UCCS, Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science agree to pathway program for health science students

A student analyzes samples at the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science. Photo courtesy of MSU Denver.

Health science graduates at the UCCS Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences will have access to clinical labs for certification in a new pathway agreement with the Colorado Center for Medical Laboratory Science at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

“CCMLS is one of the most distinguished and longstanding programs that certifies medical laboratory scientists,” said Jackie Berning, chair and professor, Health Sciences Department. “Now UCCS health science graduates have a clearer pathway for obtaining certification as medical laboratory scientists.”

Students completing bachelor’s degrees at UCCS will now have a defined pathway to obtain a yearlong post baccalaureate certificate from the CCMLS. This competitive program enrolls 24 students annually with a 100 percent job placement rate for those who complete the certificate and pass the national certifying exam. The agreement will allow for up to eight additional qualified students from UCCS to be accepted into the CCMLS program with clinical work performed in the Colorado Springs area.

Employment of medical laboratory scientists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is nearly double the average rate of all other occupations combined according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average starting salary for clinical laboratory scientists is approximately $56,000 depending upon the facility and shift.

“In order to keep pace with workforce needs throughout the region, it’s critical that we work with industry and higher education partners to collectively grow the pipeline of qualified medical laboratory scientists,” said Nancy Sayre, associate vice president, Innovative and Lifelong Learning, MSU Denver.

A student at CCMLS holds a sample to the light. Photo courtesy of MSU Denver.

The agreement will extend CCMLS clinical-partner locations into the southern Front Range with clinical laboratory facilities at Centura Health-Penrose St. Francis Health Services and UCHealth-Memorial Hospital Central and UCHealth-Memorial Hospital North. The new locations add to the more than 30 locations CCMLS has agreements with on the northern Front Range corridor.

“With the anticipated retirements within the industry in the near future, a combined effort is needed to ensure we can maintain staffing levels of front-line laboratory scientists, but also to create opportunities for existing staff to advance into leadership roles,” said Robert Welch, director, Laboratory Services, UCHealth.

Those with bachelor’s degrees in health care science, biology, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry and other related academic programs are well-prepared to enter this post baccalaureate health career pathway and are encouraged to apply. The annual program starts June 1 and applicants are encouraged to apply starting October 2018.

“Positive partnerships like this support the Colorado medical community in providing a strong health care workforce and MSU Denver is pleased to move forward with this expansion,” said Karen Myers, director, CCMLS at MSU Denver.

For more information regarding the partnership, contact Karen Myers by telephone at 720-449-7450 or by email at [email protected].

— Tim Carroll, marketing and communications, MSU Denver, contributed to this article

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