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Certificate in Clinical Microbiology for Medical Laboratory Science

The Medical Laboratory Science program in the UTHSC College of Health Professions, established in 1922, is the oldest in the country and has graduated over 2,000 health care professionals who are leaders in the field.

The Medical Laboratory Science program is fully accredited for the maximum accreditation length by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

Program Highlights

  • 1 year 22 credit hours certificate program in clinical microbiology
  • Ideal for students with a Bachelor of Science degree (Biology, Chemistry or Microbiology preferred)
  • Program courses are a combination of online, on-campus and clinical practicums performed in an accredited clinical laboratory
  • Graduates of our certificate program are eligible to take the Technologist in Microbiology exam offered by the ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) and would qualify for employment in microbiology laboratories upon passing. (Requirements for licensure vary by state).
  • Eligibility for licensure from the Tennessee Medical Laboratory Board requires passing the Technologist in Microbiology M(ASCP) exam AND 6 months of clinical microbiology experience.*


For admission to the Certificate in Clinical Microbiology for Medical Laboratory Science at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), students are expected to be able to successfully meet the Technical Standards outlined below. Students are required to sign the Technical Standards Commitment form indicating their understanding and ability to meet these standards either with or without accommodations (for persons with documented disabilities). Any questions about these technical standards should be directed to the program director of the MLS programs.

UTHSC receives applications from a diverse body of potential students including those with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided to help students meet these technical standards when appropriate, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any student wishing accommodations should contact the Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) for further information. Information regarding accommodations can be found on the SASSI website or by calling 901.448.5056.

In the event a student cannot fulfill these Technical Standards with or without reasonable accommodations at any time in their program, the student will be ineligible for admission or continued enrollment in the program. In addition to ensuring that students can meet the intellectual, emotion and physical criteria for medical laboratory science, it should also be noted that of utmost importance is the student's ability to provide for the welfare and safety of their patients and others. This is the foundation of all Technical Standards and if this cannot be done, the student is unable to meet the criteria outlined by the Technical Standards.

Once enrolled in the BS MLS or MS CLS Program, students must meet the requirements of the curriculum, including the demonstration of the skills described herein for the Program in order to progress through the curriculum and to graduate.

General Standards

The students must have the ability to:

  • Assess and make appropriate judgements regarding lab services and patient outcomes.
  • Prioritize and perform laboratory testing.
  • Adapt to a variety of patient care situations, including crisis.
  • Communicate effectively in English, orally and in writing.
  • Participate in discussion in the classroom, the clinical arena and with colleagues and patients.
  • Acquire information developed through didactic instruction and clinical experiences.
  • Comprehend reading assignments and to search and evaluate literature.
  • Prepare written assignments and maintain written records.
  • Perform duties and assignments in a timely fashion while under stress and in a variety of settings.
  • Meet deadlines and manage time.
  • Utilize the computer for instructional assignments and patient care activities.

Physical and Motor Skills

The student must possess:

  • Dexterity with both wrists, hands and arms, and dexterity with al fingers.
  • Motor skills to grasp, pinch, push, pull, finger, hold, extend, rotate, and cut.
  • Ability to obtain and/or verify patient samples.
  • Sufficient stamina to tolerate physically taxing workloads.
  • Ability to operate/manipulate and effectively evaluate the status of laboratory instruments and equipment.

Sensory Skills

The student must possess:

  • Visual acuity (corrected to 20/40); visual perception with respect to depth and color.

Cognitive, Integrative, Quantitative Skills

The student must possess the:

  • Ability to measure, calculate, analyze, interpret, synthesize and evaluate as applicable to clinical practice.
  • Ability to solve one or more problems within specific time frames, which are often short.
  • Ability to comprehend spatial relationships.

Affective, Behavioral and Social Skills

The student must be able to:

  • Function as part of a team (communicate effectively in English, consult, negotiate, share, delegate).
  • Delegate to and supervise others.
  • Adhere to safety guidelines for self and others.
  • Comply with standards and regulations required by external agencies.
  • Follow instructions/procedures with accuracy and precision.
  • Maintain intellectual and emotional stability and maturity under stress, while also maintaining appropriate performance standards.
  • Learn and exhibit professional attributes.
Affiliate Location
American Esoteric Laboratory Memphis, TN
Baptist Hospital Nashville, TN
Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation:
  1. Baptist Memphis Hospital
  2. Baptist Women’s Hospital
  3. Baptist Desoto
  4. Baptist Tipton
  5. Baptist Collierville
Memphis, TN Metro Area
Baptist Memorial Hospital Union City, TN
Centennial Medical Center Nashville, TN
Erlanger Baroness Campus Chattanooga, TN
Jackson Madison County General Hospital Jackson, TN
Maury Regional Healthcare System Columbia, TN
Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare System:
  1. Methodist University Hospital
  2. Methodist North
  3. Methodist Germantown
  4. LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center
Memphis, TN Metro Area
Middle Tennessee Medical Center Murfreesboro, TN
Regional Medical Center Memphis, TN
St. Francis Healthcare
St. Francis Hospital - Memphis
Memphis, TN Metro Area
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Memphis, TN
Veterans Affair Medical Center Memphis, TN

Graduates of programs in Medical Laboratory Science approved by (NAACLS) are eligible to take certification examinations given by several certifying agencies. Individuals certified by the Board of Certification of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) are recognized as professional Medical Laboratory Scientists by the designation MLS after their names. Those certified by American Medical Technologists are designated Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS).

A Tennessee state license is required to practice medical laboratory in Tennessee. In order to obtain a Tennessee state license, one must provide evidence of having passed a national certification examination.

To obtain more information on obtaining a Tennessee state license for medical laboratory science, write or call:

Tennessee State Department of Health
Medical Laboratory Board
227 French Landing, Suite 300 
Heritage Place MetroCenter 
Nashville, TN 37243 
Phone: 800.778.4123 

Graduates from this program would only qualify for employment in microbiology laboratories. Most students have multiple job offers when they graduate because there is a shortage of qualified medical laboratory scientists. Graduates of the UTHSC Medical Laboratory Science program have many choices when it comes to employment and postgraduate education. Career opportunities are numerous in:

  • Hospital and private laboratories
  • Forensic and research laboratories
  • Biotechnology industry
  • Public Health
  • Sales and lab product development
  • Management
  • Higher education
  • Pharmaceutical companies
Aug 21, 2023