Medical Lab Technician MLT (ASCP) Certification (2023)

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Patients seek medical attention for preventative care, short-lived acute pain, or chronic medical conditions. In all three cases, lab tests are required to provide diagnostic information. When a patient comes in for a routine visit or is reporting symptoms, physicians, nurses, and medical assistants collect blood, tissue, and other bodily fluid samples in a clinical environment and send samples to a laboratory for evaluation by medical lab technicians.

Medical lab technicians (also known as MLTs) assist doctors and other specialists by performing tests on blood, tissue, and other bodily fluids to rule out, confirm, and treat medical diagnoses to help patients feel better faster.

The job outlook for this allied healthcare profession is promising, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2021) predicts an 11 percent growth in jobs from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the national average (8 percent). In fact, the BLS shows that 36,500 jobs will be created for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians (a similar occupational title) in that same period, adding to the 335,500 currently employed MLTs (BLS 2021).

The vast majority of medical lab technicians are employed in general medical and surgical hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and physicians’ offices (BLS 2021).

Aspiring medical lab technicians must complete educational and other requirements to obtain certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), one of the primary licensing bodies for the profession. Certification is not a prerequisite for employment countrywide.

However, 11 states and one territory require MLTs to pursue licensure before practicing, namely California, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The state of Georgia doesn’t require ASCP licensure but has stringent standards that supersede the highest set forth by the ASCP’s Board of Certification (BOC).

(Video) ROUTES TO MLT CERTIFICATION: ASCP BOC EXAM

Read on to learn how to become an ASCP-certified medical laboratory technician (MLT).

Early Preparation In High School to Become an MLT

Anyone interested in working in a medical or scientific lab environment should strongly consider enrolling in relevant courses in high school, including math, chemistry, biology, and other lab-based sciences. Students may also choose to pursue additional opportunities outside of the classroom, perhaps after school or during summer breaks, such as volunteer experience in a laboratory or healthcare setting.

MLT (ASCP) Certification Eligibility – US & International

To obtain certification as a medical lab technician through ASCP, an individual must first earn an associate degree or complete at least 60 semester hours (including six hours of chemistry and six hours of biology) of academic credit from a college or university. In addition, this college or university must be accredited by a recognized regional or national accreditation agency.

US-Based Applicants

US-based MLT(ASCP) applicants can use the ASCP’s examination eligibility assistant to ensure their qualifications meet one of the following eligibility pathways:

  • Route 1: Successful completion of a medical lab technician program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) within the past five years; or
  • Route 2: Completion of a 50-week U.S. military medical laboratory training course within the past ten years; or
  • Route 3: Possess three years of full-time acceptable clinical laboratory experience in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, immunology, and urinalysis/fluids in an accredited laboratory within the past ten years.
  • Route 4: Have an ASCP certified laboratory assistant (CLA) credential (discontinued in 1982)

An individual may qualify for the certification exam in multiple categories. As long as at least one of the four eligibility pathways above is met, an individual is eligible to sit for the ASCP MLT exam. The application fee for the MLT(ASCP) exam is $215.

International Applicants

For international (ASCPi) applicants, there are three routes to certification exam eligibility:

  • Route 1: A two-year diploma in medical laboratory science from an accredited institution with training in hematology, chemistry, blood banking (immunohematology), and microbiology; or
  • Route 2: A two-year diploma from an accredited institution in biological science or chemistry and completion of a qualifying medical laboratory science program; or
  • Route 3: A two-year diploma from an accredited institution in biological science or chemistry and completion of three years of acceptable clinical laboratory experience.

Please note that graduates of international degree programs must complete transcript evaluations from an approved foreign transcript evaluation entity. The application fee for the International MLT(ASCP) exam is $175.

For further information on MLT(ASCP) certification eligibility, please check out the ASCP site or the procedures booklets (US and international).

MLT(ASCP) Certification Exam Preparation

Once an individual has met all of the requirements to be eligible to sit for the exam through ASCP, the applicant should then determine when they intend on taking the exam.

Before applying to take the exam, the aspiring MLT should fully comprehend what to expect on the exam itself, which will require a significant amount of preparation. Attempting to take the exam without adequate preparation could lead to negative results, requiring an individual to sit for the exam again.

No one specific method of study is correct or will guarantee success. However, there are many ways to prepare for the exam to give applicants the best chance of obtaining favorable results.

