Penn State Lewistown Center to launch medical lab technology degree

January 11, 2012

Two-year program will prepare central Pennsylvanians for jobs in a rapidly growing health care employment sector

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Demand for medical and clinical laboratory technicians — the professionals who help detect, diagnose and treat disease — is outpacing supply because of increased medical testing and retirements in the profession. As a result, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment will grow 16 percent through 2018 in this field. To help meet this demand in central Pennsylvania, the Penn State Lewistown Center is launching a two-year medical laboratory technology (MLT) program in fall 2012.

"We're committed to helping Lewistown Center graduates find employment," said Lewistown Learning Center Director Tom Walker. "Medical laboratory technology is a wonderful health career. Having training available close to home will help central Pennsylvanians prepare for jobs in a field with ample employment opportunities."

The Lewistown Learning Center is partnering with the Lewistown Hospital on the MLT degree. Kay Hamilton, president/chief executive officer of Lewistown Hospital, said, "The medical laboratory technology program is very important, because there is no program in our immediate region that meets this need. The program will help organizations like the Lewistown Hospital maintain well-qualified staff to help care for people."

Information about the MLT degree and other health care program opportunities will be available during an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at the Penn State Lewistown Center. Call Sue Shank at 717-248-9618 to register to attend.

Medical lab technicians are members of a medical team focused on diagnosis and treatment of disease or injury and promoting the well-being of patients.

The Lewistown Learning Center is collaborating with Penn State Hazleton, which has offered the MLT program since 1979, to bring the program to central Pennsylvania. Courses will be delivered through the Penn State Video Learning Network, and lab sessions will be held at the Lewistown Center's Health and Science Lab. The MLT program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

"A significant component of the MLT program is the 600-plus hours students spend in clinical skills training at medical sites," said Kirk A. Gilbert, science coordinator and rural health educator at Lewistown Center. He heads the Health and Science Lab and is handling arrangements for the clinical training sites.

Sharon Burdick knows all about clinical skills training. A medical technologist at Lewistown Hospital since 2001, she enjoys "working hand-in-hand with a team — like a CSI investigation — behind the scenes to come up with a solution to help a patient."

Class size is limited for the medical laboratory technology program. For information, attend the Jan. 30 open house, visit online, or call the Penn State Lewistown Center at 717-248-9618 to make an appointment with an academic counselor.

Penn State Lewistown Center is part of Penn State Continuing Education, which offers a venue for adults to return to the classroom. Continuing Education reaches more than 34,000 adult learners annually at Penn State campuses statewide. Continuing Education is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 115 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated January 18, 2012