Clinical laboratory technician to clinical laboratory scientist articulation and distance learning.Clin Lab Sci. 1999 Jan-Feb; 12(1):42-7.CL
Laboratory workers and educators alike are challenged to support access to education that is current and provides opportunities for career advancement in the work place. The clinical laboratory science (CLS) program at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta developed a clinical laboratory technician (CLT) to CLS articulation option, expanded it through distance learning, and integrated computer based learning technology into the educational process over a four year period to address technician needs for access to education. Both positive and negative outcomes were realized through these efforts. Twenty-seven students entered the pilot articulation program, graduated, and took a CLS certification examination. Measured in terms of CLS certification, promotions, pay raises, and career advancement, the program described was a success. However, major problems were encountered related to the use of unfamiliar communication technology; administration of the program at distance sites; communication between educational institutions, students, and employers; and competition with CLT programs for internship sites. These problems must be addressed in future efforts to provide a successful distance learning program. Effective methods for meeting educational needs and career ladder expectations of CLTs and their employers are important to the overall quality and appeal of the profession. Educational technology that includes computer-aided instruction, multimedia, and telecommunications can provide powerful tools for education in general and CLT articulation in particular. Careful preparation and vigilant attention to reliable delivery methods as well as students' progress and outcomes is critical for an efficient, economically feasible, and educationally sound program.