The Medical Laboratory Technology program at Amarillo College has emerged from the painstaking accreditation process with a spotlessly clean bill of health.
The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) has formally recommended seven years of continuing accreditation—the maximum—for the AC program that produces most of the medical technicians who staff Amarillo-area hospitals.
The NAACLS is an international agency for accreditation and approval of educational programs in a number of clinical laboratory sciences, including medical laboratory technology (MLT). The NAACLS exit report, accepted by the governing board in September, was highly complementary of AC’s program and facilities.
“We received the maximum accreditation of seven years,” Jan Martin, director of the College’s MLT program, said. “It was not easy. We put in a lot of hard work leading up to the required site visit, but it was worth it. The result is most gratifying. The site visitors were impressed by our new facilities, program support by AC administration, our clinical faculty and our students.”
The road to NAACLS accreditation took AC’s MLT program almost two years to traverse, which is normal. It began with a yearlong compilation and submission of a document-laden self-study, and it concluded with an all-important site visit last spring by NAACLS volunteers from MLT programs outside Texas.
“They listed no deficiencies and offered no suggestions, which is ideal and actually rare,” Martin said. “It’s ideal not only for our program and our students, but for the thousands of patients our graduates serve in healthcare facilities throughout the Panhandle and beyond.
“It means we are preparing our students optimally for the important work they do. That means everything to us.”
Medical laboratory technicians perform various complicated hematological, chemical, immunological and microbiological tests on blood and body fluids. Laboratory test results provide approximately 80 percent of the information necessary for diagnoses made by doctors.
“Students who come into this program want to make a difference in the world,” Martin said. “They do it quietly because they work behind the scenes, yet they play a key role in the medical community and, therefore, in the world.
“They must focus on their work like a laser beam and be very detail oriented.”
AC accepts no more than 20 new students into the MLT program each year, so no more than 40 students populate the program at one time. This is due largely to NAACLS’s clinical requirements; each student must serve onsite practicum/clinical rotations at area healthcare facilities, and while AC has clinical affiliates throughout Amarillo and in Borger, Dalhart, Dimmitt and Dumas, opportunities nevertheless are limited.
While it is impossible to guarantee employment for graduates of the program, Martin says prospects are not only good at present, but a shortage of medical laboratory technicians looms nationwide as many longtime technicians approach retirement age.
For more information about the MLT program at AC, please contact Martin at 806-354-6059 or email@example.com