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Technical Standards for Admission and Retention

Because a bachelor's degree in clinical laboratory science signifies that the holder is eligible to sit for the Board of Certification examination at the medical laboratory scientist level and signifies that the holder is prepared for entry into the profession of clinical laboratory science, it follows that graduates must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical, research, and industrial laboratory situations and to demonstrate entry level competencies at all levels of professional practice (see attached NAACLS statement). Therefore, the following abilities and expectations must be met by all students admitted to the program.

1. Essential Observational Requirements for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences

The CLS student must be able to:

  • observe and perform laboratory demonstrations in which biologicals (i.e., body fluids, culture materials, tissue sections, and cellular specimens) are tested for their biochemical, hematological, immunological, microbiological, and histochemical components.
  • characterize the color, odor, clarity, and viscosity of biological, reagents, or chemical reaction products.
  • employ a clinical grade binocular microscope to discriminate among fine structural and color (hue, shading, and intensity) differences of microscopic specimens.
  • read and comprehend text, numbers, and graphs displayed in print and on a video.

2. Essential Movement Requirements for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences

The CLS student must be able to:

  • move freely and safely about a laboratory.
  • reach laboratory benchtops and shelves, patients lying in hospital beds or patients seated in specimen collection furniture.
  • travel to numerous clinical laboratory sites for practical experience.
  • perform moderately taxing continuous physical work, often requiring prolonged sitting, over several hours.
  • maneuver phlebotomy and culture acquisition equipment to safely collect valid laboratory specimens from patients.
  • control laboratory equipment (i.e. pipettes, inoculating loops, test tubes) and adjust instruments to perform laboratory procedures.
  • use an electronic keyboard (i.e. 101-key IBM computer keyboard) to operate laboratory instruments and to calculate, record, evaluate, and transmit laboratory information.

3. Essential Communication Requirements for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences

The CLS student must be able to:

  • read and comprehend technical and professional materials (i.e. textbooks, magazine and journal articles, handbooks, and instruction manuals).
  • follow verbal or written instructions in order to correctly and independently perform laboratory test procedures.
  • clearly instruct patients prior to specimen collection.
  • effectively, confidently, and sensitively converse with patients regarding laboratory tests.
  • communicate with faculty members, fellow students, staff, and other health care professionals verbally and in a recorded format (writing, typing, graphics, or telecommunication).
  • independently prepare papers, prepare laboratory reports, and take paper, computer, and laboratory practical examinations.

4. Essential Intellectual Requirements for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences

The CLS student must:

  • possess these intellectual skills: comprehension, measurement, mathematical calculation, problem solving, reasoning, integration, analysis, comparison, self-expression, and criticism.
  • be able to exercise sufficient judgment to recognize and correct performance deviations.

5. Essential Behavioral Requirements for the Clinical Laboratory Sciences

The CLS student must:

  • be able to manage the use of time and be able to systematize actions in order to complete professional and technical tasks within realistic constraints.
  • possess the emotional health necessary to effectively employ intellect and exercise appropriate judgment. Demonstrate appropriate affective behaviors and mental attitudes to not jeopardize the emotional, physical, mental and behavioral safety of patients and other individuals with whom there is interaction in the academic and clinical settings.
  • possess the mental and emotional rigor to demonstrate respect to all people, including fellow students, faculty, patients and medical personnel, without showing bias or preference on the basis of race, color, age, sex, religion or creed, national origin or ancestry, gender expression, gender identity, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or genetic testing & screening.
  • be able to provide professional and technical services while experiencing the stresses of heavy workloads (i.e., large number of tasks to complete in a limited amount of time), task- related uncertainty (i.e., ambiguous test-ordering, ambivalent test interpretation), emergent demands (i.e., "stat" test orders), and a distracting environment (i.e., high noise levels, crowding, complex visual stimuli).
  • be flexible and creative and adapt to professional and technical change.
  • recognize potentially hazardous materials, equipment, and situations and proceed safely in order to minimize risk of injury to patients, self, and nearby individuals.
  • adapt to working with unpleasant biologicals.
  • support and promote the activities of fellow students and of health care professionals; promotion of peers helps furnish a team approach to learning, task completion, problem solving, and patient care.
  • be honest, compassionate, ethical, and responsible. The student must be forthright about errors or uncertainty. The student must be able to critically evaluate her or his own performance, accept constructive criticism, and look for ways to improve (i.e. participate in enriched educational activities). The student must be able to evaluate the performance of fellow students and tactfully offer constructive comments.

