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Medical Laboratory Science Program (Florida and Minnesota)

Curriculum

A Mayo Clinic medical lab scientist examining a specimen

Student experiences

The Medical Laboratory Science program at Mayo Clinic offers a 10.5 month training program, consisting of classroom lectures and hands-on clinical rotations. The entire program earns the student 43 academic credit hours.

Classroom learning

The program curriculum is developed in an e-learning platform, and the curricular model applies the reverse lecture-homework paradigm.

Didactic curriculum is completed as homework via online presentation of lectures and reading material. This includes:

  • Student interaction with written content and streaming lectures
  • Threaded discussions
  • Online chats
  • Email

Daily laboratory lessons are taught in the traditional face-to-face classroom format over the course of the first six-and-a-half months. Students apply the online didactic material during hands-on instructor-facilitated laboratory sessions, which are a combination of case studies, laboratory lessons, and discussion groups. 

Students are accountable through regular quizzes, examinations, and lecture assignments designed to prepare them for the respective laboratory sessions.

Coursework

You will complete courses in hematology, hemostasis, urinalysis, clinical chemistry, immunology, clinical microbiology, molecular diagnostics, transfusion medicine, laboratory management, quality control, and method validation.

Clinical experiences

After the classroom portion, you advance to your clinical experiences for the final four months. The clinical experiences include four months of laboratory rotations and are a second application of the medical laboratory science curriculum in the context of the real-world work setting.

Coursework

These are "hands-on" practicum experiences in the clinical laboratories that prepare you for entry-level positions in a clinical testing laboratory. Required core training includes rotations through bacteriology, clinical chemistry, hematology, blood banking, immunology, phlebotomy, and renal analysis.

Also available are opportunities for experiences in more-specialized areas, including toxicology, endocrinology, metals analysis, human cell therapy, fertility testing, parasitology, mycology, molecular genetics, biochemical genetics, personalized genomics, clinical immunoassay, mass spectrometry, infectious diseases serology, and HIV and hepatitis testing laboratories.

Didactic coursework (35 credits)

CourseCredits

MLS 4600: Medical Laboratory Science Program Introduction
Laboratory safety, patient confidentiality (HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), integrity and compliance, emergency preparedness, computer applications, academic policies, and general program orientation are incorporated into this course.

1

MLS 4601: Urinalysis
This course covers the physical and chemical analysis of urine to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract infections, stone formation, and other diseases.

1

MLS 4602: Immunology
This course provides an introduction to the structure and function of the human immune system. Cells and immune proteins are discussed, as are antigen-antibody reactions. Immunochemical techniques with emphasis on clinical application in the evaluation of the immune status and the diagnosis of infectious diseases and immune disorders will be presented.

Immunochemical techniques with emphasis on clinical application in the evaluation of the immune status and the diagnosis of infectious diseases and immune disorders will be presented.

2

MLS 4603: Molecular Diagnostics
Application of molecular biology techniques for diagnosing inherited (genetic) and acquired disorders. DNA purification methods, Southern blot analysis, polymerase chain reaction and other specialized techniques are discussed.

2

MLS 4604: Clinical Immunohematology
The Clinical Immunohematology course provides an overview of blood banking procedures, including ABO/Rh blood typing, antibody screening, antibody identification, compatibility testing, transfusion reactions and prenatal testing as it applies to blood bank serology.

Cellular therapy products, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) testing, blood collection and processing, and quality assurance also will be covered.

4

MLS 4605: Hemostasis
This course studies platelet function, coagulation factors, and acquired and hereditary hemorrhagic disorders. Laboratory techniques performed and discussed are screening tests and specific assays for clotting abnormalities.

There is an emphasis on the correlation of clinical laboratory data with the diagnosis and treatment of hemorrhagic disorders.

1

MLS 4636: Clinical Microbiology I
The epidemiology, pathogenesis, and clinical illness caused by bacterial agents of infectious disease, and their culture, identification, and susceptibility testing by traditional biochemical techniques and molecular methods, are discussed.

4

MLS 4637: Hematology I
The origin, morphology and function of hematopoietic cells are discussed. Laboratory sessions focus on theory and application of hematology procedures, including analysis of peripheral blood for red cell mass, hemoglobin content, quantity of blood cells, and identification of hematopoietic cells according to degree of maturation.

There is an emphasis on the correlation of laboratory data with the diagnosis and treatment of hematologic diseases.

3

MLS 4638: Clinical Chemistry I
This course provides an overview of physiological principles and concepts, methodologies, and clinical significance of biochemical analytes and elements found in blood and other body fluids. Math and statistics involved in reagent preparation and manual and automated laboratory procedures are performed.

