Virginia Western Community College announces the launch of a Medical Laboratory Technology program in the Fall Semester 2015. The program will fill a growing need in the Roanoke Region’s thriving healthcare industry and provide students opportunities to begin strong careers in the medical field.

The application period is now open for Medical Laboratory Technology, which will lead to students earning an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science. Coursework will take place on Virginia Western’s campus while clinical labs will be held at Carilion Clinic and Lewis-Gale Medical Center. Based upon clinical sites, it is anticipated the first class will consist of 20 students. For information on how to apply, students are encouraged to call: (540) 857-7306.

“Our partners in healthcare have related the need for well-trained medical laboratory technicians and we are thrilled this program to fill that need,” said Dr. Elizabeth Wilmer, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “It will also provide students a chance to start in the medical field with salaries upwards of $40,000 per year, or to continue on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree and become Medical Laboratory Scientists.”

MLTs typically work in hospital clinical laboratories or private clinical laboratories and perform complex lab testing that allows physicians and other healthcare workers to properly diagnose and monitor patient diseases. Clinical lab personnel also play a role in monitoring drug therapy, and finding the cause of chemical poisoning. The clinical lab consists of four main components: hematology, clinical chemistry, transfusion medicine and clinical microbiology/virology/parasitology. Personnel may choose to work in one area, or can rotate through each area.

“As part of Virginia Western’s MLT program, our students can also obtain a Career Studies Certificate in Biotechnology,” said Carole Graham, Dean of Health Professions. “This will give them a leg up in the job market and the expertise to be proficient in whatever clinical setting is the best fit.”

The MLT program is particularly suited to students with a strong science background. Graduates will perform an integral role in a healthcare team and help with the diagnosis of disease.

“I often hear from people who are interested in healthcare, but are not inclined to enjoy close patient contact,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gillette, MLT Program Head. “MLT presents an opportunity for these people to help others while working in a laboratory setting.”

In addition to MLT, Virginia Western offers a wide array of health professions programs from Dental Hygiene to Nursing to Radiation Oncology. For a complete program listing, visit: http://www.virginiawestern.edu/academics/health/programs.php.