School of Medical Laboratory Science

About the Profession

Medical laboratory science (MLS) is a dynamic field that allows one to be an integral part of the healthcare team. Medical laboratory scientists perform analyses that aid physicians in diagnosing the absence, presence or extent of disease, along with monitoring therapy. They use sophisticated instrumentation and technology as well as manual dexterity to perform testing on blood and body fluids. Medical laboratory testing involves disciplines such as chemistry, hematology, coagulation, immunology, immunohematology, urinalysis, molecular biology, microbiology, mycology and parasitology.

Men and women interested in helping others are the foundation of a successful laboratory. They must be accurate, reliable, have an interest in science and be able to recognize their responsibility for human lives. The importance of the role of the medical laboratory scientist is recognized by physicians, hospitals, industry and government health agencies.

The practice of modern medicine would be impossible without the tests performed by the medical laboratory scientist. Rapid advances in medicine have increased not only the number and complexity of laboratory procedures but also the need for medical laboratory scientists. MLS is a profession of unlimited career opportunities. It offers job stability, choice of places to work, attractive futures for men and women and personal satisfaction in knowing that you are a valuable member of the healthcare team.

About the Program

The School of Medical Laboratory Science offers a 12-month course in medical laboratory science. The program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018; phone (773) 714-8880. The School of Medical Laboratory Science, established in 1946, is a division of the Department of Pathology at Mississippi Baptist Medical Center (MBMC). The largest private general hospital in the state, Mississippi Baptist Medical Center is accredited by The Joint Commission (JC) and is a member in good standing of the Mississippi Hospital Association. The Pathology Department is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, the American Association of Blood Banks and the FDA.

All medical laboratory science programs accredited by NAACLS must culminate in a baccalaureate degree. Applicants may already have a baccalaureate degree (4+1 students) or may be planning to obtain one following successful completion of the year of clinical education at MBMC (3+1 students). The School of Medical Laboratory Science maintains affiliations with Mississippi State University & William Carey University, which allow the proper transfer of 30 semester hours of credit to the university for those students whose senior year of college will be the year at MBMC.

Contact the Medical Technology/Medical Laboratory Science advisor at the following schools to learn more about 3+1 degree requirements:

Mississippi State University:
William Carey University:

The clinical education course at MBMC lasts 12 consecutive months. During the year of clinical education, students receive instruction in all phases of laboratory medicine including biochemistry, parasitology, mycology, microbiology, immunology, immunohematology, urinalysis, coagulation, hematology, computer applications, client service operations, education and management.

Students are in the laboratory Monday–Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Students develop technical skills under the instruction and supervision of certified medical technologists/medical laboratory scientists by rotating through the major divisions of the clinical laboratory. They learn to perform laboratory procedures by assisting with actual tests on hospital patients. Because their learning is directly related to patients and their illnesses, students develop an important professional concept–a sense of responsibility toward patients.

Students also attend lectures on a daily basis. Both lectures and lab rotations are accompanied by frequent written, oral and practical examinations. The entire clinical course is concluded with a comprehensive examination.

Upon successful completion of the clinical program, students receive a certificate from the School of Medical Laboratory Science and are eligible to take a national certification examination, such as the ASCP Board of Certification Medical Laboratory Scientist exam. The program has maintained a 100% pass rate for this exam over the last three years. In addition, over the past three years, the program has a 100% graduation rate and 0% attrition rate for students entering the final half of the program.  And 100% of graduates who seek jobs have been placed in jobs within one year of graduation. In fact, most graduates have a job at graduation. (revised 10/2015) 

Admission Information

Students are selected for admission to the School of Medical Laboratory Science on the basis of college performance, aptitude for medical laboratory science, interest, motivation, character, health status and Mississippi residency. Student, faculty and employment selection practices are non-discriminatory with respect to race, color, creed, sex, age, disability and national origin.

For either 4+1 or 3+1 students, academic requirements include successful completion of required courses in the following academic disciplines:

  • Chemistry: A minimum of 16 semester (24 quarter) hours. Organic chemistry must be included. Biochemistry is recommended.
  • Biological Sciences: A minimum of 16 semester (24 quarter) hours. Microbiology and Immunology must be included. Genetics, parasitology and molecular science courses are recommended.
  • Mathematics: One course in mathematics is required. Minimum requirements are met by courses recognized as prerequisites for physics courses. Courses in statistics, computer science and physics are recommended.

