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In the United States, a two year academic program (associate's degree) qualifies the graduate to work as a medical laboratory technician (MLT). MLTs receive training more exclusively in laboratory sciences without the basic science coursework often required by MLS programs; however, there are many MLT training programs that require substantial basic didactic science course work prior to entry into a clinical practicum. Although the didactic coursework may be less for the MLT, the clinical practicum, in many cases, is similar to that of the MLS student's. This equates to MLTs who are well equipped to enter the work force with relevant and knowledge based practical application. The shorter training time may be attractive to many students, but there are disadvantages to this route. MTs, MLSs and CLSs usually earn higher salaries and have more responsibilities than MLTs. In 2018, medical laboratory technicians earned an average salary of $51,219, while medical laboratory scientists earned a salary of $67,888. An added disadvantage for MLTs is that some institutions will only employ MLSs, although that practice is starting to change due to recent efforts in cost reduction, and due to staffing shortages.
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