Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science
Frequently Asked Questions
What coursework must be completed before applying?
Applicants should be within 1-2 semesters of completing pre-requisite coursework before applying. Courses in progress can be listed on the application form and must be completed prior to enrollment. The following pre-requisite coursework is necessary before enrolling: 16 semester hours of biology, including one course in microbiology (pathogenic microbiology is strongly recommended) and one course in immunology, 16 semester hours of chemistry, including one course in either biochemistry or organic chemistry, and one college level math course. These courses must qualify toward degrees in either chemistry or biological science. Science courses for non-science majors are not acceptable. All courses in progress must be successfully completed (grade of C or above) prior to enrollment.
If I am taking coursework in chemistry or microbiology to meet the admission requirements, do I need to take a lab course in addition to the lecture course?
Because the focus of professional practice is laboratory science, taking laboratory coursework is a way for applicants to demonstrate strength in the pre-requisite curriculum. A minimum of 3 chemistry courses with laboratory and 3 biology courses with laboratory are required. Applicants must also have one upper division chemistry course preferably with laboratory and one upper division microbiology course with laboratory within seven years prior to enrollment completed at an accredited four year college/university. It is recommended but not required that courses in biochemistry and/or organic chemistry, microbiology, and immunology include both lecture and laboratory components.
I would like to schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor and tour your facilities.
The Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science does not offer formal on-site advising sessions. The "Minimum Application Requirements" document serves as a self-evaluation checklist for interested applicants to determine their minimum eligibility for admission consideration. Queries regarding advising by e-mail or phone should occur after applicants have completed the self-evaluation checklist. When eligible applicants come for their formal interview, they have an opportunity to tour our student lecture/laboratory facilities.
Does the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science grant the baccalaureate degree?
Students that attend the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science enter the professional curriculum after completing the baccalaureate degree. Upon successful completion of the CCMLS curriculum, graduates receive the professional certificate from CCMLS.
If I make application, will I be admitted?
Making application is a 2 step process: 1) submission of required documentation by the applicant, and 2) invitation for formal interview by the Admission Committee. Applicants should review the "Minimum Application Requirements" before submitting documentation for application. Only the top eligible applicants - from those who meet the minimum application requirements and have submitted all the required application materials - will be invited for an interview. The application process is competitive. There are more applicants than class positions; application does not guarantee admission. The Admission Committee advises applicants to apply early and to give close consideration to the admission requirements.
Do I need to complete a particular major before attending the professional curriculum at the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science?
No, but all applicants must complete the required pre-requisite coursework. Most applicants have degrees in biology, microbiology, biochemistry, or chemistry. Occasionally, we receive an application from a student with a degree in another discipline who has completed the pre-requisite coursework for admission.
If I have been out of college for several years, do I need to take updated coursework?
Applicants must update coursework by taking one upper division chemistry course with laboratory and one upper division microbiology course with laboratory at an accredited four year college/university, if previous coursework was completed more than 7 years prior to enrollment. The update courses must qualify toward a degree in either chemistry or biological science.
With what universities is the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science currently partnering?
- Colorado State University – Ft. Collins
- Colorado State University – Pueblo
- Metropolitan State University of Denver
- Montana State University
- North Dakota State University
- University of Montana
- University of Northern Colorado
The Center also admits baccalaureate degreed students from other colleges and universities.
Does the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science offer on-line courses?
As of January 2020, CCMLS is not offering a full on-line curriculum. The Center is currently working with innovative curriculum components.
Am I able to advance place out of coursework offered during the professional curriculum by CCMLS or transfer undergraduate credits into the curriculum since I have taken many science courses?
The MLS curriculum is very specialized. Science courses taken at a university are required prerequisite courses and do not substitute for courses in the professional curriculum. All applicants must meet all `Minimum Application Requirements' or coursework must be in progress at the time of application. The Center does not make exceptions or allow substitutions for required pre-requisite coursework. Because the CCMLS medical laboratory science program is post-BS, applicants must hold a BS or BA degree when they start the program. Individuals interested in transferring to MSU Denver as an undergraduate schould contact an advisor in the biology department who is familiar with CCMLS requirements.
If I have attended another MLS program and/or I have work experience in a clinical laboratory can I receive advance placement or experiential learning credit for these experiences?
Applicants who have completed course work in another NAACLS accredited MLS program and those with previous clinical laboratory experience may be eligible for advanced placement and/or experiental learning credit as determined by course faculty. Those interested in such eligibility may request Policy 2.87: Advanced Placement and Experiential Learning Credit.
Is there an application deadline?
There is no application deadline. Applications are accepted year round. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply one year prior to the June start date.
When do classes begin and what is the course schedule?
