Medical Laboratory Science Program

The Austin State Hospital (ASH) Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Program is an integral part of the Regional Clinical Laboratory (RCLA) at Austin State Hospital (ASH). The state hospital is a facility within the Health and Specialty Care System of the Texas Health and Human Services agency. The laboratory is located in building 635 on the Austin State Hospital campus.

The program was initially accredited in 1956 and graduated its first student in 1957. The program has a long history of producing exceptional graduates for employment throughout the United States. The program is designed to instruct students in academic and practical phases of laboratory medicine. Graduates are eligible to take the Medical Laboratory Scientist Board of Certification examination given by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the Medical Laboratory Science program is competitive and limited to four students per year. The program accepts applications through the Monday after Thanksgiving. Interviews will be held in January. The program start date is September 1st. Early application is encouraged.

Applicants are considered for admission based on

  • MLS degree from affiliated university (3+1) OR baccalaureate degree (4+1). All foreign degrees must be evaluated.
  • Overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Science GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Essay written according to the formatting requirements provided.
  • Two completed reference forms
  • Personal interview.
  • Must have a social security number prior to August 1st.
  • Complete List of Admission Requirements

MLS Program Application Packet

IMPORTANT: The application deadline for FY23 has changed.


  • The APPLICATION is due the Monday after Thanksgiving.
  • The deadline for REFERENCES is December 1st.

Please print out the Instructions for Completing the MLS Application (PDF). Review and follow the instructions carefully.

  • Points will be deducted from the rating score for failure to follow instructions.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission.
  • Transcripts must be sent electronically. If your academic institution cannot send electronic transcripts, please have them mailed to:

    Austin State Hospital
    Attention: Medical Laboratory Science Program
    4110 Guadalupe St., Bldg. 635
    Austin, TX 78751

The minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) for admission is 3.0 at the time of application.

The following forms must be completed and saved as separate documents:

NAACLS Program Outcomes

As a program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), the ASH MLS Program must make outcome measures for the past three years available to prospective and enrolled students. The outcome measures defined by NAACLS includes: completion rates, placement rates and the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification Exam pass rates.

All graduates of the ASH MLS program take the national certification exam. Additional data has been provided for the certification exam comparing ASH program mean scores with the hospital-based MLS program scores mean. The minimum score to pass the exam is 400. In the data provided the ASH MLS program has exceeded the national mean for all years provided.

Outcome NAACLS Requirement 2019 2020 2021 Three Year Average
Number of Grads NA 4 4 4 4
Completion Rate 70% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Placement Rate 70% 75% 100% 100% 100%
BOC Pass Rate 75% 100% 75% 100% 92%
Program Mean Pass = 400> 548 546 635 NA
Hosp National Mean Pass = 400> 547 537 526 NA


Students enrolled in the program spend eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, in clinical and didactic instruction in all areas of the ASH clinical laboratory. Students are additionally assigned outside rotations to expose them to a variety of equipment and/or procedures where are not performed at ASH. The following affiliates are used for these rotations:

  • Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas – teaching hospital with 211 beds in operation, the region’s only Level 1 trauma hospital, provides a wide variety of services.
  • Clinical Pathology Laboratories – large reference laboratory offering services across the Southwest United States. . Employees over 1900 people at the 100,000 square foot main laboratory facility in Austin.
  • Department of State Health Services Laboratory – the largest state public health laboratory in the United States, testing over one million samples per year.
  • We are Blood – blood collection and processing facility providing blood and blood products to over 40 medical facilities in a 10-county region.

Clinical instruction includes training under direct supervision of qualified laboratory staff as well as daily group lectures given by qualified instructors in their specialty areas.

Students rotate on an individual basis through six major departments of the laboratory. These departments and the approximate times are as follows:

  • Clinical Chemistry - thirteen weeks (includes general chemistry, toxicology, and special chemistry)
  • Microbiology - twelve weeks (includes bacteriology, mycology, and parasitology)
  • Hematology and Coagulation - eleven weeks
  • Blood Bank and Phlebotomy - seven weeks
  • Immunology, Serology and Molecular Diagnostics - three weeks
  • Urinalysis - three weeks


The hospital, laboratory and MLS program are accredited by.

  • Austin State Hospital is accredited by The Joint Commission.
  • The Regional Clinical Laboratory is accredited by the College of American Pathologists.
  • The Medical Laboratory Science Program is fully accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. 

Contact information for NAACLS is:

5600 N. River Road, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018-5119
Phone: 773-714-8880

Program Costs

Students are required to purchase approximately $800 worth of books. Students will receive a list of required textbooks after accepting their position in the class so they can begin the process of purchasing them.

Students are required to purchase personal liability insurance that costs approximately $45.

Students should arrange for housing before reporting for training. Apartments or rooms are generally available in neighboring areas.


Students are classified by the State of Texas as Professional Trainees. As state employees' students will receive a small, monthly stipend.

After two months in the program students are eligible for the state of Texas group health insurance at no cost.

Students are allowed to take major state holidays and earn limited vacation and sick leave.

MLS Student Handbook

The MLS Student Handbook (PDF) provides prospective and current students with detailed information regarding the program’s policies and procedures.

Students are required to attend a mandatory orientation session the summer prior to starting the program. The focus of the orientation is an in-depth discussion of the MLS Student Handbook. Those accepted will receive an email setting the date and time for the orientation. Students are state employees and will be required to attend a comprehensive orientation covering the hospital’s policies and procedures.

Students may be dismissed from the program due to failure to follow the rules and regulations of the organization and/or the MLS program or for failure to maintain a grade of 75 or above in lecture and clinical.

Program Contact Information

Email is preferred:

Please make phone calls Monday through Friday during business hours.

Carrie Dillon, Education Coordinator

Terry Kotrla, MS, MLS(ASCP)BB – MLS Program director