Chattahoochee Technical College graduates from the college’s Clinical Laboratory Technology program are factoring into the fight against the coronavirus COVID-19.
“We currently have graduates who are working in Cobb and Cherokee County hospital clinical laboratories as part of the teams testing for the COVID-19 virus,” said Robin Aiken, who has served for the past eight years as program director for the Chattahoochee Tech Clinical Laboratory Technology program. Students in this program gain the skills necessary to become clinical laboratory technicians, and then function as a vital part of community health care teams.
Clinical laboratory technicians share results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians. “They study blood samples to identify the types and number of cells, and their morphology characteristics to aid in diagnosing disease. They also analyze body fluids such as blood, urine, and tissue samples to determine normal or abnormal findings,” said Aiken. “This job requires that they operate sophisticated laboratory equipment such as microscopes, cell counters and chemistry analyzers. They use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time.”
The job prospects are very good for clinical laboratory technicians. “There is a critical shortage of qualified laboratory professionals in the field,” said Aiken. “For the past five years, Chattahoochee Tech has had a 100 percent employment rate for our graduating students in this program. The typical annual salary for clinical laboratory technicians ranges from $45,760 to $54,080.”
“Most of our students find employment in hospital laboratories, but they can work in a variety of lab settings,” said Aiken. These lab settings include public health laboratories, blood bank centers, physician office laboratories, research centers, and forensic laboratories. “I take joy in watching our CLT students become vital members of our community health care teams as they save lives through technology,” said Aiken.
There currently are 12 Chattahoochee Tech students in their first year of studies in the college’s Clinical Laboratory Technology program, along with seven students in the program’s second year of clinical practicums at local hospital laboratories. Upon graduation, students will receive an Associate of Applied Science degree, and will be eligible to sit for the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) national certification exam for medical laboratory professionals.
The Chattahoochee Tech Clinical Laboratory Technology program has a five-year, 100 percent pass rate on the national certification exam for program graduates. In additional program news, the Review Committee for Accredited Programs (RCAP) recommended this month to the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) that accreditation for the Chattahoochee Tech Clinical Laboratory Technology program continue through 2030.