School of Medical Laboratory Science - About

The Mercy Hospital Ada School of Medical Laboratory Science is a hospital-based program affiliated with several state colleges and universities. In addition, the program has two mercy clinical affiliates: Mercy Hospital Ardmore and mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. The program has been in continuous, uninterrupted operation since its establishment in 1954. It is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS), 5600 River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018, 773-714-8880.

The program spans one full calendar year beginning on either the second or third Monday in May. Students spend approximately 500 clock hours in formal and informal lectures and seminars, video lectures and webinars. Under qualified supervision, the remaining time is spent in the clinical laboratory learning technical skills and developing professional attitudes.

Students are evaluated based on their academic achievement, laboratory performance and professional behavior throughout the program year.

The students rotate through the various sections of the laboratory twice during the year. During the first rotation, students report to assigned lab sections from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  1:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. is spent in the classroom, where the students study the didactic material that correlates with the laboratory section to which they are assigned. During the second rotation, they report to their laboratory sections at 7:00 a.m. and then to the classroom at 1:00 p.m. for formal lectures in clinical microbiology, clinical chemistry, clinical hematology, clinical immunology and for special topics in medical technology. 

With the exception of a one week clinical experience at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada, the clinical education is conducted on the Mercy Hospital Ada, Ardmore and Oklahoma City campuses. The MLS program awards a certificate upon successful completion of the year.  The certificate plus an appropriate baccalaureate degree allows the student to sit for a national certification examination.

Program Outcomes

Mercy Hospital Ada MLS Program Outcomes for the Past Three Years

Class Number of
External Certification
Exam Pass Rate
Graduation Rate Attrition Rate Graduate
2022-2023 6 66%** 86% 14% 100%
2021-2022 5 100% 100% 0% 100%
2020-2021 10 90% 100% 0% 100%

*Graduates who seek employment in the field or continue their education within one year of graduation.

**Data for 2022-2023 Pass Rate will be updated in May 2024.

The NAACLS accreditation benchmarks are an average certification exam pass rate of 75%, graduation rate of 70%, and placement rate of 70% for the last three active program years.

Career Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is projected to have a 22% increase in employment from 2012-2022, twice that of all other occupations. Students typically receive one or two job offers in their final semester while doing their clinical internships. Currently there is a shortage in many parts of the United States meaning greater job security and employment at higher salaries for graduates.

The salary for laboratory professionals varies according to their level and geographic location. According to the ASCP 2013 Wage Survey of Clinical Laboratories in the United States, the national average is $64,440 per year for medical laboratory scientists and $77,113 per year at the supervisory level. Salaries are higher for those who become managers or lab directors. Although most medical laboratory scientists are employed in a hospital setting, the knowledge and skills of the medical laboratory scientist are valued by other employers such as those in research, forensics, physician office laboratories, veterinary laboratories, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology companies, other industries and sales and service of laboratory equipment and supplies.

Program Benefits and Expenses

Students will receive a required textbook list upon acceptance into the program. The cost of the required textbooks is approximately $500.00. Students may purchase the required textbooks online (used or new, electronic or hard copy). In addition to the required textbooks, supplementary books will be checked out to the student. These must be returned prior to graduation.

All students are required to maintain Professional Liability Insurance throughout the clinical year. The cost of this coverage is approximately $35.00, which is paid by the School.

All students are advised to take the national certifying exam. It is offered by the ASCP Board of Certification. The student pays the examination fee of approximately $240.00.


Mercy Hospital Ada, Ardmore and Oklahoma City may elect to employ students after their first six months are satisfactorily completed and upon recommendation of their section supervisors. This work is not to exceed twenty hours per week and will be in the evenings or on weekends. The work is voluntary, paid, and directly supervised. The work must in no way interfere with the academic responsibilities of the student.  Students will not perform service work in place of qualified staff.

Students may use the hospital cafeteria and will receive a 30% discount.

Most scholarships and loans are best pursued through the student’s university. Mercy Hospital Ada School of Medical Laboratory Science is a participating member of the Pell Grant and VA Loans. During the clinical year, scholarships are available through the OSCLS, ASCLS and ASCP organizations and program officials will aid in filling out applications. Mercy Hospital Ada School of Medical Laboratory Science does not pay a student stipend.

These individuals are responsible for teaching courses, directing and supervising student laboratory and clinical experiences, evaluating students, developing curriculum, formulating policies and procedures and evaluating program effectiveness. In addition, other laboratory coworkers, management and pathologists participate in the education of the MLS students.

The student will receive a certificate and pin from Mercy Hospital Ada upon successful completion of the program. This is not contingent upon passing a national certification examination.

An affiliated university student will pay tuition to the university. Tuition refunds are subject to the university refund policy. A non-affiliated university student who possesses a baccalaureate degree will pay a clinical education fee* directly to the School of Medical Laboratory Science to cover the expense of the clinical laboratory education. Fees are non-refundable .

* The clinical education fee will be the same as the affiliated university student fee, which is determined by the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO).  Prices are subject to change.  Contact the program director for more information.

In addition to the certified background check required for applicants, all students accepted into the program will undergo an additional background check which will include a name check and/or a fingerprint background check completed by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Currently, the School of MLS pays for the OSBI check, however, this benefit is not guaranteed.

Students admitted to the clinical program must complete a health screen, including a drug screen, at their own expense prior to the start of their clinical rotation. Any student who becomes ill while on duty may see the Emergency Room physician or their personal physician at their own expense. Students are strongly encouraged to obtain hospitalization insurance. Group rates are available through most universities.