Oregon’s only Clinical Lab Science Degree Program Graduates 48 new Practitioners this Saturday

by Ashley VanEssen | Dec 12, 2014
The Oregon Tech/OHSU program, known as one of strongest in nation, supplies state workforce.
Wilsonville, OR. – With an estimated 70% of all medical diagnoses resting on the analysis of lab work, Oregon Institute of Technology’s (Oregon Tech) Clinical Lab Science graduates are a critical factor in the health and well-being of Oregonians. This Saturday (Dec. 13), 48 new Clinical Lab Science graduates are entering Oregon’s workforce, with a stunning job placement rate of almost 100% in recent years, and usually about half of the graduates offered jobs before graduation. The 81-year old nationally accredited Clinical Lab Science program established by Oregon Health and Science University in 1933 is today a joint Oregon Tech/OHSU program now administered by Oregon Tech. It is the only 4-year degree program of its kind in the state and is the largest in the Pacific Northwest. 
 
A four-year Bachelor of Science program, Clinical Lab Science (CLS) prepares students with an intensive program that is heavy on biology and chemistry, labs that include analysis of real human samples on the latest equipment, and a 4-month, 40-hour a week externship at one of 51 medical facilities that partner with Oregon Tech, mostly in the state, but also in neighboring states as well. As a highly selective program, only 50 students are admitted each year, with 2-3 times that number applying for the degree program. Located at Oregon Tech’s Wilsonville campus just south of Portland, the program trains students in new labs built to spec so that students are learning in the same environments in which they will eventually work. With a low student:faculty ratio of 15:1, students get the attention they need from the five-member faculty, and attrition rates in the program are a less than 1%.
 
Cara Calvo, CLS Department Chair said, “All of us at Oregon Tech are so proud of our graduates as they have just made it through an incredibly tough degree program. I always tell my students that they may rarely meet the patients who they serve through their work as medical scientists, but that their work is truly saving lives across Oregon on a daily basis. As a public university, this is what we are here for: to serve Oregonians, and to improve their healthcare by graduating the best educated and trained medical laboratory scientists that we can. That’s how we do our job, and that’s what keeps us producing among the best graduates in the country.”
 
All CLS graduates also have to take their “Boards,” a comprehensive, nationally administered exam that tests students’ knowledge in a number of areas, including hematology and hemostasis; microbiology; clinical chemistry; transfusion medicine; urinalysis; immunology; and lab operations. Oregon Tech graduates have much higher average scores than are seen nationally, and have been awarded the top scores in the nation several times. Starting salaries for Oregon Tech CLS graduates are in the low-to-mid $50k range, and graduates of the program are in virtually every medical lab in the state of Oregon. 
 
Louise Osborne, who will be graduating tomorrow with the CLS Program Class of 2014 said, “When I decided to go back to school I wanted to enter a field that would enable me to be of service to others while also doing fascinating work that I enjoy. The CLS Program helped me to channel my love of biology and chemistry into working skills. It was incredibly fulfilling to put what I have learned to use during my clinical rotations, and to experience first-hand the positive impact that we as laboratorians can have on people’s lives. Studying Clinical Laboratory Science at Oregon Tech is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’m so excited to begin my career!”
 
Graduates of the CLS Class of 2014 are a diverse group, with about 60% women and 40% men, and include returning veterans, people who have changed careers, parents, students of color, first-generation students, and many who come into the program with a degree in another field already. Most graduates will work at some type of medical facility, whether at a hospital or clinic, at medical research labs or in a health-related industry, with 80-90% of them staying in Oregon to work.
 
 
 
About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the only public 4-year institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.
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