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Laboratory Field Services

Medical Laboratory Technician License

Thank you for your interest in the California Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) license. Laboratory Field Services (LFS) requires applicants to submit documentation of academic coursework, clinical training, and work experience to qualify for licensure.

Work experience in California as an unlicensed laboratory staff person will not be accepted as qualification toward any clinical laboratory license.  Please note that biotech/pharmaceutical, forensic, academic, veterinary, research, and student laboratory experience cannot count as work experience or training for any clinical license.

 

Scope of practice

  • This license allows you to perform clinical laboratory tests or examinations classified as waived or of moderate complexity under CLIA, report the test results, and perform phlebotomy.

    • As of January 1, 2019, you may perform moderate complexity testing including
      • blood smear reviews, except for manual leukocyte differentials
      • microscopic urinalysis
      • blood typing of moderate complexity, such as automated ABO/Rh testing and antibody screen testing
  • This license does not allow you to perform
    • other moderate complexity microscopic analysis or immunohematology procedures, including
      • manual leukocyte differentials
      • blood typing performed to determine donor/recipient compatibility, such as recipient & donor ABO group/D (Rho) type/antigen typing, direct antiglobulin test, tests for unexpected antibody detection & identification, and crossmatch procedures
    • any tests or examinations classified as high complexity under CLIA

 

Academic requirements

  • Associate degree or 60 semester or equivalent quarter units in chemical, physical, biological, or clinical laboratory science with specific course requirements:

    • 36 semester or equivalent quarter units in physical or biological sciences

    • 6 semester or equivalent quarter units in chemistry

    • 6 semester or equivalent quarter units in biology

  • If you served in the U.S. Air Force, the college work will be posted on a Community College of the Air Force transcript. If you served in other branches of the U.S. armed forces, the college work will be posted on a transcript from an approved military college.

Non-US transcripts

All non-U.S. transcripts must be evaluated by "Current Members" of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or "Endorsed Members" of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE). This allows LFS to determine if your education is equivalent to a U.S. college or university education. The evaluation service will send an evaluation of your educational institution and academic courses directly to LFS.


To obtain an application, instructions, and information, visit them on the web:


If you are an applicant whose education, training, or experience is from a non-U.S. school, college, university, or clinical laboratory, please make sure that your name is printed in English on all your transcripts and supporting documents and that it matches your name on the application.

 

Training or Experience

  • Minimum 6-month clinical training program approved by LFS.

OR

OR

  • Minimum 3 years of on-the-job-experience within the previous 5 years in a clinical laboratory as an MLT or CLS outside California, California physician office laboratory (POL), or laboratory owned by the United States of America (military and federal laboratories).

    • On-the-job-experience must include at least 480 hours in each of these specialties: hematology, chemistry, microbiology, and immunology.

    • Verification must be signed by the training coordinator or laboratory director.

Military applicants with military medical laboratory technician training

  • Written verification of work experience must be issued by the military training coordinator or laboratory director.

    • For Army and Navy, this will be the Joint Service Transcript from Sailor/Marine American Council for your Basic and Advanced Military Training.

    • For Air Force, this will be the Phase I and Phase II Military MLT Training from the Department of the Air Force, Air Force Education and Training Command.

  • In addition to your training certificate and verification of experience, the Department requires a copy of your DD-214 military discharge document.

 

Examinations

The following certifying organizations are approved by the Department for the medical laboratory technician licensure examination:

  • American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) certification for medical laboratory technician is approved by the Department for medical laboratory technician licensure as of January 1, 2003.

  • American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) certification for medical laboratory technician is approved by the Department for medical laboratory technician licensure as of June 1, 2003.

  • Applicants who are certified before the above dates must re-take the certifying examination.

Failure to pass the written certification examination two times requires a waiting period of one year before taking the exam again. A third failure requires a two year wait. Thereafter, the examination may not be taken more frequently than once in two years.

Applicants will also have to complete the online California quiz on state laboratory laws and regulations. You will receive a notification with instructions for taking the quiz once you are qualified.

 

Renewal

Once you receive your license you will need to renew it every two years. To renew, you must pay a fee and submit documentation of continuing education. For information about the renewal process please visit the LFS renewal web page.

 

Resources

Helpful links

Approved Medical Laboratory Technician Training Programs (PDF)

LFS Approved Certification Examinations

Statutes and regulations

California Business and Professions Code, Section 1260.3

California Code of Regulations, Title 17, Section 1032.5 Licensure of Medical Laboratory Technicians

 

The requirements listed may not be comprehensive. 

 

How to Apply

Visit the LFS online application website to create an account and submit an application.

 
Apply Online  *You will need to pay your application fee online.
 

   

Additional Information:

  • Transcripts must be original documents bearing the school, college, or university registrar’s seal, and must be sent directly to LFS from the office of the college or university registrar. Request to have your transcripts mailed to:

    Laboratory Field Services - MLT Program

    850 Marina Bay Parkway, Bldg. P 1st Floor

    Richmond, CA 94804

  • Official verification of training or work experience must be on letterhead and signed by the training coordinator or laboratory director, and must show the beginning and ending dates of the training or experience. This information should cover all areas in which the rotation was completed with a description of the clinical laboratory tests or examinations performed.

  • Applicants must take the California Quiz on state laboratory laws and regulations online.

  

*Incomplete application packages may be abandoned. All applicants whose applications have been abandoned who wish to re-apply must pay a new non-refundable application fee.

 

Documents you may need for your application

  • Official transcript showing your baccalaureate degree.

  • NACES or AICE course-by-course evaluation.

  • Verification of 6 months of clinical training.

    OR

    Verification of completion of training program accredited by NAACLS.

    OR

    Verification of 3 years of on-the-job experience within the last 5 years.

  • Verification of certification examination.

  • Online California quiz on state laboratory laws and regulations.

 

Military applicants will also need:

  • Verification of training:

    • Army/Navy: Joint Service Transcript from Sailor/Marine American Council for your Basic and Advanced Military Training.

    • Air Force: Phase I and Phase II Military MLT Training from the Department of the Air Force, Air Force Education and Training Command. 

  • DD-214 military discharge document.

 

For additional information you may contact LFSscientist@cdph.ca.gov.

 

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