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Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)
Department: Clinical Lab Science
The field of clinical laboratory science offers opportunities for students who are interested in the biological and chemical sciences. Clinical laboratory scientists are academically prepared, skilled laboratory workers who perform a variety of analyses which aid the physician in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
The Associate of Applied Science-Clinical Laboratory Technician degree is a two-year program which permits students to achieve the status of clinical laboratory technician (CLT). The program is carefully articulated with the baccalaureate program in clinical laboratory sciences.
What is a CLT?
Clinical Laboratory Technician
The clinical laboratory technician (CLT, also known as a medical laboratory technician, or MLT) has a working comprehension of the technical and procedural aspects of laboratory testing. The technician maintains an awareness of and complies with regulatory requirements, safety regulations, and ethical standards of practice. The technician correlates laboratory tests with disease processes and understands basic human physiology.
In order to be considered for admission into the CLS A.A.S. program, candidates must have completed or be currently enrolled in:
- Basic Principles of CLS (CLS 1511 & CLS 1512)
English Language Proficiency Requirements
The Clinical Laboratory Science Department requires a high level of proficiency in English so that all students will be able to fully meet academic and clinical objectives as well as meet criteria for professional licensure/certification.
Students from non-English speaking countries or for whom English is not a native language must take one of the following tests:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 79 on the preferred internet-based test (iBT), 550 on the paper-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score of at least 6.5 and a spoken band score of 7.
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a score of 56.
The TOEFL is available at the ASU Testing Center. When taking the exam off campus, the report code for ASU is 6011.
English as a Second Language Program
Students who do not meet the required English language proficiency may enroll in ASU’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program in the International Center for English. Potential CLS students enrolled in the ESL program must maintain an average of 85 or higher in levels 0 through 4. In the final or 5th level of the ESL program an average of 90 or higher must be maintained. Upon completion of the ESL program, the potential CLS student must take the internet based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Upon successfully meeting the proficiency requirement, potential students are eligible to apply to the Clinical Laboratory Science Program.
Physical & Mental Requirements
Applicants to the Clinical Laboratory Science Program are expected to meet certain physical and mental requirements to ensure safe performance in clinical laboratory procedures by students in the clinical education affiliates.
These technical standards of performance include the following six criteria:
- Visually inspect medical test requests, medical test results, condition of medical reagents, equipment, and devices, and work in low light environments. Corrective glasses are approved.
- Hear colleagues, instructors, patients, and other health care providers both face-to-face and with the back turned. Hearing aids are approved.
- Communicate effectively and sensitively with instructors, colleagues, patients, and other health care providers. Verbalization is essential under stress and emergency situations.
- Orthopedic functions to include reaching, manipulating, and operating necessary clinical laboratory equipment and instrumentation. Ability to respond to stressful and emergency circumstances.
- Intellectual and conceptual integrative and quantitative abilities that enable one to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information. One must understand three-dimensional relationships and have problem-solving skills.
- Behavioral and social attributes that demonstrate the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of responsibilities, and development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships.
Selective Admission Process
Applying to the Program
The submitted application packet is to consist of a completed application form, two completed reference forms (one from a personal, non-relative reference, and one from a professional or instructional reference), and college/university transcripts of all college work attempted. Applications are not reviewed on a first come/first served basis.
Application materials must be received by April 15 for consideration for fall semester admission. Letters of official admission into the CLS Program will be mailed by May 1.
Application and Selection Process
- The submitted application packet is to consist of a completed application form, two completed reference forms (one from a personal, non-relative reference, and one from a professional or instructional reference), and college/university transcripts of all college work attempted. If applying directly from high school for the AAS in CLT, please provide high school transcripts and a copy of your ACT scores.
- Applications are not reviewed on a first come/first served basis.
- The minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) for admission is 2.50.
- Factors considered in the application process include the following:
- Cumulative grade point average:
- Worth up to 56 points of possible 156 points for BS in CLS application.
Worth up to 56 points of possible 80 points for AAS in CLT application.
- For BS in CLS application only, support course grades:
- Worth up to 72 points of possible 156 points for BS in CLS application
- Support courses include General Chemistry I & II, Anatomy & Physiology I & II, Microbiology for Nursing & Health Professions, Principles of Clinical Laboratory Science
- Grade of A = 6 points, B = 5 points, C = 4 points, and D = 2 points for each support course
- Proficiency in a second language, spoken and written, confirmed through the ASU World Languages Department:
- Worth up to 10 points of possible 156 points for BS in CLS application.
