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Medical Laboratory Science

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Medical Laboratory Science is currently the "Highest Need" healthcare career field in South Dakota. The annual national projection for employment is approximately 13,000 openings, and academic programs currently graduate about 5,000 across the United States. The average pay in this region, as projected by the South Dakota Healthcare Workforce Initiative, is approximately $23.00 per hour for a nationally certified Medical Laboratory Science professional.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected 22% increase in employment for laboratory science professionals between 2012 and 2022—twice the rate of all other occupations. The salary for laboratory professionals varies with geographical location and training level; however, the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) 2013 wage survey in the United states indicates that the national average for a staff level MLS B.S. level professional is $56,430 per year and $77,113 per year at the supervisory level. Nationally salaries are considerably higher for those individuals who are lab directors or faculty members.

The South Dakota State University Medical Laboratory Sciences Program prepares students for careers in medical laboratory science, phlebotomy, and related fields. SDSU is the only university NAACLS-accredited program in SD!  The curriculum in the program emphasizes basic sciences, medical laboratory sciences, critical thinking skills and communication skills, including structured learning in the laboratories of clinical affiliated hospitals.

The SDSU Medical Laboratory Science program is fully accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science NAACLS, 5600 N. River Rd. Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018-5119.

Program Outcomes Information

ASCP Board Examination Pass Rate (2015-2018)96%
Job Placement Rate (2015-2018)100%
Graduation Rate (2015-2018)99%


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SDSU MLS ranked No. 25

MLS program ranked No. 25

South Dakota State University’s medical laboratory science program was ranked No. 25 in the nation by Online Schools Report in its report on the best online clinical research degrees.

MLS Upward Mobility students gain unexpected experience

Two students in the Medical Laboratory Science Upward Mobility program supplemented their curriculum with sample processing from suspected COVID-19 patients.

Both are hospital lab techs; Michelle Holzbauer at Platte Health Center and Bobbi Gilkerson at Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre.

Represented and Recharged: SDSU MLS faculty, staff, and students attend The ASCLS Regional Symposium

SDSU Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) faculty and staff along with all 36 MLS students attended the Annual American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) Region V Symposium in Fargo, ND on September 26-27. Along with other members of Region V (North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), SD