First Students Graduate from Medical Lab Tech Degree Program
The three alumni are prepared to enter a high-demand field, thanks in part to clinical training at sites like Lower Bucks Hospital and St. Luke’s Quakertown
Bucks County Community College recently congratulated the first students to graduate from its Medical Laboratory Technician associate degree program.
Graduating in August with Associate of Applied Science degrees were Pinal Patel of Bensalem and Julie Jafarli of Doylestown, who completed clinical training at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol; and Ryan Weeks of Quakertown, who completed clinicals at St. Luke’s University Health Network Quakertown Campus.
Pinal Patel, Prof. Karen Gatewood, and Ryan Weeks (not pictured: Julie Jafarli)
Professor Karen Gatewood, who coordinates the MLT program at the community college, said after Coronavirus restrictions prevented one of the college’s clinical partners from accepting students, Lower Bucks Hospital stepped in to help, taking on an additional student when clinical training resumed in June.
The hospital, located in Bristol Township near the college’s Epstein Campus at Lower Bucks, was eager to be of assistance.
“It’s very important for Lower Bucks Hospital to step up and help students fill important roles like lab techs, who are needed to help our doctors determine the best care for our patients,” said Michael Motte, the hospital’s chief executive officer. “We are very grateful for our close relationship with Bucks County Community College and appreciate the connections we’ve made with Epstein Campus Dean Jim Sell, Health Sciences Dean Connie Corrigan, and Professor Karen Gatewood.”
Prof. Karen Gatewood, Ryan Weeks, and Pinal Patel (not pictured: Julie Jafarli)
Gatewood says the graduates are poised to step into high-demand jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% increase in demand for med-lab techs through 2026, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts a 22% increase in demand in the field over the next five years.
“As published documents attest, there is a current and future need for certified Medical Laboratory Technicians,” Gatewood said. “Bucks County Community College’s MLT program is dedicated to fulfilling this need by providing graduates who are competent and dedicated to their profession.”
The MLT occupational major is a two-year, 68-credit program that prepares the student to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology examination for credentialing and to seek immediate employment as a medical laboratory technician. To learn more, visit bucks.edu/healthsciences or contact Prof. Gatewood at email@example.com.