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Oregon Tech-OHSU Program Graduates 42 Practitioners from State’s Only Medical Lab Science Baccalaureate Program

Dec 16, 2019
MLS is a highly competitive program, admitting only 50 students a year. The 86-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

Miriam Sanchez-RamirezWILSONVILLE, Ore.42 new Medical Lab Science graduates entered the region’s workforce after graduating Saturday from a rigorous bachelor’s degree program at Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The MLS program has a stunning job placement rate of nearly 100 percent within three to six months of graduation. Many graduates are offered immediate positions from their externship sites.

Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) is a health profession that provides laboratory information and services needed for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The 86-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. Graduates of the program currently earn average starting salaries of $57,000 and are in professional positions at virtually every medical lab in Oregon, and with many working in nearby states.

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 more than 60 medical facilities that partner with Oregon Tech, this year in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii.

John Songponnopachon and Doug MolzahnDoug Molzahn, who graduated this weekend said: “As a college athlete, I hoped to obtain a degree in health care while continuing to play baseball. When I learned of the early admission route into the MLS program at Oregon Tech, I knew I had found a fit that would allow me to follow both of my passions. The 15-month program in Wilsonville solidified my decision of choosing a degree in laboratory science. The friendships made and excellent hands-on instruction have made this experience something that I will take with me after graduation. With determination, commitment and desire you can achieve a degree that sets you up for a lifelong career that is in high demand.” Doug played competitively for Oregon Tech’s baseball team at the Klamath Falls campus while completing his prerequisites for MLS before transferring to the Portland-Metro campus.

MLS is a highly competitive program, admitting only 50 students a year. 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 2 percent.

All MLS graduates must pass a comprehensive, nationally administered exam that tests students’ knowledge in a number of areas. Oregon Tech graduates have much higher average scores than are seen nationally. 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; as specialists in areas such as microbiology, hematology, molecular biology/DNA, immunology, stem cell/bone marrow labs; or as quality management specialists in hospitals or industry operations such as pharmaceuticals. A number of students have already been offered jobs at employers such Bay Area Hospital, Providence Health & Services, Samaritan Health Services, Salem Hospital and Vancouver Clinic.

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