Medical Laboratory Science

Medical Laboratory Science Certificate | Mercy College of Health Sciences


Earn your certificate from Mercy College of Health Sciences and become a medical laboratory scientist (MLS) capable of performing a full range of laboratory tests from simple cholesterol screenings to more complex assessments used to uncover diseases such as AIDS, diabetes, and cancer. As an MLS, you will work quickly and carefully to confirm the accuracy of test results and report laboratory findings to pathologists and patients’ physicians. You’ll work with microscopes, complex electronic equipment, computers, and precision instruments to give clear and accurate reports to physicians. Up to 70% of physicians’ decisions related to disease diagnosis and treatment are directly related to laboratory results, making you a vital part of a patient’s medical team.

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Average Annual Wage


Certification Pass Rate1


Placement Rate2
(2021-2023) – In Progress


Graduation Rate3


Projected Job Growth from 2018 – 2028



Our three-semester Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) certificate offers one start date per year in the fall and includes intensive classroom instruction and clinical laboratory experiences. You will learn to perform, evaluate, ensure accuracy and validity, interpret, and correlate the results of a wide variety of laboratory tests used in the diagnoses and treatments of patients. The results these tests produce are critical to maintaining patient health. You’ll also problem-solve, direct and supervise, and troubleshoot issues that arise in laboratory settings.

The MLS program is affiliated with several institutions of higher learning. Accepted students from affiliated institutions complete their senior year at Mercy College, earning up to 40 semester hours of upper level science credits. Students from affiliated institutions must complete all other affiliated institution graduation requirements to qualify for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) upon completion of the MLS certificate at Mercy College.

Students from non-affiliated colleges and universities are eligible to apply if they meet all academic requirements and have completed or will have completed their BA or BS before beginning the MLS certificate coursework.

Prospective students who are interested in the MLS certificate may also want to consider admission to the Bachelor of Science in Health Science – Track Three at Mercy College.

Program Application Deadline: October 15



The medical laboratory science certificate at Mercy College of Health Sciences is accredited by National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NACCLS).


Our medical laboratory science faculty team includes a full-time program chair and two full-time MLS faculty, as well as medical laboratory scientist preceptors in the clinical laboratory assuring you an exceptional level of personalized instruction.



English isn’t my parents’ first language, but everyone at Mercy College went above and beyond to make sure we understood the admissions and financial aid processes. The hands-on learning opportunities in my classes have been a huge help in preparing me for my licensure exams and setting me on my path to a successful career.

Irma S., Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Healthcare Administration Candidate, 2021

To be considered for admission to the Medical Laboratory Science major, you must first be admitted to Mercy College of Health Sciences. Learn more about admission to Mercy College. Complete our FREE online Mercy College application. Early application is encouraged.

We accept 12 students into the MLS program each year. Your admission into this program is on a competitive basis.

To be considered for admission to the MLS major, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit the MLS Program Application
  • Earn a C (not C-) in the following undergraduate coursework
    • Chemistry – 16 semester hours, including Biochemistry and/or Organic Chemistry as part of a science major curriculum
    • Biology – 16 semester hours, including Immunology and Microbiology as part of a science major curriculum
    • College-level Math – 3 semester hours, algebra level or above

Program Application Deadline: October 15
Late applications may be considered.

Following the October 15 application and transcript deadline, the process to select students begins. Each qualified applicant is invited to attend an optional MLS Program session to learn about the MLS program and tour the clinical site laboratory and Mercy College campus. Complete applications are reviewed by the selection committee, which considers the following:

  • Types and difficulty of courses taken
  • Evidence of well-rounded education
  • Courses taken that are not required but are recommended
  • Work experience
  • Volunteer and extracurricular activities
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Activities that indicate social consciousness and involvement
  • Essay
  • Cumulative and science GPA


  • Acceptance letters are sent to accepted students by December 1
  • Accepted students must reply to Mercy College to accept or decline the offered position by December 15
  • Application eligibility does not guarantee acceptance

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The following courses are required to earn your Certificate in Medical Laboratory Science. A sample course sequence is provided.

