To be eligible for certification as a medical lab technician, a student must take several science classes in areas such as chemistry, immunology and immunohematology, microbiology and hematology. The courses provide background knowledge on the subjects' concepts and principles, as well as hands-on experience in conducting analyses.
For instance, a clinical chemistry class teaches students how to perform tests to measure substances such as electrolytes, blood gases and glucose levels. In immunology and immunohematology courses, students study how antigens and antibodies function in the human body and practice analyses such as testing blood bank donations.
In a microbiology course, students learn to identify pathogens such as bacteria and parasites. Clinical analyses include urinalysis and other bodily fluid tests. Hematology concentrates on disorders and diseases of the blood such as leukemia. Students practice diagnostic tests, including Complete Blood Counts.
Clinical practice periods give students internships in real medical labs to perform analyses under supervision. Coordinating weekly seminars are sometimes required to support the practical experiences.
Other courses are required in some schools. For example, in Introduction to the Medical Laboratory, students receive information about professionalism and interpersonal skills. In phlebotomy class, students learn how to safely and effectively collect patients' blood specimens and prepare them for laboratory analyses.