Partnership to address shortages in lab technicians

Online Staff Report

The Northwest Illinois Collaborative (NWIC), an organization composed of hospitals in the northwest Illinois region, and Weber State University are announcing a new program to help address critical shortages in medical laboratory technicians.

The program will allow employees at the five hospitals involved to take classes online to earn degrees from Weber State in medical laboratory science.

The NWIC includes Rockford Memorial Hospital and OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, FHN in Freeport, Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon and CGHMC in Sterling.

NWIC President Julie D. Mann, MBA, said: “According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12,400 graduates will be needed annually to staff the nation’s medical laboratories. However, on a national basis, less than half of the necessary laboratory personnel are graduating.

We are seeing these shortages become more critical within community health systems that are growing their outreach programs,” Mann added. “This collaboration provides our client laboratories with an opportunity to educate laboratory personnel, without taking them away from their work sites.”

Under this agreement, NWIC and WSU will partner to provide enhanced opportunities for NWIC client institutions to access web-based education in the field of medical technology to obtain medical laboratory science (MLS) bachelor’s and associate degrees online.

WSU, based in Ogden, Utah, has been recognized for its groundbreaking academic programs and was the first university to offer a complete MLS bachelor’s degree and Clinical Laboratory Scientist/Technician associate’s degree online. The program includes the study and performance of laboratory tests vital to the detection, differential diagnosis, treatment and study of diseases.

Key elements of the collaboration include the following:

A WSU application fee will apply to all applicants. However, the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences will waive the distance-learning program application fee for NWIC client institution applicants.

Applicants must provide evidence of referral from the human resource division of the sponsored participating institution to utilize the financial incentives. This information can be accessed at

Applicant must meet WSU’s and the department of Medical Laboratory Science’s acceptance criteria and will be ranked and selected in the same manner as other applicants.

WSU Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences on-campus and online programs are accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

Graduates are eligible to sit for the registry exam(s) AAS MLT degree and again after completing graduation with their BS MLS degree.

Online student learning at WSU is equal to or better than learning within a traditional classroom as verified with regular, comparative assessments.

Posted Dec. 4, 2013

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