Before sitting for the exam, an aspiring medical lab technician should consider reading the material offered on the ASCP’s list of Suggested Reading for Examination Preparation. This list contains several print publications and a variety of online material, including:

The ASCP also recommends preparing by reading professional journals, such as Clinical Laboratory Science published by the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and Medical Laboratory Observer published by Endeavor Business Media, LLC.

(Video) Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT); Navy C school; ASCP passed?; What am I doing?

MLT(ASCP) Examination Content Guidelines

The ASCP also offers an MLT(ASCP) Examination Content Guideline that will be presented on the certification exam for aspiring medical lab technicians. While this content outline is not an exact representation of what will appear on the exam, it includes general subject areas with which the individual should be intimately familiar. To be sure, the ASCP website asserts that the certification exam for the medical lab technician will cover the following subjects:

  • Blood Bank – blood group systems, antibody screen and identification, crossmatch, DAT, elution/adsorption, blood donation, transfusion therapy, transfusion reactions, HDFN, phenotyping/genotyping, antibody titer, pre-warm technique.
  • Urinalysis and Other Body Fluids – physical, chemical, and microscopic urinalysis and body fluid analysis; and
  • Chemistry – carbohydrates, acid base, electrolytes, proteins and other nitrogen-containing compounds, enzymes, lipids and lipoproteins, endocrinology, tumor markers, TDM, toxicology;
  • Hematology – erythrocytes and leukocytes, reticulocyte count, ESR, RBC/WBC morphology and differentials, platelets, hemostasis;
  • Immunology – autoimmunity, immune responses, physiology of the immune systems, immunology of viral and microbial infectious diseases;
  • Microbiology – general microbiology, aerobic gram-positive cocci, gram-negative bacilli, gram-negative cocci, gram-positive bacilli, anaerobes, fungus, viruses, mycobacteria, parasites;
  • Laboratory Operations – quality assessment/troubleshooting, safety, laboratory mathematics, instrumentation, laboratory information systems;

Individuals with a comprehensive knowledge of the subjects above are likely to perform well on the MLT (ASCP) certification examination. Furthermore, students should consider taking older practice exams, which applicants can reach through a link provided in the list above. While the specific questions will likely differ from what will appear on the current test, taking these can simulate the experience of sitting for the actual examination.

Finally, please check out the ASCP site or the procedures booklets (US and international) for more detailed information on what to expect when taking the MLT(ASCP) exams.

MLT(ASCP) Recertification Requirements

The MLT(ASCP) certification lasts three years for US-based and international credential holders. Those with MLT(ASCP) certification must submit proof of continuing education through the credential maintenance program or CMP.

MLT(ASCP) credential holders must complete an online declaration process and pay an application fee to reapply. This can be completed up to three months before expiration and must be completed at least 30 days before expiration.

(Video) I FAILED my Medical Laboratory Scientist ASCP BOC Exam

State Licensure for Medical Laboratory Techs & Working Abroad

As described previously, MLT state licensure is only required in a certain number of states. That said, laboratories typically hire only certified individuals to ensure that their employees are competent. To learn more about state licensure and licensing requirements, visit the ASCP website.

Overall, the information contained in this guide will help an individual in the quest to become a certified medical lab technician through ASCP. However, someone interested in a career in this field should also attempt to learn as much as possible through other sources to help their chances of future success.

As mentioned above, international applicants (or those with degrees from international schools) may be required to complete a transcript evaluation from an ASCP BOC-approved entity. Please contact the ASCP for more details.

As a final note, those working abroad with existing ASCP/ASCPi certifications are encouraged to check with local regulatory bodies to ensure their credentials are valid. For example, in Canada, the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is the local governing body.

From Medical Lab Technician To Medical Lab Scientist

Finally, some medical lab technicians may wish to advance and become medical lab scientists, which generally requires additional education and relevant work experience.

The ASCP website mentions that to be eligible for certification as a medical lab scientist, current medical lab technicians must:

  • Earn a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; and
  • Have 16 hours of biological science, 16 hours of chemistry, one semester of math; and
  • Have two years of full-time acceptable clinical lab experience in specific fields within the past ten years

Of course, while the MLS requirements may seem daunting, the resulting benefits can be well worth it in terms of increased job responsibilities and higher salaries.

(Video) HOW TO STUDY/PASS THE ASCP MLS EXAM | Study Routine & Books| Medical Laboratory Science

For example, while both medical lab scientists and medical lab technicians can perform a battery of tests, some labs may limit the type or complexity of tests conducted by MLTs. Furthermore, a medical lab scientist may supervise other technicians and even be responsible for training others. When negotiating salary for a new job or asking for a pay raise, these additional duties can be negotiation points.

There is no requirement that a medical lab technician takes steps to become a medical lab scientist. However, investing in the education and training to become an MLS can earn more responsibilities and skills, increase earning potential, and a multi-year rewarding career in a growing industry.

Medical Lab Technician MLT (ASCP) Certification (1)

Rachel Drummond Writer

Rachel Drummond is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @racheldrummondyoga).

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FAQs

Is ASCP exam difficult? ›

ASCP BOC exams are difficult, so it may be wise to consider purchasing test prep resources and/or workbooks. These not only guide the candidate through the specific knowledge and skills that are the focus of their specific exam, but also often provide sample questions and tests that are invaluable practice.

How many questions do you need to pass ASCP? ›

All ASCP exams are scored on a scale of 0 to 900 points. To earn a passing score, you'll have to get at least 400 points or more. Most of the tests span two hours and 30 minutes, during which examinees will face 100 multiple-choice ASCP exam questions.

What score do you need to pass the ASCP MLT exam? ›

Is it Hard to Pass the MLT (ASCP) Exam? The medical lab technician certification exam is graded on a 999-point scale, with 400 being a passing score.

What percentage do you need to pass the ASCP exam? ›

There is no set number of questions one must answer to pass, nor is there a set percentage one must achieve to pass. If at the end of the exam the examinee's score is above the pass point, then he or she passes the exam.

What happens if you fail ASCP exam? ›

According to ASCP guidelines, you can take an exam under the same eligibility route up to five times. If you fail to pass the exam after the fifth attempt, you are no longer eligible for that exam unless you can fulfill requirements for an alternate eligibility route (when available).

What is a good ASCP score? ›

A passing score is generally 400, so that's the target number you're looking for.

How many questions is the ASCP MLT exam? ›

The MLT(ASCP) and MLT(ASCPi) certification examination is composed of 100 questions given in a 2 hour 30 minute time frame. All exam questions are multiple-choice with one best answer. The certification exam is administered using the format of computer adaptive testing (CAT).

How do I find out my ASCP score? ›

You can find your valid certification dates and certification number through your ASCP dashboard. Under My BOC Activities, click the Home Page link. Select View Certifications to review current certification information.

What is the difference between ASCP and ASCPi? ›

One of the key differences is that ASCPi certification tends to eliminate specific time and credit hour requirements as these may vary from country to country. Also, different countries have different accreditation boards, which the ASCP's Board of Certification will take into account when determining eligibility.

How do you pass the ASCP on the MLT exam? ›

Some general prep strategies include:
  1. Talk to your peers. To help study for your ASCP exam, talk to people who have been through it before.
  2. Take care of yourself. In addition to studying, you can prepare for the exam by caring for your own physical and mental wellbeing. ...
  3. Familiarize yourself with the testing location.

How long is ASCP certification good for? ›

Your certification is valid for a three year period. To maintain valid certification, completion of the Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) is required every three years.

Which is better MLS or MLT? ›

medical laboratory technician. While similar, there are a few key differences between a medical lab scientist and a medical lab technician. They both work in the lab and perform tests on biological samples, however, a medical lab scientist typically has more education and is able to perform more involved lab work.

How much is the ASCP MLS exam? ›

ASCP Exams and Costs

Each of these certification exams has its own associated fees and costs, ranging from just over $100 to over $500, although most average in the $200 range. Fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable and can be paid by credit card or check.

What do I need to bring to the ASCP exam? ›

On the day of the exam, make sure you have everything you will need to take the test.
...
The Day of the Exam
  • The ID must be current (not expired)
  • The ID must be government issued.
  • The ID must contain a photograph and signature.
  • The first and last name on the ID must match the name on the application.

How do I prepare for MLS? ›

Before taking the MLS certification, students should have a strong grasp of the following subjects:
  1. Blood banking – blood group systems, antibody. ...
  2. Urinalysis and other bodily fluids – physical, chemical, ...
  3. Chemistry – carbohydrates, acid–base, electrolytes, ...
  4. Hematology – erythrocytes and leukocytes, reticulocyte.
Apr 13, 2022

What is the benefit of ASCP certification? ›

Benefits of Certification

An ASCP membership can help professionals advance their careers. For over 100 years, the organization has been a leading authority on education, certification, and advocacy for pathologists and laboratory professionals.

How many times can you fail the BOC? ›

Retake eligibility and signing up are the same process. Candidates may retake the exam five times a year once in each window.

What is a passing score for ASCP phlebotomy exam? ›

What is the passing score? To pass, candidates must score at least 400, which is the minimum passing score. The highest score is 999. “Pass” or “fail” will appear on the official score report.

What is MLT ASCP certification? ›

The Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) prepares laboratory technicians with the skills necessary to assist laboratory staff in various clinical settings.

Is ASCP national certification? ›

The ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) is the gold standard in global certification for medical laboratory professionals and has certified nearly 600,000 individuals. We are the first and largest certification agency.

Is LabCE good for ASCP? ›

LabCE's Exam Simulator can help you prepare for exams from ASCP, AMT, and more, including practice tests and materials for MLS, MT, and MLT students.

How long does it take to get ASCP certification? ›

What Is an ASCP Certification and How Can I Earn It?
Purpose of ASCP CertificationAffirms that the holder is competent and trained for specific healthcare roles
Length of Certification ProcessApplications processed within 45 business days; exam scores are reported within four business days
4 more rows

How do I prepare for ASCP MLS exam? ›

Some general prep strategies include:
  1. Talk to your peers. To help study for your ASCP exam, talk to people who have been through it before.
  2. Take care of yourself. In addition to studying, you can prepare for the exam by caring for your own physical and mental wellbeing. ...
  3. Familiarize yourself with the testing location.

What is the benefit of ASCP certification? ›

Benefits of Certification

An ASCP membership can help professionals advance their careers. For over 100 years, the organization has been a leading authority on education, certification, and advocacy for pathologists and laboratory professionals.

How many questions are on the ASCP phlebotomy? ›

The PBT(ASCP) and PBT(ASCPi) certification examination is composed of 80 questions given in a 2 hour time frame. All exam questions are multiple-choice with one best answer. The certification exam is administered using the format of computer adaptive testing (CAT).

How do you know if you passed the ASCP exam? ›

After the exam, you should receive an email to log in and view your final scores. 7. If you passed the exam, you will receive a certificate within 6-8 weeks, as well as a Credential Maintenance Program booklet containing info on maintaining your certification.

Does ASCP certification expire? ›

Individuals awarded ASCP qualification receive a time-limited qualification valid for a three year period. These individuals are required to participate in the requalification process to maintain a valid ASCP qualification or their qualification will expire.

How do you sit for the ASCP exam? ›

How to Apply for Certification
  1. Determine your category of examination and route of eligibility.
  2. Gather the necessary documentation.
  3. Login or create an ASCP online account.
  4. Upload appropriate documentation.
  5. Submit online application.
  6. Pay application fee.

Is the ASCP exam multiple choice? ›

EXAMINATION MODEL

The MLT(ASCP) and MLT(ASCPi) certification examination is composed of 100 questions given in a 2 hour 30 minute time frame. All exam questions are multiple-choice with one best answer.

How much is the ASCP MLS exam? ›

ASCP Exams and Costs

Each of these certification exams has its own associated fees and costs, ranging from just over $100 to over $500, although most average in the $200 range. Fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable and can be paid by credit card or check.

Who is eligible for ASCP certification? ›

High school graduation or equivalent, AND successful completion of a NAACLS approved Clinical Assistant (CA) program within the last five years. The education received from a NAACLS approved Clinical Assistant (CA) program is acceptable for a period of five years from the date of completion of that program.

What is equivalent to ASCP certification? ›

Two common choices for certification training programs among laboratory professionals in the medical field are the American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

What is the purpose of ASCP? ›

The mission of the American Society for Clinical Pathology is to provide excellence in education, certification, and advocacy on behalf of patients, pathologists and laboratory professionals.

Is ASCP accepted in Canada? ›

Following your training, you can sit the exam right here in Canada, or in the USA depending on your choice The exam is administered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and is a legal requirement before you can practice Medical Laboratory in not only United State but many countries with membership of ...

What is a passing score for ASCP phlebotomy exam? ›

What is the passing score? To pass, candidates must score at least 400, which is the minimum passing score. The highest score is 999. “Pass” or “fail” will appear on the official score report.

What score do you need to pass phlebotomy exam? ›

National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT/MMCI)

A score of 70 is required to pass the NCCT exam. – The pass rate for the NCCT Phlebotomy exam is 75.7%.

Is the phlebotomy exam multiple-choice? ›

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) provides candidates with the Phlebotomy Technician Certification (PTC) upon successful completion of the exam. The exam itself includes 80 multiple-choice questions and candidates are given 2 hours to complete it.

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