About CLS

Applications are now open for the Spring 2025 cohort. Visit the 'Admissions' page at https://clinicallaboratoryscience.ecu.edu/admissions/ for more information.

About the Department of Clinical Laboratory Science

The Profession

Medical laboratory scientists (also known as clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists) provide diagnostic test results that directly impact patient care.

Professional Duties Include:

  • Identifying normal and abnormal blood cells
  • Culturing and identifying microbial pathogens
  • Processing blood products for transfusion
  • Performing biochemical tests for metabolic diseases
  • Interpreting laboratory test results
  • Operating laboratory instrumentation
  • Ensuring test accuracy through quality control/quality assurance practices
  • Advancing to supervisory or managerial positions with experience

Consider This Profession if You:

  • Love science, especially hands-on activities
  • Are passionate about helping others
  • Enjoy engaging with new technologies

Employment Outlook

  • Job growth for medical laboratory personnel is projected at 11% over the next ten years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • Hospitals report current vacancy rates from 8 – 13% in their laboratory sections; expected retirement rates over the next five years range from 10 – 26% (2018 ASCP Vacancy Survey)
  • The national average hourly wage for Medical Laboratory Scientists is $31.41 (2019 ASCP Wage Survey); wages vary by geographic location, worksite, size of facility, education, certification, and experience

      The Program

      Program Outcomes

      Student Retention Rate

      100% (2021-2022)
      100% (2020-2021)
      100% (2019-2020)

      First Year Certification Rate

      78% (2021-2022)
      70% (2020-2021)
      91% (2019-2020)

      Hire Rate*

      100% (2021-2022)
      100% (2020-2021)
      100% (2019-2020)

      *within six months of graduation for students seeking employment

      Degree Options and Professional Certification

      • Students who complete the program earn the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Clinical Laboratory Science
      • A “dual-degree” option is available for students who wish to complete both the BS in Clinical Laboratory Science and the BS in Biology
      • Students who complete the BS in Clinical Laboratory Science are eligible to take a nationally-recognized certification examination
        • Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) credential – offered by American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
        • Medical Technologist (MT) credential – offered by American Medical Technologists (AMT)

        Pre-Professional Enrollment Requirements

        • Successful completion of ECU’s foundation courses
        • Courses in general chemistry and organic/biochemistry
        • Courses in general biology, microbiology, and anatomy/physiology
        • A course in statistics

        Professional Program Format

        • Junior year: Lecture and laboratory courses in Hematology, Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology, Immunology, and Immunohematology (Blood Banking)
        • Senior year: Clinical Rotations at area hospital laboratories; courses in Molecular Diagnostics and Professional Practice (research, education, management, and other topics)

          Educational Facilities


          Program Accreditation

          The program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Rd, Suite 720, Rosemont IL  60018-5119


          Mission Statement

          The mission of the Clinical Laboratory Science department is to prepare individuals to provide quality clinical laboratory services through an educational program that balances medical laboratory theory with clinical laboratory practice.

          This mission is supported by the overall vision of the College of Allied Health Sciences which seeks “to make a difference in the health of the region, state, and nation.” (CAH, Accessed 9/21/2017)

          The College’s mission is supported by the University’s mission of providing public service and regional transformation through student success, which specifically addresses the areas of healthcare, wellness, and reduction of health disparities. (Chancellor/University-Mission, Accessed 9/21/2017)


          Certification and Licensure Disclosures
          for Enrolled and Prospective Students
          The ECU CLS degree program satisfies the eligibility requirements for two nationally-accepted certification examinations (the ASCP MLS credential and the AMT MT credential). In North Carolina, certification is highly encouraged and may be required by some employers. Approximately eleven states within the US (as well as Puerto Rico) require a state license to legally practice as a Medical Laboratory Scientist. Some states’ licensure requirements exceed the ECU CLS program’s requirements. If you plan to work outside of North Carolina upon graduation, please explore the licensure requirements of the state in which you wish to work prior to enrolling.