Classes begin in early June and students complete the program the following May. During the Summer and Fall Semesters, students are in lecture and laboratory classes Monday through Friday for 7-8 hours per day; most class days begin at 8:00 or 9:00am and finish at 4:00pm. During the Spring Semester, students enroll in five 4-week clinical courses which run from January through May. Clinical courses take place in one of our community partner laboratories; clinical rotation assignments are Monday through Friday, starting between 6:00 and 8:00am and continuing for an 8.5 hour block depending on the course assignment. See Academic Calendar.
The curriculum consists of classroom, student laboratory and clinical experiences. How do these experiences all fit together?
In the summer and fall semesters students enroll in lecture and laboratory courses. These are held in the program classroom and student laboratory facilities. Lecture and student laboratory courses are preparatory for clinical coursework which occurs during the spring semester. Students are assigned to clinical rotation experiences in one of our partner clinical affiliate laboratories. During clinical coursework the knowledge and techniques learned during classroom courses are further developed in preparation for entering the workplace upon graduation.
What advising and guidance resources does MSU Denver and CCMLS provide their students that support student progression in the program?
MSU Denver and CCMLS provides students with advising and guidence in the following areas: financial aid, academic and professional performance and progression in the program, professional and career guidance, as well as student support in a wide variety of areas through the MSU Denver counseling center and Roadways, students with disabilities through the MSU Denver Access Center. Those interested in policies related to advising and guidance, student grievances, and criteria for program completion may request Policy 2.841: Standards of Professional Achievement, Policy 2.85: Counseling, Advising and Guidance, and/or Policy 2.86: Student Complaint and Appeal Procedure.
Does CCMLS require that students adhere to a code of professional behaviors?
Professional conduct in addition to academic and technical performance are an integral component of the professional curriculum offered by CCMLS. Students enrolled in the program must meet standards of professional behavior in order to progress in the program and assume career responsibilities upon graduation. Those interested in policies related to professional conduct may request Policy 2.0: MSU Denver Student Code of Conduct and Policy 2.83: Standards of Professional Behavior.
Does the program provide clinical placement for my clinical coursework assignments?
It is the goal and responsibility of the program and its faculty and officials to assure that each student admitted to the program will be assigned to clinical coursework within one of CCMLS' clinical partner labs. The program was able to successfully address the unusual circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in temporary suspension of clinical rotations for health science students across the nation. CCMLS is proud of its record in supporting student completion and was able to work with its 2020 spring graduating class to minimize delays in assignments. Those interested in the CCMLS clinical assignment policies may request Policies 3.4 and 3.401: Clinical Assignments I and II.
Can I work during the program?
CCMLS does not take a position regarding student work or employment. Faculty will counsel students if academic performance falls below acceptable levels in the professional curriculum and students are expected to make whatever personal changes are necessary to succeed in their coursework. The spring semester of the curriculum consists of clinical coursework. Students are assigned to clinical partner sites for these experiences. CCMLS does have a policy regarding clinical coursework that states that students must not substitute for paid employees during clinical rotation experiences, that their laboratory service work during these experiences must always be supervised by individuals who are designated to perform service work as well as supervise students and are in the employment of the clinical facility. Those interested in the CCMLS student service work policy may request Policy 3.42: Performance of Testing Procedures in Clinical Rotations.
What is the salary range for a Medical Laboratory Scientist?
In the Denver-metro area, the average-starting salary for clinical laboratory scientists is approximately $46,000-56,000 depending upon the facility and the shift worked. Some graduates receive sign-on bonuses. In this geographic area, staff technologists with experience can earn up to $70,000. The salaries of supervisors and managers range from $60,000 to $90,000 depending on the size of the facility they manage and the level of responsibility of the manager. The American Society for Clinical Pathology, the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publish national statistics on salaries for the nation’s medical laboratory scientists.
Exactly what are the job responsibilities of a Medical Laboratory Scientist?
The Medical Laboratory Scientist works in hospital laboratories performing diagnostic laboratory testing in Hematology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Immunohematology (Blood Bank), and Molecular Diagnostics. Laboratory procedures provide physicians with accurate, reliable data necessary for medical diagnosis. Certified MLS professionals are also employed in reference laboratories, physician offices, research facilities, clinics, public health facilities, business, education, and industry.
Does the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science have a job placement service?
Because there is a serious shortage of MLS professionals, there are many job opportunities in the state of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. Most CCMLS graduates have multiple job offers by graduation. Students make employment contacts through the Center's clinical affiliates and during clinical rotation experiences.
Are there jobs available for Medical Laboratory Scientists?
The need for certified laboratorians is great throughout Colorado and the United States. There are more MLS jobs than educated practitioners to fill these positions.
What type of financial aid is available to students?
Information on the following types of financial aid is made available to admitted students:
- Private Loans
- National Scholarships and grant opportunities as available
- Hospital Tuition Support as available.