Quality control, quality assurance, and result determination are emphasized. Clinical chemistry case studies are presented to aid in clinical correlation and problem-solving.

2

MLS 4736: Clinical Microbiology II
The epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical illness caused by viral, parasitic, and fungal agents of infectious disease, and their culture, identification, and susceptibility testing by traditional biochemical techniques and molecular methods, are discussed.

4

MLS 4737: Hematology II
This course focuses on white blood cell disorders. Laboratory sessions include the analysis of abnormal white blood cell morphology, bone marrow morphology, cytochemical staining, and flow cytometry, as well as cerebrospinal fluid, semen, and synovial and serous fluids.

There is an emphasis on correlation of clinical laboratory data with the diagnosis and treatment of hematologic diseases.

4

MLS 4738: Clinical Chemistry II
This course is a continuation of Clinical Chemistry I.

2

MLS 4800: Westgard QC
This course provides education and training in quality control with emphasis on statistical quality control.

2

MLS 4801: Westgard Method Validation
This course discusses how to assure the quality of any laboratory test through proper management of performance characteristics of an analytical method.

2

MLS 4802: New Discoveries and Laboratory Management
This course is a 16-lecture seminar series on laboratory management and advancements in laboratory medicine.

1

 

Clinical experiences coursework (8 credits)

CourseCredits

MLS 4803: Clinical Experience I
Immunology, phlebotomy and renal analysis clinical laboratory rotations
During the immunology rotation, the Medical Laboratory Science student will become familiar with serum protein electrophoresis as well as other analytes and analytical methods used in clinical immunology.

Upon completion of the phlebotomy section, the student will complete the following competencies:

  • Follow standard precautions and demonstrate the venipuncture and skin puncture process on a teaching manikin and fellow students before rotating to the clinical setting
  • Outline the correct phlebotomy technique, select appropriate phlebotomy techniques and equipment for the given patient, and follow the correct order of draw
  • Demonstrate competency of the venipuncture process by performing 100 to 120 successful collections (if patient population is available), which will include evacuated collections, winged infusion collections, syringe collections and skin puncture collections

Upon completion of the renal analysis laboratory rotation, the student will be able to perform a routine urinalysis according to standard operating procedures and describe the clinical significance of abnormal chemistries and microscopic elements. The Medical Laboratory Science student will perform maintenance and quality control of the instrumentation used for routine urinalysis.

2

MLS 4804: Clinical Experience II
Hematology clinical laboratory rotations
During the course of this rotation, the student will experience and participate in all aspects of the Hematopathology Laboratory. This will include instrument operation, instrument maintenance, quality control, sample verification, result interpretation, and troubleshooting technical issues.

2

MLS 4805: Clinical Experience III
Microbiology clinical laboratory rotations
During the course of this rotation, the student will experience or participate in all aspects of the Bacteriology Laboratory, including the methods performed in the routine aerobic, anaerobic and blood culture laboratories; susceptibility testing laboratory; and referral and light cycler laboratories.

Students will complete rotations through either the virology and parasitology laboratories or the mycology and TB laboratories and will perform routine specimen examination and culture techniques as well as instrument operation, instrument maintenance, quality control, sample verification, troubleshooting, and interpretation of clinical information.

2
  • MLS 4806: Clinical Experience IV
    • Chemistry clinical laboratory rotations
    • During the clinical chemistry experience, the students will rotate through a core chemistry lab and an elective chemistry lab. During this time, they will gain hands-on experience working with multiple chemistry analyte methodologies, quality control, instrument maintenance and operation, result interpretation, critical value reporting, and applying troubleshooting skills to different lab situations.
  • Clinical experience at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida
    • The clinical experience at Mayo Clinic in Florida includes generalist laboratory training through all major testing laboratories in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and is extended an extra six weeks to account for the difference in test volumes between the Florida and Minnesota campuses.
2

 

Hours

Didactic and student laboratory 

July through December:

  • Monday through Friday, mornings and afternoons (some exceptions may occur) — 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Four to six hours of homework a day on average

Clinical experience — Rochester program

January through May:

  • The clinical schedule includes eight-hour days, Monday through Friday

Clinical experience — Florida program

January through February:

  • Mayo Clinic in Rochester, with eight-hour days, Monday through Friday

March through July:

  • Mayo Clinic in Florida, with eight-hour days, Monday through Friday (hours vary)

Faculty

Mayo Clinic's Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology is one of the largest clinical laboratories in the world with over 90 specialty laboratories. The department receives patient specimens for testing from Mayo Clinic and from other hospitals worldwide.

