UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The medical laboratory technologist occupation is among the fastest growing health care jobs at a projected growth rate of 22 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thanks to the medical laboratory technology (MLT) associate degree offered by Penn State Continuing Education, central Pennsylvania residents have a convenient way to prepare for this career. The first students to earn the MLT degree at the Penn State Lewistown Center will graduate this month.
“We partnered with the Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital to bring this education program close to home for area residents,” said Penn State Lewistown Center Director Tom Walker. “Students take courses at the Lewistown Center and do their lab sessions in our Health and Science Lab.”
The MLT program is just what Kelsey Jo Anderson of Yeagertown was looking for. “I wanted to get into the health care field, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” said the single mother of a 3-year-old son named Tanner. “Then I learned about the MLT program at the Lewistown Center, which is only 10 minutes from home.” Anderson previously studied accounting at the Lewistown Center, but switched to the MLT program to prepare for “a more stimulating career.” As a result of her MLT degree, Anderson was offered and has accepted a position at Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital.
Another MLT graduate, Robin Williams of Julian, currently is a phlebotomy technologist/lab assistant at Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital. “Earning a MLT degree will expand my career opportunities,” said Williams, who also conducts health and wellness screenings and research work for a life insurance company. “Having courses at the Lewistown Center made it more convenient to earn my degree while working. I love working in a lab,” added Williams, who received a STEM Career Advancement Project of Central Pennsylvania scholarship.
Riane Shemory of McVeytown also is graduating with a MLT degree. She previously worked as a certified nursing assistant and now is a part-time lab assistant at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital — a position she was offered while she was doing her MLT clinicals at the hospital. “I enjoy the microbiology department, looking at different types of bacteria and seeing what is causing a patient’s problem,” said Shemory, who is engaged to be married in June.
Penn State Continuing Education’s medical laboratory technology degree includes course work and 600-plus hours of intensive clinical skills training at medical sites. To learn more about this program, visit http://ceup.psu.edu/associate-science-degree-medical-laboratory-technology.