KU Medical Center is committed to equal opportunity for students with disabilities. All students admitted to the KU clinical laboratory science program must be able to meet the technical standards requirements and expectations with or without accommodation(s). Reasonable accommodations will be considered and may be made to qualified students who disclose a disability, so long as such accommodation does not significantly alter the essential requirements of the curriculum and the training program, or significantly affect the safety of patient care. Students who disclose that they have a disability are considered for the program if they are otherwise qualified.

Qualified students with a disability who wish to request accommodations should provide appropriate documentation of disability and submit a request for accommodation to the Academic Accommodations Office, Attn: Cyn Ukoko, 913-945-7035 (711 TTY),, Dykes Library Room 1006.


The medical laboratory scientist is qualified by academic and applied science education to provide service and research in clinical laboratory science and related areas in rapidly changing and dynamic healthcare delivery systems. Medical laboratory Scientists perform, develop, evaluate, correlate and assure accuracy and validity of laboratory information; direct and supervise clinical laboratory resources and operations; and collaborate in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Medical laboratory scientist has diverse and multi-level functions in the principles, methodologies and performance of assays;  problem-solving; troubleshooting techniques; interpretation and evaluation of clinical procedures and results; statistical approaches to data evaluation; principles and practices of quality assurance/quality improvement; and continuous assessment of laboratory services for all major areas practiced in the contemporary clinical laboratory. Medical laboratory scientists possess skills necessary for financial, operation, marketing, and human resource management of the clinical laboratory.

Medical laboratory scientists practice independently and collaboratively, being responsible for their own actions, as defined by the profession. They have the requisite knowledge and skills to educate laboratory professionals, other health care professionals, and others in laboratory practice as well as the public.

The ability to relate to people, a capacity for calm and reasoned judgment and a demonstration of commitment to the patient are essential qualities.  Communications skills extend to consultative interactions with members of the healthcare team, external relations, customer service and patient education.

Medical laboratory scientists demonstrate ethical and moral attitudes and principles that are necessary for gaining and maintaining the confidence of patients, professional associates, and the community.

Description of Entry Level Competencies of the Medical Laboratory Scientist

At career entry, the medical laboratory scientist will possess the entry level competencies necessary to performing the full range of clinical laboratory tests in areas such as Clinical Chemistry, Hematology/Hemostasis, Immunology, Immunohematology/Transfusion medicine, Microbiology, Urine and Body Fluid analysis, Laboratory Operations, and other emerging diagnostics, and will play a role in the development and evaluation of test systems and interpretive algorithms.

The medical laboratory scientist will have diverse responsibilities in areas of analysis and clinical decision-making, regulatory compliance with applicable regulations, education, and quality assurance/performance improvement wherever laboratory testing is researched, developed or performed.

At entry level, the medical laboratory scientist will have the following basic knowledge and skills:

  1. Application of safety and governmental regulations and standards as applied to clinical laboratory science;
  2. Principles and practices of professional conduct and the significance of continuing professional development;
  3. Communications sufficient to serve the needs of patients, the public and members of  the healthcare team;
  4. Principles and practices of administration and supervision as applied to clinical laboratory science;
  5. Educational methodologies and terminology sufficient to train/educate users and providers of laboratory services;
  6. Principles and practices of clinical study design, implementation and dissemination of results.

Taken from NAACLS Standards for Accredited and Approved Programs, The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), 2012; Rev. 9/13, 4/14,10/14,11/14,10/15, 4/16.

Last modified: Sep 07, 2018