A cumulative grade point average of 2.70 and a 2.70 math/science GPA are also required. In addition, all applicants must successfully complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Minimum acceptable GRE scores are 3.0 on the Analytical section and a combined score of 280 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections. If the applicant’s native language is not English, successful completion of the TOEFL exam is required.

Individuals who have met the minimum educational requirements, including GRE and TOEFL exams, seven or more years prior to application must complete additional academic work before qualifying. All “updated” academic work must be approved by the Program Director.

Applicants must meet the essential functions of a Medical Technologist/Medical Laboratory Scientist. The essential functions include the ability to read and write effectively, to sit and stand with freedom of movement for extended periods of time, including lifting up to ten pounds, to reach over and bend around instruments, to perform repetitive motions, to demonstrate good hand-eye coordination and near visual acuity, to see through a microscope, to hear intercom and instrument alarms, to discriminate color reactions of special stains and other laboratory procedures, to possess necessary manual dexterity, to effectively communicate verbally and in writing with patients and staff, to wear personal protective equipment and be aware of potential exposure to contagious diseases and chemical irritants.

Mental aptitude of the Medical Technologist/Medical Laboratory Scientist includes frequent periods of concentration requiring close attention to many integrated processes and details with frequent interruptions. Independent judgment is required.

Applications may be submitted at any time. The application deadline is January 1 for entrance into the following Fall class. If the regular Fall class is not filled, students may be admitted at other times during the year at the discretion of program officials.

Expenses and Financial Aid

There is no tuition fee; however a $1,000 activity fee is charged. Students must purchase their own textbooks and uniforms as well as provide for their own housing and transportation.

3+1 students should have access to the usual financial aid provided through their college or university. At times, stipend funds are available through the MBMC Clinical Laboratory for students enrolled in the School of Medical Laboratory Science. In addition, the Program Director provides information about various scholarships that may be available. Contact the Program Director for more information about the student stipend and scholarships. 

Course/Rotation Descriptions

  • Accessioning and Processing: Students learn to handle and process requisitions and specimens from inpatients, outpatients and Outreach accounts. Pre-analytical problems are discussed and solved during this rotation.
  • Phlebotomy: The didactic instruction covers basic venipuncture and skin puncture technique. Twenty hours of clinical practice is required following didactic instruction.
  • Special Topics: Education and Management - Basic education theory such as behavioral objectives, criterion and norm-referenced evaluation, methods of instruction and research techniques is presented. Students participate in a variety of group and individual journal article, case study and current event presentations. In addition, students assemble a project notebook during the clinical year comprised of various patient case histories and their clinical significance. 

An overview of various managerial and supervisory theories and practices is also provided. Students solve management problems during clinical rotation and lectures.

  • Hematology/Coagulation: Students learn normal and abnormal morphology of formed elements in blood. Testing includes various hematological assays, bone marrow studies, special staining procedures and hemolytic studies. Mechanisms of hematopoiesis are correlated with clinical and laboratory findings through discussion of case studies. Operation, maintenance, quality control and trouble-shooting of the automated cell counters is taught and practiced. The lecture course also offers basic principles of cytogenetics and flow cytometry. Physiological mechanisms of normal human coagulation as well as hereditary and acquired defects of these mechanisms are taught. Therapeutic measures that alter the normal coagulation processes and monitor anticoagulant therapy are discussed. Techniques include evaluating specimen quality, screening procedures and specific assays.
  • Clinical Chemistry/Immunochemistry: Biochemical constituents of the human body such as lipids, proteins, enzymes, carbohydrates, nitrogenous substances, electrolytes, acid/base analytes and heme derivatives are studied and analyzed. Toxicology, therapeutic drug monitoring and molecular diagnostic procedures are discussed and performed. Immunoassays relating to hepatitis, HIV, tumor markers and hormones of the endocrine systems are taught and performed. Studies include theory of procedures and instrumentation, pathological significance of tests and normal values. Maintenance, quality control, and trouble-shooting of various pieces of instrumentation are covered.
  • Immunoserology/Immunofluorescence: Theoretical aspects of basic tests involving antigen-antibody reactions in relation to disease are presented. Testing includes immunofluorescence, hemolysin reactions, nephelometry, precipitation and agglutination as well as hemoglobin and protein electrophoresis.
  • Immunohematology: The course is a study of blood group systems and compatibility testing that includes case study problem solving, antibody detection studies, hemolytic disease of the newborn, and post-transfusion problems. Methods of donor blood collection, component preparation, storage and distribution of blood and blood products are also covered. 
  • Urinalysis and Body Fluids: Lecture and laboratory exercises cover physical, chemical and microscopic examination of urine and other body fluids. The course presents the basic anatomy and physiology of the kidneys and urinary system. Physiological changes and pathological conditions are emphasized as related to both normal and abnormal findings in urine and other body fluids.
  • Microbiology: A systematic study of medically important bacteria is conducted. Emphasis is placed on isolation, identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of pathogenic bacteria. Epidemiology and mechanisms of pathogenesis are included. Didactic instruction covers pathogenesis and identification of major viral pathogens. Attention is given to proper specimen collection as well as chemical and serological methods of diagnosis. A study of protozoan, helminthic, and arthropod parasites of medical significance is presented, with emphasis placed on life cycles, pathogenicity and epidemiology. Wet preparations, permanent mounts and slides are used in instruction of parasite identification. A comprehensive study of pathogenic fungi, including dermatophytes, systemic and opportunistic fungi, is presented. Culture characteristics, clinical manifestations and microscopic morphology are included. Slides are used to supplement actual isolates found in the clinical laboratory. 