- Worth up to 6 points of possible 80 points for AAS in CLT application.
- Two references provided by the applicant evaluated according to a standardized rubric:
- Worth up to 18 points of possible 156 points for BS in CLS application.
- Worth up to 18 points of possible 80 points for AAS in CLT application.
- Applications received after April 15th will not be accepted.
- Completion of or current enrollment in CLS 1511 & CLS 1512, Basic Principles of CLS, for both AAS and BS applicants.
- Completion of (or current enrollment in) key coursework before beginning the BS in CLS is required (this does not apply to the AAS in CLT):
- General Chemistry I & II (ASU courses CHEM 1011, 1013, 1021, 1023)
- Anatomy & Physiology I & II (ASU courses ZOOL 2001, 2003, 2011, 2013)
- Microbiology (ASU courses BIOL 2101, 2103)
- Students who are admitted into the 2-year CLT or 4-year CLS Program will be expected to provide their own transportation to and from assigned clinical sites. Transportation is not provided by ASU or the CLT/CLS Programs.
- For applicants who are proficient in the Spanish language: Actualmente en la región que sirve ASU, se necesitan profesionales de la salud que hablen español. Por favor, indique aquí si usted tiene esta habilidad. Se da crédito adicional a los candidatos que puedan demostrar esta competencia. La facultad de idiomas extranjeros de ASU administra la prueba de habilidad en español. Por favor, póngase en contacto con el programa de ciencias de laboratorio clínico para arreglar una cita para tomar el examen.
Submitting Your Application
Only a completed application packet, consisting of the application form, criminal background check acknowledgment, 2 reference forms, and transcripts of all college and/or high school work attempted, will be accepted for review. The application may be taken to Eugene W. Smith Hall - Room 101, or mailed to the following address:
Clinical Laboratory Science Programs
College of Nursing and Health Professions
Arkansas State University
Attention: CLS Program Director
P. O. Box 910
State University, AR 72467
Equal Opportunity Policy
Arkansas State University is an equal opportunity institution and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, impediment/disability, or unlawful factors in the admission and treatment of students.
A clinical laboratory science program advisor assists students in planning their courses of study. Basic requirements include courses from English, math, social sciences, natural sciences, physical sciences and humanities. Students also will complete major courses and will apply campus-based instruction in a clinical setting.
Classes for CLS-AAS students begin in the fall semester and continue for twenty-four (24) consecutive months.
Year 1 Fall
Year 1 Spring
ENG 1003 Composition I ENG 1013 Composition II CHEM 1011 General Chemistry I Lab BIO 2103 Microbiology CHEM 1013 General Chemistry I BIO 2101 Microbiology Lab MATH 1023 College Algebra BIO 2223 Human A&P II CLS 1511 Principles of CLS Lab BIO 2221 Human A&P II Lab CLS 1512 Principles of CLS 3 credits: Computer Applications CLS 1531 Body Fluids CLS 1521 Body Fluids Lab
Year 2 Fall
Year 2 Spring
CLS 2523 Hematology I CLS 3512 Parasitology CLS 2521 Hematology I Lab CLS 3511 Parasitology Lab CLS 2533 Clinical Microbiology I CLS 2543 Clinical Chemistry I CLS 2531 Clinical Microbiology I Lab CLS 2541 Clinical Chemistry I Lab CLS 2563 Immunohematology I CLS 2573 Clinical Immunology CLS 2561 Immunohematology I Lab CLS 2571 Clinical Immunology Lab 3 credits: US History / Government CLS 2514 Clinical Practicum I
Year 2 Summer I
Year 2 Summer II
CLS 2524 Clinical Practicum II CLS 3514 Clinical Practicum III
Year 3 Fall
CLS 3524 Clinical Practicum IV
Upon completion of the curriculum, the student is awarded an associate of applied science degree in Clinical Laboratory Science. Award of this degree is not dependent upon passing the national certification examination offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
CLS students participate in clinical rotations in laboratories located throughout Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. Students must provide their own transportation to the clinical affiliates. When determining educational cost, this additional expense must be considered.
Every student will participate in four (4) clinical rotations as part of their CLS training. Many CLS clinical sites are NOT located in Jonesboro, so students can expect to drive significant distances to and from clinical sites for one or more rotations. It is the responsibility of the student to arrange for transportation for clinical rotations, and the associated costs should be factored in to the total cost of your education. The CLS department will make every effort to place you at sites located near where you live or where close family or friends live, but we make no guarantees that your desired placement will always be possible.
