The MLS program has a stunning job placement rate of 95 percent within six months of graduation, with many graduates offered immediate positions from their externship sites.
This Saturday, Dec. 16, 47 new Medical Lab Science (MLS) graduates will enter the region’s workforce after graduating from a rigorous bachelor’s degree program at Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) and OHSU. The MLS program has a stunning job placement rate of 95 percent within six months of graduation, with many graduates offered immediate positions from their externship sites.
Medical Laboratory Science is a health profession that provides laboratory information and services needed for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The 84-year-old nationally accredited MLS program was established by OHSU in 1933, and today is a joint Oregon Tech-OHSU program administered by Oregon Tech. It is the only four-year degree program of its kind in the state and the largest in the Pacific Northwest, with its graduates earning starting salaries of $57,000 and in positions in virtually every medical lab in Oregon.
The MLS degree is a four-year Bachelor of Science program that prepares students with an intensive curriculum, strong in biology and chemistry emphases; labs that include analysis of human samples on the latest equipment; and a four-month, 40-hour-a-week externship at one of 50 medical facilities that partner with Oregon Tech, mostly in Oregon, but in neighboring states as well.
MLS is a highly competitive program, admitting only 50 students a year, with two times that number applying for the degree program. Located at Oregon Tech’s Portland-Metro campus in the city of Wilsonville, the program trains students in labs built to spec, so students are learning in the same environments in which they will eventually work. With a low student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, students get the attention they need from the program’s faculty. Attrition rates in the program are less than 1 percent.
Zaina Zaidan, who will be graduating summa cum laude this weekend said: “Even though I have always known that my career aspirations were related to the medical field, Medical Laboratory Science was the perfect blend between the laboratory and my passion to be an outstanding member of the medical field. Majoring in MLS at Oregon Tech was the absolute perfect match for my career goals and aspirations. I have nothing but the utmost gratitude for my instructors’ guidance and support throughout my program, and I could not have completed this stage of my life without my parents, family and friends’ unconditional love and encouragement.”
Graduates of the MLS Class of 2017 are a diverse group. About 70 percent are women, ages range from 22 to 52 and older, and the average GPA is an impressive 3.72. All MLS graduates must pass a comprehensive, nationally administered exam that tests students’ knowledge in a number of areas. Graduates have much higher average scores than are seen nationally, and have received the top scores in the nation a number of times. MLS graduates have a wide field of employment from which to choose and can be found working as medical laboratory generalists in hospitals, clinics or commercial laboratories; specialists in areas such as microbiology, hematology, molecular biology/DNA, immunology, stem cell/bone marrow labs; or quality management specialists in hospitals or industry operations such as pharmaceuticals. A number of students have already been offered jobs at employers such as Kaiser Permanente, Providence Health & Services, OHSU, PeaceHealth, Salem Clinic, Samaritan Health Services, Sky Lakes Medical Center and Veterans Affairs.
Cum laude graduate Jennifer McKown shared: “Oregon Tech’s MLS program and inspiring staff are dedicated to their students to achieve their goals with compassion and sincerity - shaping us into becoming the best we can be; heartening our passions and personal drive to learn, do and see so much more. The ability to be a part of the medical field where I can contribute to something bigger than me will be wholly fulfilling."
About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the premier public polytechnic institution in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in engineering, health technologies, business, technology, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public and international communities through applied, relevant learning and professional practice. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls; an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville; an Online campus; and offers degrees at Boeing Seattle and at other sites. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.
OHSU is the only academic health center in Oregon and is nationally distinguished as a research university dedicated solely to advancing health sciences. This singular purpose allows us to focus on discoveries that prevent and cure disease, on education that prepares physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals for the evolving health care environment, and on patient care that incorporates the latest advances. Based in Portland, we are one of Oregon’s largest employers, operate the top-ranked adult and children’s hospitals in the state, and secure competitive research funding of more than $400 million. As a public organization, we also provide services for the most vulnerable Oregonians and outreach to improve health in communities across the state.