The wide repertoire of test services, high volume of specimens received for testing, and our diverse and highly educated faculty make the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic an ideal educational setting for students in medical laboratory science training programs.

You will be trained in the program’s dedicated classroom and lab spaces, complete with all the equipment to teach all the skills required of an entry-level medical laboratory scientist.

From the directors

 

Medical laboratory scientists are medical professionals that develop, perform, and troubleshoot the assays and methods for analysis of blood, tissue, and body fluids in diagnostic laboratories.

According to some experts, approximately 70 percent of the objective information that physicians and other health care providers use to make medical decisions comes from the clinical laboratory. Laboratory testing is used for diagnosis, prognosis or risk determination, and monitoring of therapy.

A medical laboratory scientist must have a broad background in clinical biochemistry, microbiology, immunohematology (transfusion medicine), hematology and coagulation, and molecular diagnostics to function in today's modern diagnostic laboratory.

Concepts in laboratory management, regulation and accreditation, and statistical concepts are also of fundamental importance. Additionally, once training is complete, you may choose to specialize in a particular area of diagnostics, such as molecular diagnostics, coagulation, hematology, and microbiology.

The Mayo Clinic Medical Laboratory Science Program is housed in our renowned Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. You not only learn from our distinguished medical and allied health staff instructors, but also benefit from our progressive teaching strategies that incorporate online learning and make the most of your educational experience.

The program gives you access to numerous specialized, cutting-edge diagnostic laboratories for training that allow you to get a head start on finding areas of special interest (if you choose to focus on specific areas of testing after training). Our core laboratories also provide an outstanding training area if you are interested in a generalist position after graduation.

Our unique quality control course features an online component offered by a world-renowned quality control expert (James Westgard, Ph.D.) combined with in-class hands-on activities to reinforce concepts and teach day-to-day application.

Medical laboratory scientists are in great demand and are highly sought after by clinical laboratories here and across the country, and the forecast for job opportunities remains excellent. Our program prepares you for a career in one of the most rewarding and fastest growing areas in health care — medical laboratory diagnostics.

Welcome!

Susan Lehman, M.A., MT(ASCP)SM
Medical Laboratory Science Program Director

Bobbi Pritt, M.D.
Medical Laboratory Science Program Medical Director

Leadership

Bobbi Pritt, M.D.

Medical Director 

Bobbi Pritt, M.D. is the medical director of the MLS Program, an associate professor of pathology, and director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory. She is a board-certified pathologist and medical microbiologist and holds a master's degree in medical parasitology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Pritt has presented and published on many topics in clinical microbiology and has special interests in clinical parasitology, education, and molecular detection of infectious diseases.

Sue Lehman, M.A., MT(ASCP)
Program Director

Sue Lehman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983 with a B.S. in medical technology. In 1991, she completed her master’s degree in psychology and counseling services from St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. She worked as a medical technologist at Mayo Clinic in the Division of Clinical Microbiology for 10 years. Subsequent to this she became involved in education at the medical and allied health level and led the establishment of academic programs in clinical laboratory science in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. In 2008, Ms. Lehman completed the Professional Development Certificate Program in Distance Education through the University of Wisconsin-Madison whereby she developed the curricular model implemented for our Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Medical Laboratory Science Program. She has over 25 years of teaching experience and is an assistant professor of laboratory medicine and pathology, and an instructor in microbiology in the College of Medicine. She is the program director and also course director for introduction to medical laboratory science, clinical microbiology I and II, new discoveries and laboratory management, and faculty introduction to the clinical laboratory science online environment. Her areas of interest are in distance education and education methodology.

 

Program faculty

Kelly Nelson, M.S., MT(ASCP)

Kelly Nelson is a full-time faculty member. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.S. degree in clinical laboratory science in 2000. Kelly completed her master’s degree in clinical laboratory science through the University of North Dakota in 2009. She worked as a generalist in a small reference laboratory in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before joining Mayo Clinic in 2004 as education specialist for the Hematopathology Morphology Laboratory. Currently, she is full-time faculty for the Medical Laboratory Science Program and teaches hematology I and II and hemostasis and urinalysis. She holds the academic rank of instructor in laboratory medicine and pathology.

Faculty

Debbie Bennes
Rochester Community College, laboratory technician; Cardinal Stritch University, B.S., management

Debbie joined Mayo as a hematology bench technologist in 1984. She is a hematopathology morphology education specialist II and is an instructor in lab medicine and pathology.

