Senior Jonathan Flasher, ’14, works alongside Fredonia alumna Courtney (Jose) Russell, ’09, in the microbiology laboratory at WCA Hospital in Jamestown. Jonathan and two other Fredonia students are enrolled in the hospital’s 11-month School of Medical Technology “preceptorship” in laboratory science.
The Medical Technology program at SUNY Fredonia has been approved as “licensure eligible” by the New York State Education Department, insuring that its graduates will continue to find employment in this high-growth, well-paying field. With that designation, SUNY Fredonia students earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology may be employed by hospital and clinical laboratories. The state now requires medical technologists employed in hospital and clinical laboratories to be licensed by the state education department, explained SUNY Fredonia Department of Biology Chair Patricia Astry, director of its Medical Technology program.
As of Sept. 1, all state medical technology programs needed to be certified as “licensure eligible,” indicating the program has been approved to prepare students for licensure in medical technology.
SUNY Fredonia’s Medical Technology program – already approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences and the American Medical Association Council on Health Education – became “licensure eligible” after the lengthy application process was completed last summer.
To be considered, universities had to demonstrate their Medical Technology programs were meeting a series of expectations established by the state education department. Criteria included lecture content and lab techniques, college catalog information, student handbooks from affiliated hospital programs, syllabi from the college and hospital affiliates, and educational backgrounds of SUNY Fredonia faculty and hospital affiliate instructors. SUNY Fredonia’s application also had to be approved by SUNY Central Administration.
SUNY Fredonia has contracted agreements with WCA Hospital in Jamestown; Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, N.Y.; and Saint Vincent Health Center in Erie, Pa. Students enrolled in the program study three years at Fredonia and one year in an accredited clinical hospital program.
Approximately 40 students are presently enrolled in the Medical Technology program, which graduates roughly 10 students each year.
Recent graduates have obtained employment as clinical laboratory scientists in hospital laboratories, biomedical research facilities, forensic laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry, and as sales representatives for pharmaceutical, medical instrumentation and computer corporations.
Job prospects for Medical Technology graduates are very attractive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of clinical laboratory scientists will rise 14% through 2016, while the Jobs Rated Almanac forecasts a 25% increase in jobs and good job security. Shortages exist in many parts of the country. The median annual salary in 2010 was about $56,000.
The new licensure eligible requirement was actually enacted several years ago. Recent graduates of Medical Technology programs — already operating under the same general state approval required of all programs, along with approval from the NAACLS — were allowed to take the test leading to licensure. In the interim, universities were given time to make adjustments to their programs, if needed, to meet licensure eligibility standards.
“In our case, we were already doing everything necessary,” Astry said. “It was just a matter of gathering the extensive amount of paper work and getting approval through SUNY Central and the N.Y.S. Education Department.”