Cal State LA Clinical Lab Scientist program earns reaccreditation
Cal State LA was recently granted a continuous 10-year reaccreditation for its Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) program from the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
The Clinical Laboratory Scientist Certificate program aims to prepare laboratory professionals with the technical, critical thinking and management skills that will allow them to function at the highest level in the clinical laboratory, assume leadership roles in the working environment and become leaders in their profession.
“We are extremely proud that the Cal State LA CLS program is being recognized by NAACLS for a 10-year award,” said Gloria C. Preza, director of Medical Laboratory Scientist Training Programs in the College of Professional and Global Education (PaGE) at Cal State LA. Preza is also an adjunct faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences housed in the university’s College of Natural and Social Sciences (NSS).
The reaccreditation confirms that the university’s program meets the established standards of an accredited educational program for the medical laboratory scientist (MLS) certificate. Medical laboratory scientists are also known as clinical lab scientists. The NAACLS’s accreditation process is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
“NAACLS is the premier accreditation agency for medical laboratory programs in the nation,” Preza said. “Receiving this recognition attests to the excellence in academic and clinical training that students receive during the one-year certificate program. The program has achieved a 100% graduation rate and is among the top in California.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the essential role of laboratory professionals, said Preza, who described them as the “backbone of laboratory testing.”
“An MLS/CLS most often works in a medical laboratory and is a highly skilled scientist who tests for the presence or absence of disease and provides data to help physicians determine diagnoses and treatment of patients,” she said. “Approximately 70% of all medical treatment and diagnoses are based on laboratory results.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of clinical laboratory scientists and technicians is projected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028.
The need for laboratory professionals is clear, Preza said.
“With an increase in the aging population, there is a greater need to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or Type 2 diabetes, through certified laboratory procedures,” she said.
The Clinical Laboratory Scientist program, offered through PaGE with courses taught in NSS, was established in 2011 to help alleviate this shortage. Approved by the California Department of Public Health’s Laboratory Field Services, the 52-week post-baccalaureate training program has facilitated the entrance of nearly 170 CLS professionals into the workforce since its inception.
Photo: Gloria C. Preza, director of Medical Laboratory Scientist Training Programs at Cal State LA, during a clinical rotation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when she was a Clinical Laboratory Scientist program student. (Courtesy of Gloria Preza)