Laynalee Cardel, MT(ASCP)
Minnesota State University Mankato, B.S., medical technology

Laynalee worked as a generalist in a community hospital and in a microbiology lab. She has been a bench technologist, education/quality technologist, research and development technologist, and an education specialist II. She is an instructor in lab medicine.

Daniel Dalenberg
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, chemistry

Daniel joined Mayo as a clinical lab technologist in the Biochemical Genetics Lab where he worked on cardiovascular and in-born errors of metabolism markers. He moved to Central Clinical Lab where he worked for 13 years. He coordinates the education in the Special Coagulation Lab.

Lori Duresko, MT(ASCP)
University of Iowa, B.S., clinical laboratory science

Lori came to Mayo as a technologist. She is an education specialist in bacteriology and carries an academic rank. Her expertise is aerobic bacteriology and education.

Adela Graves
Northwest Community College, A.S., medical laboratory technology certificate; University of North Dakota, B.S., clinical laboratory science

Adela has worked in the several labs. She is an education specialist and an instructor in lab medicine.

Amy Groszbach, M.Ed.
Mayo School of Health Sciences, Rochester Community College, medical laboratory technician; University of Minnesota, biochemistry; University of Minnesota, master’s degree, adult education

Amy came to the Molecular Genetics Lab as a clinical technologist, a development technologist, and an education specialist I and II. She is now an education coordinator. She teaches concepts involving DNA and its related techniques to various students, technologists, pathology residents, and fellows. She has also won several awards in education.

Wade Fiedler, MLS(ASCP)
University of North Dakota; clinical laboratory science

Wade joined Mayo as a histology technician in the Histology Lab in Anatomic Pathology. He spent 15 years in the Renal Biopsy Lab then became an education specialist in the Renal Testing Lab in 2017. In 2019 he joined the Central Clinical Lab as an education specialist I.

Roeun Im, MS, MLS (ASCP)CM
Minnesota State University, Mankato, medical technology; University of North Dakota, M.S., medical laboratory science

Roeun, an education specialist II, joined Mayo as a bench technologist in the Hematopathology Morphology Lab. He was promoted to education specialist in 2007. He splits his time between the bench and education.

Robert Jackson, MLS(ASCP)
Auburn University at Montgomery; biology

Before Mayo, Robert worked in a clinical microbiology lab. In 2010, he took a night shift position in the Central Clinical Laboratory (CCL), Mayo Clinic’s core lab He became an education specialist in CCL in 2011. He led and supported the training and teaching of employees, students, residents, and fellows in CCL, and taught the clinical chemistry curriculum. After nine years in clinical chemistry, he transitioned to an education specialist II role in the Division of Transfusion Medicine. He is now an instructor of the immunohematology course.

Sarah Jothen
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse; B.S., biomedical science, chemistry minor; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; clinical laboratory scientist

Before Mayo, Sarah worked at the Blood Center of Wisconsin in the donor testing lab. She joined Mayo in 2006 in the Transfusion Lab as a quality specialist I for five years and then as an education specialist I for two years. She became a member of the Education Resource Team in 2014. She received her Specialist in Blood Banking certification in 2018.

Debra Karger, M.S., MT(ASCP)
Michigan Technological University, B.S. medical technology; M.S., biological sciences.

Debra has a wide-ranging career, working as a lab generalist, an immunohematology reference lab technologist, an internal quality auditor, a quality assurance assistant director, and a hospital blood bank supervisor before coming to Mayo. She started as a quality specialist II in the Division of Transfusion Medicine and joined the Transfusion Medicine Education Resource Team in 2011. She is also certified by ASCP as a blood bank specialist.

Courtney Klapperich, MLS(ASCP)
Illinois State University, B.S., medical technology

Courtney started at Mayo as a technologist for the Mycology and Mycobacteriology labs. She was promoted to education specialist I in 2011. In 2014, she earned her Specialist in Laboratory Safety certification through ASCP.

Kasey Kuker, MLS(ASCP)
University of Minnesota Duluth, B.S., cell biology, chemistry minor

Kasey is a graduate of the inaugural Mayo Clinic clinical lab science class. She began as a technologist at Mayo in the Transfusion Lab in 2009. She joined the Transfusion Medicine Education Resource Team as an education specialist II in 2014.

Amy Mako
Winona State University, B.S., biology–allied health; B.A., mass communication–journalism

Amy started at Mayo as a clinical lab technologist in cytogenetics. She moved to transfusion medicine in 2006 spending 12 years in education. In 2018, she transferred to the Renal Testing Lab. She works primarily with students, residents, fellows, and cohorts. She supports the lab covering the bench, training new employees, and maintaining controlled documents. 

