To describe the current status of clinical laboratory science (CLS)/medical technology (MT) programs regarding the impact of budgetary cutbacks and to identify successful strategies for program survival.
University-based CLS/MT programs accredited by the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA).
All CAHEA-accredited, university-based CLS/MT programs in Ohio and bordering states and all "big-ten" programs as listed in the Allied Health Education Directory 21st edition (n = 19).
Program directors' perceptions of: the potential threat of program closure, the impact of budget cutbacks, and successful strategies to enhance program viability.
A total of 13 programs responded, for a response rate of 68%. The majority of the respondents (66%) indicated that they were experiencing budget cutbacks that affected either their operating budgets or their staffing configurations, or both. Although program closure had been discussed in many programs, directors felt that their programs would not be threatened with closure in the next three years. Only one program had intentionally decreased student enrollment. Strategies implemented by program directors fall into one of four categories: curriculum restructure, use of nontraditional instructional staff, revenue generation, and use of innovative teaching strategies.
CLS/MT programs are experiencing budget cutbacks consistent with the overall trend in institutions of higher education. In light of the trend toward program closures and decreasing entering practitioners, educators must address issues that relate to program viability. CLS/MT program directors are seeking and instituting changes to enhance the status of their programs in their respective institutions. These strategies are similar to those reported by other higher-education administrators. Further research and evaluation are necessary to determine the outcomes of such measures.