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HGTC Medical Laboratory Technology Program

HGTC Medical Laboratory Technology Program

(Conway, SC) 12/01/2022
man working with medical lab equipment

Andrew Harris, HGTC Medical Laboratory Technology student, is using pipetting skills learned during a first semester lab. MLT students first calculated the dilution, then performed them. This was assessed by Professor Wetter as part of their lab grade. Pipetting skills are essential to testing specimens on semi-automated Chemistry instruments, such as the Pointe 180 chemistry analyzer.

Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) is pleased to report that students in the Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) program are completing their first semester. The MLT program launched this fall after years of planning and approvals, including a local needs assessment to develop the program.

Sandra Wetter, HGTC Associate Professor and Director of the Medical Laboratory Technology program, has been involved in the developmental stages from the very beginning.

“This program has been on President Fore’s wish list for quite some time. Medical Laboratory Technology is a field for people who are interested in science and working with their hands. Medical Laboratory Technicians are detail-oriented problem solvers. They want to help patients in a medical setting but prefer to have limited patient contact. Medical Lab Technicians enjoy working with their hands, technical instruments, and communicating with other medical professionals. This medical laboratory role is challenging and requires life-long learning,” said Wetter.

The Associate in Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology degree prepares students to be able to perform laboratory tests, automated and manual testing, following detailed instructions; it trains and educates students to analyze human blood and body fluids to detect and diagnose diseases using microscopes, semi-automatic blood analyzers, and other scientific equipment. A Medical Lab Technician is also qualified to analyze data and relay the results to physicians after testing and examining a specimen. This data can be utilized by healthcare providers to diagnosis, treat, and prevent illnesses.

One of the students completing the first semester of the program is Andrew Harris.

“I think the MLT program is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a career in the medical field, especially those who are not certain about performing direct patient care. It is a fast-paced career with a multifaceted environment for those who enjoy a more hands-on approach. Technicians are always doing something different depending on the patient scenarios,” said Harris.

female student looking at a blood sample

Savannah Wilkerson, HGTC Medical Laboratory Technology student, is viewing a media plate and will report the colony morphology. This visual skill is practiced during the Medical Microbiology lab along with biochemical testing and gram staining. During the first semester, the MLT students became proficient on the microscope and identified several pathological organisms.

Another student completing the first semester of the program is Savannah Wilkerson.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time thus far in the MLT program. I enjoy going to class, both the lecture and lab classes. Learning about the different biomedical instruments and biochemical tests done in the lab setting has kept me interested throughout the semester. My favorite portion of the program so far are the lab classes. I love focusing in on specimens with the microscope and using different tests to identify what I’m viewing. Overall, I’m more than excited to see what the future holds for me in the program. Anyone who has an interest in the medical laboratory setting should give this program a chance,” said Wilkerson.

HGTC’s MLT program is a limited access program part of the Healthcare Science division. Graduates are eligible to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology – Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC) exam. To be certified as a Medical Laboratory Technician the graduate must pass the ASCP-BOC generalist certification examination. The cost of completing this examination is not included in the cost of tuition for the program. Becoming an MLT (ASCP) will help them procure employment in hospital and private laboratories (clinical or research) or physician office labs.

The program is in the process of becoming accredited by the National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).