Lydia Ruefthaler, MLS(ASCP)
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, medical technology

Lydia joined the Mycology and Mycobacteriology Labs in 2013 as a clinical lab technologist. She was promoted to education specialist in 2018. 

Doreen Ryan, M.A., MT(ASCP)
University of Minnesota, B.S., medical technology; St. Mary's University, M.A., health and human services administration

Doreen began her career as a medical technologist at Mayo in the General Chemistry Lab. She was promoted to instrument specialist in Central Clinical Laboratory before moving into the assistant supervisor position within the Renal Function Lab. She became quality management coordinator for the Division of Clinical Core Laboratory Services. She is now the quality operations supervisor for the DLMP.

Loren Simpson
St. Olaf College, biology and secondary education; University of Minnesota, B.S., elementary education

Loren taught at the elementary and high school levels for nine years. He began his career at Mayo in the Molecular Genetics Lab. He is an education specialist and teaches molecular diagnostics. Most of his  time is devoted to training new clinical technologists and teaching allied health students, residents, and fellows.

Deb Spurbeck, MT(ASCP)
Rochester Community and Technical College, A.A.; medical laboratory technology certificate; University of North Dakota, B.S., clinical laboratory science

Deb began working at Mayo in 1987. She worked initially in transfusion medicine, first in the Cross-match Lab then in the Transfusion Transmitted Virus Lab. She moved to the Infectious Diseases Serology lab and has been an education specialist since 2009.

Jennifer Talmo, MT(ASCP)
St. Cloud State University, B.S., medical technology.

Jennifer joined Mayo as a reference lab technologist in transfusion medicine before moving into a management position for Transfusion Lab. She is a member of the Education Resource Team for Transfusion Medicine and has been in an education role for transfusion medicine since 2002.

Penny Valentino
University of North Dakota, B.S., biology; certificate in medical technology

Penny joined the Protein Immunology Lab as a clinical lab technologist for two years then as a quality/education specialist. She is now an education specialist.

Carleen Van Siclen
Norwich University, B.S., medical technology; College of St. Francis, M.S., health service administration

Carleen has over 30 years of medical lab science experience including 10 years of experience as a NAACLS medical lab technology program director. Within the DLMP, she has held various positions including hematology lead technologist, core lab supervisor, education coordinator and currently, she is the manager of lab staff education/development. She holds the academic rank of assistant professor. In addition, she holds a Governor-appointed position in the Florida Department of Health as chair of the board of clinical lab personnel.

Jody Wayne, M.S., MT(ASCP)
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, B.S., medical laboratory science; University of North Dakota, M.S., clinical laboratory science

Jody became a member of the Transfusion Medicine Education Resource Team in 2007. She teaches immunohematology to medical lab students, medical students, residents, and fellows. She is an assistant professor and has interests in blended learning and teaching using critical thinking skills. She was honored with Mayo’s Outstanding Educator Award in 2018. She also obtained her Specialist in Blood Banking certification through ASCP in 2012.

Outside employment

Some students have worked while attending the program. We recommend that you don’t work more than 10 to 12 hours a week, as the curriculum can be demanding and requires consistent review and daily study. There is a recommended minimum of four to six hours of homework a day.

Grading and evaluation 

You will be evaluated by the program director, program faculty, and the clinical instructors. Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences uses these evaluative tools: written assignments and examination, demonstration of skills, self-assessment exercises, and faculty reviews.

Our system provides students and faculty with a complete look at individual performance. Because programs are small, faculty members are partners in learning with students and closely monitor their progress. Assistance is provided whenever necessary to keep all students on track with the program's learning goals and outcomes.

Student policy manual

The Medical Laboratory Science Program's Student Policy Manual provides information about the program's curriculum-related requirements, general policies, academic policies, and clinical experience policies. You will receive a copy of the Student Policy Manual during program orientation.

The manual serves as a reference for policies and procedures for the duration of your time in the program. Applicants may request a copy of the program's policy manual through the Medical Laboratory Science Program office.

Graduation and certification

Upon successful completion of this program, you receive a certificate of completion from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. Students enrolled in the 3+1 program receive a certificate in medical laboratory science from theMayo Clinic School of Health Sciences and a baccalaureate degree from their home institution. Students enrolling in the 4+1 post-baccalaureate program receive a certificate in medical laboratory science from the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

All graduates from our program are eligible for certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC) and are credentialed as medical laboratory scientists, or MLS(ASCP)CM.