Wilkes University

Medical Laboratory Science

Medical Laboratory Science student during class at Wilkes University.

With the analytical skills of a researcher and the inquisitive mind of a detective, medical laboratory scientists, also known as medical laboratory technicians, collect and analyze patient samples to help solve medical mysteries and find clues that allow health care teams to provide appropriate treatment.

With Wilkes University’s unique 3+1 program, you’ll receive a solid science background through rigorous coursework in three years on campus. The fourth year of study provides hands-on training at a clinical site.

If you have a talent for biology, chemistry and math, top-notch problem-solving skills, and an interest in health care, a bachelor of science degree in medical laboratory science from Wilkes may be the first step to your career success.

Program Information and Outcomes

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for medical laboratory scientists are expected to increase much faster than average. Due to an aging population and an increased need to diagnose medical conditions through lab work, employment is projected to grow 11% through 2028.

The median annual salary for medical laboratory scientists is $53,120.

A typical day for a medical laboratory scientist involves:

  • use of sophisticated lab and computer equipment;
  • analysis of bodily fluids;
  • categorizing blood samples for use in life-saving transfusions;
  • accurate data recording;
  • discussion of findings and collaboration with other medical professionals.

Medical laboratory science majors have put their skills to use in positions including:

  • certified medical technologist
  • laboratory projects manager
  • product incident coordinator
  • phlebotomist
  • point of care specialist
  • clinical laboratory scientist

Wilkes alumni work at sites including:

  • Becton Dickinson
  • Centrex Clinical Laboratories
  • Easton Hospital
  • Geisinger Health System
  • Health Network Laboratories
  • National Institutes of Health
  • New Jersey Department of Health
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • VA Medical Center

The medical laboratory science program of study follows requirements recommended by the American Society for Clinical Pathology. During your three years on campus, you’ll take general education requirements plus courses including: 

  • Principles of Modern Biology
  • Elements and Compounds
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry

Your clinical site work at the hospital will include lectures, lab time and hands-on training on topics including phlebotomy, parasitology and immunology.

Medical laboratory science majors apply for the fourth-year clinical experience during the sophomore year. Clinical training must take place at a hospital approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences

Wilkes University is affiliated with the medical lab sciences program at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., which has a 100% pass rate on the certification exam and whose graduates have a 100% employment rate. Admission to the Guthrie program is not guaranteed, but your dedication to the rigorous coursework at Wilkes will provide you with the knowledge and skills to succeed during your clinical year. 

You may also apply to other medical laboratory science programs. Wilkes’ Center for Health Sciences and Student Success will help guide you through the process. Requirements vary by hospital; Wilkes will work with the hospital to make sure your path to degree completion is clear. 

Upon successful completion of your clinical year, which serves as an internship, you will graduate from Wilkes with a bachelor of science degree in medical laboratory science and become eligible to take nationally recognized certification exams offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification.

Medical lab science majors receive support through Wilkes University's Center for Health Sciences and Student Success. This valuable resource offers on-campus events, including guest speakers and networking opportunities devoted to your academic and professional development.

The director of Health Sciences and Student Success is dedicated full time to guiding you through the application process for your chosen clinical training. This ensures that you:

  • meet academic and extracurricular requirements;
  • have a complete application packet, including letters of recommendation; and
  • are ready for personal interviews.

We encourage you to work with us throughout your academic career at Wilkes so we can provide you with guidance and opportunities for success on campus and in your career. 

Wilkes offers plenty of extracurricular activities so you can grow professionally and have fun outside the classroom. As a medical laboratory science major, you can join the Health Sciences Preprofessional Society. Get to know your fellow students while serving campus and the surrounding community through activities such as blood drives and fundraisers to aid in cancer and Alzheimer’s research.

Emily Kamieniecki headshot

Emily Kamieniecki ’20 went straight to working not one but two jobs at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania after graduating from Wilkes University in May.

In her first job, the medical laboratory science major helps match donor organs with potential patient recipients as a tissue typing laboratory scientist. In the evenings, she works in the molecular pathology laboratory triaging COVID test samples from seven hospitals.

“The lab is often overlooked as a vital step in the diagnostic process,” the Lafayette Hill, Pa., native says. “Laboratory scientists are working tirelessly to make sure all the COVID testing gets done in a timely fashion and patients are accurately diagnosed.”

Kamieniecki, who earned the Outstanding Research Award in Biology at Wilkes, honed her laboratory skills as an undergraduate student, including paid summer research positions. She used genetic techniques to quantify microbial communities with Dr. Caroline Fortunato, studied shrew parasites with Dr. Michael Steele, and examined causes of nest failure in declining songbird populations with Dr. Jeff Stratford. She presented her research on microbes at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in San Francisco.

“Wilkes University provided me with unique opportunities that set me up for success in my career as a medical laboratory scientist. Each summer I participated in student research projects,” notes Kamieniecki, who recently achieved board certification. “These experiences set me apart during my application and job-hunting process. I also had an exceptional academic advisor, Dr. Lisa Kadlec, who helped me every step of the way.”