical lab technology certification exams and often find employment in area hospitals or independent laboratories.
“It’s the same equipment that you’ll see in the hospital lab environment,” said Vogt. “There’s a lot of hands-on activities. A lot of these students are kinesthetic, so they like to do things with their hands. They like to work with real specimens too, so we get specimens from the hospital.”
“We work it up as if a doctor has sent us a specimen and then they'll start the biochemical workup on those,” said Arnater Dowers, Master Instructor of Health Science at Indian River State College. “They have everything that they need here.”
Indian River State College is hosting a series of information sessions for those who are interested in applying to the Fall 2021 program.
The information sessions are located at the Indian River State College Massey Campus at 3209 Virginia Ave in Fort Pierce.
Free information sessions are held periodically throughout the year. Upcoming sessions will take place at the IRSC Health Science Center (Building H) in Room 231:
- 05/20/2021 - Medical Lab Technology Information Session
- 06/17/2021 - Medical Lab Technology Information Session
- 08/19/2021 - Medical Lab Technology Information Session
To learn more information about the Indian River State College Medical Laboratory Technology program or to fill out an application for the program, click here or call the Health Science Department at 772-462-7550.