Online Laboratory Technician Degrees
The medical field relies on a lot of different things in order to help those in need of medical care. One of the most obvious is certainly the laboratory work used to help make a diagnosis. Entering the field of lab technology will allow students to enter a job market that pays over forty five thousand dollars each year on average and is always in need of new employees. Earning a lab technician degree allows graduates to find employment in physician offices, laboratories, medical clinics, hospitals, and more. The basics of the job involve performing tests on blood, urine, tissue, and other fluid samples and submitting the results to the physician for review.
Students in an online laboratory technician degree program will learn how to perform these tests and will also learn how to manage patient charts and data. While coursework will be completed online through distance learning, in order to graduate from these programs there will be a requirement that students complete clinical training. This training gives them hands on experience at running tests and will allow them to hone their skills before finding employment in the job market.
Online Lab Technician Degree Programs
Undergraduate Certificate: 1 year to complete
Associate Degree: 2 years to complete
Bachelor's Degree: 4 years to complete
Earning an online lab technician certificate will allow students to enter very narrow areas of study. For instance, those who choose to focus solely on drawing blood and delivering it to the lab can earn a certificate in phlebotomy. They won't be able to actually run the tests, but they'll still be a vital part of the lab team. There may be other certificate programs that focus on different areas of laboratory technology, and students can select the one that fits their overall goals and complete the program in as little as one year in most cases. In most cases these certificate programs are designed for those already working in the medical profession, giving them the chance to add a deeper skillset to their careers and allowing them to improve their employment or advancement opportunities.
The online associate degree in laboratory technology is probably the most popular method of entry into the field. It is a two year program that covers numerous areas of study. Students will need to complete liberal arts programs and complete things like science, English composition, and mathematics classes. Anatomy, biology, and chemistry are also covered at length and will help students form a solid foundation on which to base the rest of their education. After the basic education courses students will then begin the medical science classes that cover the specific areas of labwork. Things like hematology, urinalysis, immunology, and more are all covered at length. Students will learn the basic principles and theories of lab work and will understand medical terminology, filing steps, and more. After completion of the coursework students will then complete hands-on training that will allow them to actually perform the different tests in a medical setting under supervision of professionals. This way they are ready for work after graduation and have already completed several hours of work in a lab setting.
Earning an online bachelor's degree in the field will prepare students for not only a deeper understanding of lab work, but also for leadership roles. It covers most of the subjects needed to become a manager or administrator of a laboratory facility. Things like communication, human resources, marketing, legal compliance, and other business related subjects are covered in these programs as well as more complex lab skills. Students will learn how to manage a lab, provide guidance to lab technicians, report to physicians, manage reports, and more. The program is designed to be completed in four years and uses online education classes and hands on clinical lab duty.
Basic Admission Requirements
Admissions into an online laboratory technology program can be competitive. Associate and certificate programs require a high school diploma, math and science program completion, and more. In some cases high school performance will factor into the admission process and SAT scores may even be needed. In order to enter the clinical environment students will also have to be able to pass drug tests, background checks, and supply immunization records. For bachelor's degree programs there may be additional requirements including letters of recommendation, essays or statements of intent, SAT or ACT scores, quality grades during high school, volunteer or intern work at a medical facility, and more.
Traditional and Online Lab Technician Degrees Key Differences
Entering a traditional lab technician program involves showing up to class each day and completing the course work. Online programs allow students to complete the basic 'bookwork' portion of their education online in their spare time. That's the only real difference since hands on training is absolutely vital in this field. Students in either type of program will have to complete clinical duty that involves hands-on training. They'll participate in clinical tests and will spend time working in real labs at local hospitals or lab facilities. This ensures that upon graduation they are ready to fulfill all of their duties.
Those looking for work in the laboratory technician field will find that it is carefully regulated in most cases. Certification or licensure is required by nearly all states, and even when it isn't required most employers will give a heavy preference to those who have licensure. In order to gain certification students will have to graduate from a program that is fully accredited by the appropriate bodies. Regional or national accreditation is good, but accreditation from National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences is the best thing to look for when you're selecting a program.
Finding the Right Degree
The main thing to look for when choosing an online laboratory technology program is that you find one which will allow you to complete your lab work locally. Online degrees are often offered by local community colleges, and it's important that you don't have to drive too far to get to the lab for your hands-on training. Since real life, hands-on training is a key element of these programs, this is the most important consideration beyond accreditation that one should consider.