Other costs which should be considered when determining educational expenses include, but are not limited to, rotation uniforms, vaccinations (including Hepatitis B), malpractice insurance, TB skin testing, course fees, textbooks, and criminal background checks. Many of these are requirements set forth by our clinical affiliates and/or the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
Essential Functions in CLS
Faculty and staff in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences have a responsibility for the welfare of the patients treated or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the Clinical Laboratory Science Program, as well as the welfare of other students in the Program. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the Program has established minimum essential requirements that must be met in order for students to participate in the program, graduate, and enter the field of Clinical Laboratory Science.
Admission and Retention Factors
Admission and retention decisions for Clinical Laboratory Science are based not only on prior satisfactory academic achievement, but also on non-academic factors which serve to insure that the candidate can meet the essential requirements of the academic program. Essential requirements, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those cognitive, physical, and behavioral abilities that are necessary for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum, including the professional attributes required by the faculty of all students for graduation. The following essential requirements have been developed in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (PL101-336) and the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
The ASU Clinical Laboratory Science curriculum requires essential abilities in information acquisition. The student must have the ability to master information disseminated in a variety of forms-- lectures, online, written and self-instructional materials, laboratory demonstrations and experiments, projected images, etc. - at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty.
The Clinical Laboratory Science curriculum requires students to perform delicate manipulations safely and accurately on patient specimens and instruments necessary for complete and valid diagnostic test results. The student must be able and willing to work with blood and body fluids which may be infectious, and be able to work carefully with a wide variety of chemical reagents. The students must be able to distinguish objects both macroscopically and microscopically characterizing color, odor, clarity, and viscosity of biological samples, reagents and chemical reactions. The students must have the visual acuity to discriminate among structural elements and fine lines in a minimal contrast setting.
The student must have sufficient upper body muscle coordination to practice safe specimen handling. The student must be able to perform moderately taxing and continuous physical work, which may require prolonged sitting and/or standing for several hours. The student must be able to lift and move objects, e.g., load individual tubes in an instrument and move test tube racks from one bench to another. The student must have the touch discrimination to discern veins and arteries in order to perform venipunctures. The student must have the manual dexterity to fill and dispense liquids using a bulb and calibrated pipette, streak agar plates for isolation, and dilute specimens accurately.
The student must possess the emotional stability needed to work accurately and safely under stress, e.g., work under time constraints, read and record numbers, perform repetitive tasks, concentrate in distracting situations, and make subjective evaluations and decisions, realizing that mistakes may have a high impact on patient care. The student must be able to adapt to changing work environments and be able to prioritize tasks.
The student must be able to communicate effectively in both verbal and written English in order to transmit information clearly and accurately to patients as well as members of the health care team. The appropriate communication at times will rely on the student’s ability to make a correct judgment in seeking supervisory assistance in a timely manner.
The student must possess attributes which include dependability, integrity, responsibility and tolerance. The student must show respect for self and others, work independently as well as with others, and project an image of professionalism.
Disability and Associated Risk
The student is advised that certain disabilities may limit employment opportunities. Further, immunocompromised individuals may put themselves at personal risk due to the presence of infectious agents in all areas of clinical laboratory science.
These technical standards identify the essential requirements of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program for admission, retention and graduation. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the student with disabilities to request those accommodations that he/she feels are reasonable and are needed to execute the essential requirements described. The CLS Program faculty will decide which accommodations can be provided without causing an undue burden.
Available Career Fields
The field of clinical laboratory sciences offers endless employment opportunities to students who have strong skills in the biological and chemical sciences and interest in playing an integral part in health care services.
Clinical laboratory scientists are academically prepared to perform a variety of analyses which aid the physician in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. More than 70% of medical decisions are made with the help of laboratory testing, so clinical laboratory scientists are very important members of the health care team.
Clinical laboratory scientists and technicians may work in a variety of specialized areas, including:
- Urinalysis - cellular and chemical analysis of urine and other body fluids
- Clinical chemistry - chemical and electrolyte analyses of blood and serum
- Hematology - the study of blood, bone marrow, and blood clotting
- Immunohematology - safe transfusion of blood and blood products
- Clinical microbiology - identification of disease-causing bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, and evaluating antibiotics for treatment effectiveness
- Immunology - evaluates antigen-antibody reactions for evidence of disease
Students will be pleased to know that graduates of ASU's CLS AAS enjoy job placement rates of 94% (3 year average, 2012-2015), particularly at hospitals and medical centers in Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri.