Accredited Medical Laboratory Sciences Programs
The laboratory programs at Hennepin Healthcare are conducted under the guidelines of the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS, 5600 N. River Road, Rosemont, IL 60018; phone 773-714-8880). NAACLS is an international agency for accreditation and approval of educational programs in the medical laboratory sciences and related health professions.
About Our Programs
Our Laboratory Programs
The Medical Laboratory Science Program accepts students from affiliated universities' MLS programs. Interns spend approximately 9 months in our clinical laboratory training school, completing classroom and hands-on clinical laboratory bench training. Interns who complete our program earn a certificate and use the credits earned here to fulfill the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in MLS at their home university.
The Phlebotomy Technician Program accepts students for a 12-week certificate program including lecture and practical training. Enrollment at an affiliated school or university is unnecessary for the Phlebotomy Technician Program.
Both programs are licensed by the Minnesota State Office of Higher Education (1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55108, 651-259-3976) and accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS). The MLS Program received a 10-year accreditation award in 2017. The Phlebotomy Technician program received a 5-year accreditation award in 2022.
Programs must meet or exceed national benchmarks related to outcomes for students to receive accreditation/approval by NAACLS. Both programs far exceed the national standards in the identified areas. Outcome measures for the MLS and Phlebotomy Technician programs over the past 3 years are as follows:
Hennepin Healthcare Medical Laboratory Science Program
The Medical Laboratory Science program measures exceed the national benchmarks established by NAACLS of 70% for Graduation and Placement rates and 75% for the Board of Certification exam pass rates.
Hennepin Healthcare Phlebotomy Technician Program
The Phlebotomy Technician program measures exceed the national benchmarks established by NAACLS of 70% for Graduation and Placement rates and 75% for the Board of Certification exam pass rate over the past 3 years.
Medical Laboratory Scientists work behind the scenes to perform testing and provide results to physicians that aid in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. It has been estimated that 70% of the objective data used by clinicians to treat their patients come from the lab. It takes a dedicated team of well-qualified professionals to provide that data in an accurate and timely manner. The demand for certified Medical Lab Scientists to do this work has never been higher. This makes it an exciting time to enter the clinical laboratory profession!
The Hennepin Healthcare Medical Laboratory Science Program is a nine-month clinical internship with intensive study in chemistry (including toxicology and instrumentation), coagulation, hematology, immunohematology (blood bank), immunology, microbiology (including parasitology, mycology, mycobacteriology, and virology), urinalysis, management, and education. Most areas of instruction include plenty of hands-on, practical laboratory experiences that take place here in the HCMC laboratory. In addition to lectures and/or workshops, self-instructional learning modules, patient case studies, and exams are a part of the curriculum in all content areas.
Students receive individualized instruction as they learn and work with teaching scientists in the laboratory. Students perform tests on patient blood and body fluid specimens and, under supervision, report results. General hours for the internship are 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. One to two weeks of evening-shift experience, from 3 p.m. -11 p.m., is provided. Students are offered enrichment activities that help introduce them to the wider hospital beyond the lab. Clinical enrollment is limited to a maximum of 8 students per year, with 4 beginning their rotations in the fall and 4 more beginning their rotations in the spring. An academic calendar can be found in the School of Laboratory Medicine policy manual located in the About Our Programs tab.
Upon completion of the program, graduates receive a certificate of completion. Graduates are then eligible to take the national MLS Board of Certification Exam through the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Graduation is not contingent on passing a certification examination.
Prospective MLS students now have more flexibility with options for either a fall semester start or a spring semester start! Application deadlines for both fall and spring class start dates are October 15 of the previous school year.
Applications for admission to the MLS program are completed online through Clinician Nexus. Find instructions for getting the process started.
Round 1 applications should be completed by students interested in either the August start date or the January start date. Round 2 applications may be available, but there is no guarantee.
- Round 1 application deadline – October 15
- (If Available) Round 2 application deadline – March 15
Contact the HCMC Program Director to find out if the second round of applications is being accepted before completing the application process.
The following must be completed by October 15 to be considered for admission to the HCMC Medical Laboratory Science Program:
Review the full application instructions in Clinician Nexus. Within the Clinician Nexus:
- Fill out all fields of the application
- Review the technical standards
- Upload a fully signed signature page
- Upload a biographical sketch
- Provide recommendation forms to the two references below
- A Program Director recommendation form completed by the affiliated university’s MLS/CLS/MT program director.
- A Science Professors recommendation form completed by a recent instructor with knowledge of your performance in a recent science classroom and lab.
- Completed recommendations should be sent directly from your chosen references to Lynn Poth
- Request Official transcripts from all universities and/or colleges attended. Students must have a cumulative science GPA of 2.6 or higher to be eligible for the program. Official transcripts should be sent directly from the college to Lynn Poth.
Completeness of application packet: The ability to follow detailed directions correctly and completely is an essential characteristic when determining suitability for the laboratory science profession. A complete application is a requirement for admission and students with incomplete applications will not be considered for an interview.
Hennepin Healthcare Tours:
Tours are required as part of the application process. All tours must be completed by Oct 1 and may be provided either in person or via a virtual tour.
- You are encouraged to participate in the group prospective student tour that will be hosted at HCMC on MAY 11, 2023 from 9-12 where you can speak with faculty and current students as well as see our labs.
- Individual prospective student tours will also be held throughout the summer and fall until October 1.
- The virtual tour option will also be made available during 2023 for students who are not able to attend in person.
- Tours must be completed no more than 2 years before the application is submitted.
- Please contact the Program Director for scheduling.
Affiliated University Programs for Medical Laboratory Science
*New affiliation agreements pending
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Mankato, MN 56001
Acting Program Director: Penny Knoblich, DVM, PhD
St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, MN 56301
Program Director: Louise Millis MS, MLS(ASCP)CM
University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse
La Crosse, WI 54601
Program Director: Michael A. Lazzari, DHEd, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM
Winona State University
Winona, MN 55987
Program Director: Peter Knopick, PhD, MLS(ASCP)CM
Michigan Technological University
Houghton, MI 49931
Program Director: Claire Danielson, MS, MLS(ASCP)CM
MLS Program Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the options for start dates for the HHS MLS program?
Prospective interns can indicate a preference to start the program either during the last week of August or the second week of January each year. Interns entering the program in August will graduate in late May and those entering the program in January will graduate in early October.
- How many MLS students are accepted at each of the program start dates?
Four interns are accepted for each program start date. Each group of interns will complete most of one term as a small group of 4. The rest of their time here will be spent in a larger group of 8 students as both fall and spring start interns will be on-site together. This provides new students with the opportunity for both small group interactions with staff and to interact with and learn from the “upperclassmen” who are finishing the program.
- Can I apply if I have already completed my Bachelor's degree?
Students who have graduated from one of our affiliated universities and completed or can complete the MLS pre-requisite requirements before program entry are eligible to apply as 4+1 students. Most of the students we admit need their senior year of coursework (3+1 students). They are formally enrolled in the MLS program one of the affiliated universities throughout their internship at Hennepin Healthcare. Coursework completed at HHS counts toward credits at their home university.
- When should I apply?
One round of applications will be accepted in the fall of the year before the program's next fall start date. For example, Students who wish to enroll in the program during August 2023 or January 2024 should apply during the fall, 2022 application cycle. Applications are due by October 15 of each year. A second round of applications may be accepted during the spring semester. If a second round of applications will be accepted in the spring, affiliated university MLS Program Directors will be notified. The due date for second round applications (if accepted) would be March 15 of that year.
To qualify for entrance into HCMC's Medical Laboratory Science Program, the following classes or their equivalents are required:
- Biological Sciences: A minimum of 16 semester credits is required with a minimum of 3 credits in each required course. The required courses are immunology, microbiology or medical/pathogenic micro with a lab, anatomy/physiology, genetics, or molecular biology. Recommended courses include an introduction to medical laboratory science, mycology, parasitology, and virology.
- Chemistry: A minimum of 16 semester credits is required. The required courses are general chemistry and organic or biochemistry. Recommended courses include analytical chemistry and instrumentation.
- Mathematics: Statistics is required, either as a separate course or included in a relevant course (e.g. biostatistics or analytical chemistry). Calculus is highly recommended.
- Required pre-clinical courses: Hematology with lab experience, immunohematology/Blood Bank with lab experience, and urinalysis with lab experience. Introduction to clinical chemistry is highly recommended
- Suggested electives: physics, computer science, education courses, business administration, and medical terminology.
Incoming interns must:
- Complete the pre-requisite courses at an affiliated university with letter grades of C or better in each course.
- Complete a Minnesota Department of Human Services background study (as required by Minnesota state law) and receive clearance for direct patient contact.
- Attest that they are able to satisfy the Technical Standards for the Medical Laboratory Science program at Hennepin Healthcare based on existing skills and abilities, or through the use of corrective devices.
- Complete the HCMC pre-clinical competency objectives for each major laboratory area. Students demonstrate their readiness for the program through responses to each of the stated objectives. The responses will be evaluated for completeness by the Hennepin Healthcare education faculty. Feedback will be provided to both students and their affiliated universities to plan for improvements in the university curriculum.Updated Pre-Clinical competency objectives, along with instructions on their completion, will be provided to accepted students a few months before the program start date. Further instructions on their completion will be provided at that time.
Explore our new and updated program where you can learn phlebotomy and become qualified for employment within 6 weeks.
Certified phlebotomists are in high demand throughout the Twin Cities metro area and beyond. The job title for people who spend a significant amount of their work hours collecting blood specimens varies in different organizations and can include things like Phlebotomy Technician, Laboratory Assistant, or Laboratory Care Technician. Whatever the title, phlebotomists are skilled professionals who play a vital role in health care delivery.
Many people who enter the phlebotomy profession turn it into a long-term career helping others. Others use phlebotomy as a stepping stone to help them enter or advance their career in another healthcare field. Either way, phlebotomy is a great way to get into healthcare and gain experience working with patients.
Hennepin Healthcare Phlebotomy Technician graduates are trained first and foremost in collecting blood samples. They have the advantage of a built-in clinical site where a substantial amount of experience can be gained.
About the Phlebotomy Program
The Phlebotomy Technician program at Hennepin Healthcare is a six-week, hands-on program that trains students to collect blood from a variety of patients in different settings. The training combines hands-on practice with online learning modules, classroom lectures, and workshops. In addition to basic blood collection, topics such as medical terminology, quality assurance, legal concerns around blood collection, safety, and infection control, specimen processing, point of care testing, anatomy and physiology of the circulatory system, and arterial puncture are covered. Students are introduced to the healthcare environment where they interact with other healthcare professionals.
Students use Hennepin Healthcare equipment in their training. They begin with artificial practice blocks in a workshop setting and progress to clinical areas where they learn the skills they need directly from experienced phlebotomists. Throughout the training process, patient interaction and providing an excellent outcome and experience for our patients and their families is a top priority.
The course is offered several times each year with tentative start dates in January, April, and October. Students attend training from Monday through Friday with an alternating schedule. After 1 week of orientation, students are split into 2 groups. One group begins training in the clinic setting pm with a start time of 8:30 am. The second group begins training in the hospital setting at HCMC with start times between 4-6 am. Halfway through the program, the groups will switch places to finish out their experience.
Monday through Friday, students are scheduled to spend the first 4 hours of their day practicing blood collection with our experienced phlebotomy trainers. The final 4 hours of each day vary and include activities like self-paced completion of online training modules for the week’s unit of study, in-person workshop over the week’s unit, or additional hours of phlebotomy practice,
Applications are due approximately 2 months before each of the potential term start dates. The dates are November 15 – January class start, February 15 – April start, and August 15 – October class start.
Download the Phlebotomy Application Form (PDF).
Once applications have been received, they will be reviewed by the education team. Eligible applicants with complete applications will be invited to an interview. Following the interview process, students will be offered seats in the program.
- At least two letters of recommendation from an academic instructor, volunteer coordinator, or employer mailed directly to the Program Director or delivered to the Program Director by the applicant in a sealed envelope.
- A complete application form including all signatures.
- A biographical sketch describing a little about yourself and your interest in phlebotomy training.
- Official transcripts from the last college attended or if no college work has been completed, from the high school showing graduation.
Phlebotomy Technician Program Frequently Asked Questions
- When do Hennepin Healthcare Phlebotomy Technician program classes begin and end?
Classes begin in January, April, and October of each year. They end 6 weeks after the start date.
- How many Phlebotomy students are accepted in each class?
Between 2 and 4 students are accepted for each class. Keeping the classes small lets us provide more one one-on-one attention to students and maximize access to practice time and resources.
- Can I transfer college credits into the program when I enroll?
College credits are not accepted into the HHS Phlebotomy Technician program. No reduced training is available for students with prior training or credits. They must complete the full program to earn their certificate and be eligible for the ASCP Board of Certification PBT exam.
- What kind of records will I need to provide to be accepted?
Students need to provide official college transcripts. If no college work has been completed, high school graduation records or GED completion records should be provided.
Official means that they come directly from the college or high school to the Hennepin Healthcare Program Director or are provided in an envelope sealed by the college or high school. Documentation of vaccinations or immune status for diseases including Rubeola (childhood measles), Rubella (German measles), Varicella zoster (chickenpox), and COVID-19 are required. Students will need to complete a criminal background study with the MN Department of Human Services that shows they are eligible to work with patients in a hospital setting.
What is the deadline for my application?
The application deadline for each class start is approximately 2 months before it begins. For the January class start, applications and all application materials should be received by November 15, for the April class start, by February 15, and for the October class start, by August 15.
- Is tuition charged for the program?
Tuition is $1600.00 plus approximately $80.00 for the textbook. This can be paid in 2 installments with $880.00 due by the first day of class and the final $800.00 payment due by week 4 of the program.
To qualify for entrance into Hennepin Healthcare's Phlebotomy Technician Program at HCMC, the following is required:
- High school graduation or equivalent; college courses and related healthcare experience are not required but preferred (official transcripts required).
- Students with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (on their most recent transcript) will be considered first.
- Fluency in English (verbal and written).
- Flexibility to attend training activities Monday through Friday for 4 hours each morning followed by 4 hours of self-paced learning, in-person class, or phlebotomy training as scheduled.
- A student must be able to satisfy the Technical Standards based on existing skills and abilities or through the use of corrective devices. A copy of the Technical Standards is included with the application form.
- At least 18 years of age or older.
About Our Facility
The HCMC Laboratories provide comprehensive laboratory services in Clinical and Anatomic Pathology. The state-of-the-art laboratories are staffed by more than 180 FTEs, plus 10 medical staff members (pathologists/PhDs), who perform and analyze more than 3 million lab tests per year. The central lab supports several ancillary labs (off-site and on-site clinics and point-of-care settings), offering students outstanding educational environments in both large and small laboratory settings.