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OJC Press Release ID: 3129

Friday, November 5, 2021

Otero’s MLT Program Receives a Ten-Year Accreditation Award

Written by: Angela Tarrant

The Medical Laboratory Technician Program at Otero College received a ten-year Accreditation Award from the National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). The Phlebotomy program received a five-year award. NAACLS is the premier agency for accreditation and approval of laboratory science programs. Programs must meet rigorous education standards to guarantee that graduates possess entry level competencies. Upon completion of a NAACLS accredited program, students are eligible to take a national board exam through the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP). The process of accreditation is through external peer review. Ten years is the maximum award for the NAACLS Accreditation.

The Medical Laboratory Technician Program and Phlebotomy Certificate Program at Otero were started in Jan. of 2013. The program was granted full accreditation in 2016. Since its beginning, the program has granted 91 phlebotomy certificates and 21 MLT Associate of Applied Science Degrees.

The MLT program is designed to be completed in five semesters of study for a total of 66 credits. The course of study includes three semesters of on-campus work and two semesters with clinical rotations off campus at affiliated clinical facilities and courses on campus.

Students learn about the analysis of blood and body fluids including transfusion medicine (blood bank), bacteriology, parasitology, clinical chemistry, urinalysis, and hematology. They also learn other aspects of medical laboratory technology including quality assessment and quality control.

Students who complete the MLT program will be prepared for entry level employment in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and private medical laboratories. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take national examinations to become certified Medical Laboratory Technicians.

Angela Tarrant, MLT faculty at Otero, describes her career field as fascinating. If you love science and helping people, this is the career to be in. There is always something new to learn and technology is constantly evolving. Also, the job market is growing. The Department of Labor estimates the growth to be 11% which is faster than average. ( There is a real need for trained certified Medical Laboratory Technicians in our area and the United States. Our program is supplying a highly trained worker to fill this need.

Medical Laboratory Technicians perform a critical service within the health care system. “Our lab tests can help to determine or confirm a diagnosis and best course of treatment. We are the ones who give answers to shape the course of treatment. We are the ones who, through lab tests information provide physicians with the data to tell if something is cancer or an infection, a heart attack or heartburn, bacterial or viral infection, and what drug will be best for the treatment. We are the ones who cross match blood in a life-or-death situation. Our work makes a real difference the lives of our patients,” said Tarrant.

Tarrant emphasized the growing need for trained professionals in this career field. “There are definitely increasing opportunities for employment as a medical laboratory technician,” said Tarrant. “The shortages are reaching a crisis level in many areas.”

Tarrant said that students who want to pursue an optional professional certification in phlebotomy can also earn that certificate while completing the program. The phlebotomy certificate is optional, but it is a good opportunity for students who want to work in the field while they are completing the MLT degree.

For more information about the Medical Laboratory Technician Associate of Applied Science degree, contact Angela Tarrant at 719-384-6813 or Otero Student Services, 719-384-6831. To access the full curriculum for the program, visit the MLT page of the Otero website at Financial aid is available for those who qualify. Enrollment is currently open with spring classes beginning in January.

Press Release Photo
The Medical Laboratory Technician Program at Otero College received a ten-year Accreditation Award from the National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), and the Phlebotomy program received a five-year award.