Please send all requests for information regarding credit hours per course to the Program Director.

Contact Information

For more information about the School of Medical Laboratory Science or to request a tour of the laboratory, contact the Program Director at 601-968-3070 or via email:

All policies and procedures related to the program are available upon request.

Send completed applications, reference evaluation forms, test scores and official college transcripts to:
Program Director
School of Medical Laboratory Science
Mississippi Baptist Medical Center
1225 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Related Links

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is a medical laboratory scientist and what do they do?

A medical laboratory scientist is a highly skilled individual who performs and evaluates laboratory procedures on blood and body fluids to aid physicians and other healthcare professionals in diagnosing and monitoring disease states. They may also be involved in developing new diagnostic procedures, supervising and conducting biomedical research, providing technical expertise, consulting and teaching as well as analyzing and implementing laboratory information systems. The primary disciplines in laboratory medicine include clinical chemistry, hematology, clinical microbiology, clinical immunology, immunohematology (transfusion medicine) and molecular diagnostics.

What is the difference in a medical laboratory scientist and a medical laboratory technician?

The medical laboratory science profession offers multiple career tracks based on level of education. A Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) is an associate degreed individual involved in the performance of lab procedures, the maintenance of instruments, and the relating of lab findings to common diseases/conditions. Medical Technologists/Medical Laboratory Scientists (MT/MLS) obtain a baccalaureate degree and have a more extensive theoretical knowledge base. They perform high-level laboratory procedures as well as evaluate and interpret test results, integrate data, problem solve, consult, conduct research and develop new test methods.

What is the difference between a medical laboratory science degree program and a certificate program?

University-based programs are typically degree programs. They are often two years in length and offer a slower pace for students. Upon completion of the program, students may be awarded a baccalaureate degree in Medical Laboratory Science. Hospital-based programs are typically certificate programs. They are often one year in length and offer a more intensive fast pace for students. Upon completion of the program, students receive a certificate of completion. As hospital-based programs typically are unable to grant degrees, the students they accept must have completed a baccalaureate degree already (4+1 student) or be in the final year of degree completion (3+1 student). Hospitals maintain affiliation agreements with colleges or universities that allow the MLS program to send grades to the college or university that will grant the degree for the 3+1 student. Regardless of whether a student has a degree in MLS from a university-based program or a certificate of completion from a hospital-based program, once a student completes a NAACLS accredited program, he or she is eligible to sit for a national certification exam.

What job opportunities and career paths are available to MLS graduates?

Currently there is a nationwide shortage of medical laboratory science personnel. Graduates have many options related to where and what hours they want to work. MLS graduates work in hospital laboratories, physician office laboratories, veterinary laboratories and reference laboratories. They work in public health laboratories, at the CDC, in research and in molecular science. They work in reagent sales, instrument sales and service, marketing, education and management. They work in information systems, industry and forensics. Many graduates use MLS as a stepping-stone to medical school or law school. The possibilities are endless.

What salary will a MLS graduate earn?

Salaries vary depending on geographic location and type of position. Graduates who work evening or night shifts frequently receive a “shift differential” in addition to their base pay. Those working in physician office labs may receive a lower salary, but they usually do not work nights, weekends or holidays. Contact a local MLS Program Director or see for more information related to MLS salaries in your area.

What prerequisite courses will prepare me for a medical laboratory science program?

Most programs require basic biology and chemistry courses. The following is a non-inclusive list of the types of courses that will prepare you for a MLS program: Microbiology, Immunology, Cell Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Molecular Biology, Parasitology, Statistics, Physics, Computer Science, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Genetics and Research Methods.

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