Medical Lab Technician Program

Medical Laboratory Technician (formerly Medical Laboratory Assistant)

The Medical Lab Technician (MLT) program actually started as the Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) program in 1967. The first program Chairperson was Margaret Rowe, CMLT. During the first year, she also taught the laboratory classes for the Medical Assistant Program. Andy Kondrath, CMLT, became the second faculty member in the program. He later resigned to start the MLT program at Iowa Central Community College. Theresa Friederich CMLT, then joined the faculty.

The goal of this four-quarter (one-year) diploma program was to prepare students to perform a wide variety of routine laboratory tests under the professional supervision of Medical Technologists. The first classes were held at Center One in West Des Moines; the first class graduated in the spring of 1968. The campus in Ankeny was completed in 1968, and the MLA program moved into its own classroom at that time. For many years classes began in both the fall and spring terms, but in 1988, when enrollment dropped, the MLA program went to a once-a-year start time.

In 1973 the Medical Lab Technician (MLT) program started under the direction of Margaret Rowe. The program has had two other Program Chairs: Jeannette Daehler, BS, MT (ASCP) from 1990-1999 and Karen Campbell, MAT, MT(ASCP) from 1999-present. This two-year program built on the Medical Assistant diploma program. It provides additional technical education that qualifies the graduate to perform complex laboratory procedures with a limited amount of supervision. The MLT program includes a 23-week hospital laboratory assignment/clinical rotation. Graduates are awarded an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree from the College, and are eligible to take national certification exams.

Currently, the program begins in the fall semester, and students graduate 22 months later (mid-June). The program accepts 24 students but has accepted more due to continued high attrition rates.

The delivery of the clinical laboratory science instruction to MLT students is accomplished through didactic instruction, college-based laboratory exercises, and practical experience at clinical sites. Classes are offered on-site; and since 2005, DMACC has also offered all the MLT classes in a Web-blended format in an effort to reach out to areas of the state not served by an MLT program. There was a brief period from 2005-2010, where Indian Hills Community College (IHCC) in Ottumwa was an academic affiliate of the DMACC MLT program. Students were able to take the first year of the program through IHCC, then transfer to DMACC to complete their MLT degree.

DMACC MLT students have received scholarships and awards from state and national medical laboratory organizations. A DMACC MLT student has received the MLT Student of the Year award from the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science-IA chapter (ASCLS-IA) for the past five years. In addition, job placement for MLT graduates in the past 15 years has been almost 100 percent.

It should be noted that Charlene Stewart, MLT (AMT), served as a Laboratory Assistant for both the MLT and Phlebotomy programs at DMACC for over 20 years. She was instrumental in many of the program changes, as well as in training hundreds of laboratory students. After her death in 2011, a scholarship for MLT students was set up through the DMACC Foundation in her name.

The DMACC MLT Program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018,,