Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Medical Laboratory Technician?
  • Medical Laboratory Technicians perform routine clinical laboratory testing using analytical instruments to provide scientific data needed in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease.
How many students do you admit to your program each year?
  • We generally admit 24 students each fall based on a point system. See the advising guide.
How competitive is admission?
  • We usually receive about 32-36 applications for 24 spots in the program.
What is the cost of your program?
  • Tuition and fees are just over $100 per credit.
  • The total cost of the program is about $12,500 for tuition, fees, and other costs.
  • The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in MLT consists of 97 credits.
  • For more information on tuition payment, withdrawals and refund policies visit Tuition and Fees.
  • See program costs.
Can any of your prerequisites or program classes be substituted with other classes or work experience?
  • If you have taken classes that you think could be substituted for MLT program classes contact the admissions coordinator at healthca@pcc.edu. Most writing, math and other general education classes can be transferred from any regionally accredited college.
Is there any way to graduate from your program faster if I've been working in the field?
  • There is not; the program is 7 terms.
When does the program start, how long does it take and when do I get to graduate?
  • The program starts in the fall and graduation is expected at the end of the spring, seven terms later. Students progress as a cohort throughout the entire program.
What is the criteria for progression in the program?
  • MLT students must maintain a 2.00 grade point average for MLT courses each term, to maintain academic status in good standing. Failure to do so will result in the student being placed on Departmental Academic Probation. In this eventuality, the student will be required to complete a learning contract and achieve a 2.0 grade point average (for MLT courses) the following term in order to continue in the Program.
  • Additionally, MLT students are required to:
    • Participate in all phases of the Program.
    • Pass all core courses.
    • Achieve a grade of C or higher in each of the Clinical Practice courses (MLT 271-274). Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the program.
What are the practicum requirements?
  • During your program you will go through 5 different clinical rotations, assigned to you by the MLT program, for a total of over 750 hours. Before beginning practicum, students will be required to complete a criminal background check, ten-panel drug screen and provide proof of immunizations. There are costs associated with completing these requirements.
What is the completion rate for your program?
  • In the prior model, 91% or more students have successfully completed the 2nd half of the program. We do not yet have data for completion rates in our new program model.
What kind of certification am I eligible for with your program?
What is the employment rate for graduates from your program?
  • 91% or more of our graduates are working in their field within 9 months of graduation
  • See more information on the MLT home page.
How much will I make as a MLT
  • According to the OED, the average salary in the Portland metro area is $44,000/year.
Can I choose the Laboratory for my practicum experience?
  • No. Clinical site assignment is determined by the MLT Clinical Coordinator. The Clinical Coordinator inquires with every student clinical site preference, area of residence, main mode of transportation and other important factors for selection of clinical sites. The Clinical Coordinator makes every effort to accommodate student site requests. However, there is no guarantee that your request will be fulfilled.
I already work in a Laboratory. Can the hours I work be counted as practicum?
  • No. According to the MLT Program Policies, practicum hours cannot be paid. If you are currently working in a laboratory your practicum hours are required to be separate from your regular paid hours.
Am I required to purchase a uniform?
  • No. You will, however, be required to purchase one to three disposable lab coats. Disposable lab coats that meet MLT Department standards will be available at the PCC bookstore. Lab coats will be provided while at clinicals.
Is there a dress code?

Yes. The following is the currently approved dress code and appearance at clinicals:

  • Clothing
    • Clothing must be clean, in good repair and free of wrinkles, stains or discolorations.
    • Apparel must be coordinated, well fitting, and allow safe body mechanics.
    • Stockings or socks must be worn at all times. Bare legs or feet are not permitted.
    • The following attire is not allowed:
      • Denim jeans
      • Threadbare or faded clothing
      • Sweatshirts or sweat pants, shorts or T-shirts
      • Tight clothing, including leggings, tight T-shirts and spandex
      • Sheer fabrics
      • Revealing styles such as low necklines, short skirt lengths, exposed midriffs, exposed undergarments or high slit skirts
      • Articles of clothing or buttons which displays political messages or supports causes
  • Footwear
    • Shoes must be clean and in good repair; closed toe shoes are always required.
    • Athletic shoes may be worn if they are a solid color or have discreet trim.
    • Shoes with flexible soles and low heels are required for optimum body mechanics.
  • Jewelry
    • Jewelry should be kept to a minimum.
    • Jewelry must be appropriate and safe for the work environment (no dangling jewelry) and not pose a risk to the student, staff or patients.
    • Body piercing, except appropriately pierced ear lobes, must not be displayed or be visible while on duty.
    • Tattoos are not to be visible while a student is on duty.
  • Hygiene and Grooming
    • Students must be clean and free from strong odors, including perfumed fragrances and cigarette smoke odor.
    • Hair must not be extreme in style and color (i.e. be within the natural color range of blonde, browns, blacks, gray).
    • o Hair longer than shoulder-length must be secured from falling forward.
    • Hair, sideburns, mustaches and/or beards must be clean, neat and well-trimmed.
    • Fingernails must be clean and at a length no longer than ΒΌ inch. Artificial nails are not allowed in the work place.
    • Nail polish should be of a neutral color and must be in line with attire and not distracting from a professional appearance.
    • Make-up must be appropriate to the professional work environment and not extreme.
What are the rules and regulations governing personal and academic conduct, including behavior expectations for clinical experience?
  • MLT students on PCC campus or in clinical rotations at affiliated laboratories are expected to comply with the PCC Policy on Student Conduct and the Academic Integrity Policy. Both policies are presented in the Student Rights and Responsibilities PCC webpage.
What happens if while I am going through my practicum rotations, the clinical site decides to discontinue training students?
  • Most agreements between PCC and clinical affiliates have a termination clause stating that in case of termination by the clinical site, program completion of enrolled students should be guaranteed. Nevertheless, unexpected circumstances may occur when this is not possible. If a particular clinical site cannot continue to train a student due to unexpected or uncontrollable circumstances (such as unplanned low staffing, natural disaster, or other situation that prevents the site from continuing to provide training), the MLT department will immediately start to seek an alternate clinical site. The Clinical Lab Coordinator will attempt to secure another clinical site to allow the student to continue their training with as minimal disruption as possible. It may, in some cases, be necessary to delay graduation. If this should occur, a letter of understanding will be drafted and signed by the student and the MLT Program Director stating that the MLT department will give priority to the student affected and assign a clinical site to them in the following year.
What happens if while I am going through the program, the program is terminated?
  • PCC does not foresee such a drastic event, but to answer your concern, if PCC were to terminate the Program, it would only mandate so after the cohorts of students in progress were given the opportunity to reach their expected graduation dates.