Semester 1 (Fall)

MLS 411 – Clinical Immunology Didactic (1 cr*)

MLS 413 – Clinical Immunohematology Didactic I (1 cr*)

MLS 415 – Clinical Chemistry Didactic I (2 cr*)

MLS 417 – Clinical Hematology Didactic I (1 cr*)

MLS 418 – Clinical Laboratory Management Didactic I (1 cr)

MLS 422 – Clinical Microbiology Didactic I (2 cr*)

Three of the following:

MLS 432 – Clinical Immunohematology and Immunology Clinical Rotation I (2 cr)

MLS 433 – Clinical Hematology, Urinalysis, Body Fluids and Microscopy Clinical Rotation I (2 cr)

MLS 435 – Clinical Microbiology Clinical Rotation I (2 cr)

MLS 436 – Clinical Chemistry Clinical Rotation I (2 cr)

Semester 2 (Spring)

MLS 432, 433, 435, or 436 – Course Not Taken in the Fall (2 cr)

MLS 443 – Clinical Immunohematology Didactic II (1 cr*)

MLS 445 – Clinical Chemistry Didactic II (2 cr*)

MLS 447 – Clinical Hematology Didactic II (2 cr*)

MLS 448 – Clinical Laboratory Management and Education Methods Didactic II (1 cr)

MLS 452 – Clinical Microbiology Didactic II (2 cr*)

Two of the following:

MLS 462 – Clinical Immunohematology and Immunology Clinical Rotation II (2 cr)

MLS 463 – Clinical Hematology, Urinalysis, Body Fluids and Microscopy Clinical Rotation II (2 cr)

MLS 465 – Clinical Immunohematology or Microbiology Rotation II (2 cr)

MLS 465 – Clinical Microbiology Clinical Rotation II

MLS 466 – Chemistry Clinical Rotation II (2 cr)

Semester 3 (Summer)

MLS 414 – Urinalysis, Body Fluids, and Microscopy (1 cr)

MLS 472 – Clinical Microbiology Didactic II (2 cr*)

MLS 477 – Clinical Hematology Didactic III (2 cr*)

MLS 478 – Clinical Laboratory Management and Education Method Didactic III (3 cr)

Two of the following not taken in Spring:

MLS 462 – Clinical Immunohematology and Immunology Clinical Rotation II (2 cr)

MLS 463 – Clinical Hematology, Urinalysis, Body Fluids and Microscopy Clinical Rotation II (2 cr)

MLS 465 – Clinical Microbiology Clinical Rotation II (2 cr)

MLS 466 – Clinical Chemistry Clinical Rotation II (1 cr)


*Affiliated colleges and universities may make adjustments to the credits awarded for individual MLS courses.

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The Medical Laboratory Science major offers one start date per year in the fall. View our full academic calendar for exact semester start dates.

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OUTCOMES 2021-23

Graduation Year

ASCP-BOC Pass Rate1

Placement Rate2

Graduation Rate3

Graduation Year


ASCP-BOC Pass Rate1

100% (9 of 9)* – 1 did not sit for exam

Placement Rate2

100% (10 of 10)

Graduation Rate3

100% (10 of 10)

Graduation Year


ASCP-BOC Pass Rate1

100% (12 of 12)

Placement Rate2

100% (12 of 12)

Graduation Rate3

100% (12 of 12)

Graduation Year


ASCP-BOC Pass Rate1

100% (8 of 8)

Placement Rate2

88% (7 of 8) – in progress (1 looking)

Graduation Rate3

100% (8 of 8)

1ASCP-BOC Pass Rate defined as pass rate for exams taken within one year of graduation.
2Placement rate defined as employment in the medical laboratory field or pursuit of further education within one year of graduation.
3Graduation rate defined as percentage of students completing the program who start the final half, defined as start of summer semester.
*Numbers in parentheses represent total number of students successful with the outcome divided by total number of students in the cohort.

†Garcia, E.; Kundu, I.; Fong, K.; American Society for Clinical Pathology’s 2019 Wage Survey of Medical Laboratories in the United States, American Journal of Clinical Pathology, Average Annual MLS Staff Wage (2021)


Next step before transforming into a life-saving hero: complete the form below. Our admissions team will get you all the info you need to know.

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Admissions: (515) 635-1133
General: (515) 643-3180


Mercy College of Health Sciences has been transforming students into healthcare professionals since 1899. Located in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, we offer master’s degreesbachelor’s degreesassociate degreescertificate programs, and continuing education courses.

Mercy College is the only private Catholic college in central Iowa and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), in addition to numerous programmatic accreditors.

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