Medical Laboratory Science Program Meets Needs of Military Students

Online education, such as earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree virtually, is growing in popularity. And while the pandemic gets credit for some of the growth, the upward trend goes back more than a decade.

Recent research focused on students who study fully online found that, in a 12-month period, the number of students grew from 3.5 million to 5.8 million, or from 17.6% percent to 22.7%.

It’s no surprise to see this type of growth, because earning a degree online offers numerous benefits. You can study when and where you want, using the latest technologies. Avoiding the commute to and from class adds more hours back to your day. And you can tap into a broad, rich network of instructors and students without the traditional geographical constraints of in-person education.6

For individuals in the military, online learning can meet their unique needs. No matter where a service member is stationed or their branch, they easily get access to accredited universities that offer a variety of degrees that can complement their military experience.

One such program that’s attractive to military members is the online Bachelor of Science (BS) in Medical Laboratory Science from the University of Cincinnati College of Allied Health Sciences. It’s an excellent choice for active or former service members who completed a clinical laboratory technician or medical laboratory technician associate degree (CLT/MLT), or have equivalent work experience.

Our online BS in Medical Laboratory Science program is designed to emphasize the technical and academic skills necessary for today’s medical laboratory scientists. The coursework prepares students for the competencies, ethics, and professionalism outlined by the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, and it preps students for the medical laboratory science board certification exam.

Meet Erin Rumpke, Medical Laboratory Science Program Director

We recently spoke with Erin Rumpke, MS, MLS(ASCP)cm, about University of Cincinnati (UC) Online’s medical science laboratory bachelor’s degree program and its suitability for military students.

Bachelor’s Degree Well-Suited for Military

UC Online welcomes military students from every service branch and every corner of the globe. With the Medical Science Laboratory bachelor’s program courses available 24/7, it’s ideal for an enlisted service member working in a U.S. or international lab.

“Our online degree is a bachelor’s completer program where students — regardless of if they’re military or not — come in with previous clinical laboratory experience and complete the program in just over two years,” Professor Rumpke says.

She explains that most students come into the program with a hefty amount of life experience since the average age is 37. “They’ve lived a lot of their life in that timeframe and arrive with knowledge they can often apply toward the degree’s clinical rotation requirements, which they complete wherever they’re stationed or live”.

Explore a Medical Laboratory Scientist‘s core responsibilities and the career outlook and earning potential for this in-demand job

The inherent flexibility of a UC Online degree means that military members can easily manage their schoolwork with other obligations, including reserve duties, weekend drills or a full-time job. Erin says that if the student’s military obligation requires them to miss a key deadline, such as an exam, they send the course instructor a copy of their orders and schedule time to do the required make-up work.

“We’ve had easy to manage scenarios such as students who are required to complete weekend duty assignments, and more complex situations, such as students who receive mobilization orders in the middle of a class or abruptly tell us that they have to be away for a year”, Erin says. “We recognize their service to our country is a top priority, and are here to help them continue their education when they return”.

Leading Education for Medical Laboratory Scientists

Another aspect that makes UC Online’s BS program a leading choice for students is that it covers advanced medical laboratory science topics and is kept current with what’s happening in the field today. “The advanced level of information in the program pairs well with our students’ use of the cutting-edge technologies and applications required in the military,” Prof. Rumpke said.

Two of the courses military students enjoy are:

  • Advanced Clinical Microbiology, a study of the microorganisms associated with human infectious processes. Students review characteristics, isolation, identification and specialized antimicrobial techniques associated with pathogenic bacteria, and the role of the microbiology lab in a healthcare setting.
  • Advanced Clinical Molecular & Immunological Diagnostics, an advanced study of clinical Immunology and molecular biology, focusing on classical and emerging diagnostic applications using molecular and immunologic principles and testing techniques used across laboratory disciplines, immunologic and molecular mechanisms of inheritance and disease, related testing and ethical implications

More Career Advancement Opportunities, Better Pay for an In-Demand Job

Earning a bachelor’s degree often opens doors for enlisted military members seeking more responsibility or career advancement — or for those who want to move to a higher rank. “Our students’ military experience, coupled with their education here, can help them get a promotion or new leadership position,” Erin says. For many, that means moving from the E1-E4 to E5-E6 ranking, or even higher.

A bachelor’s degree also qualifies individuals for the officer track, giving potential students a range of career options. For service members who leave the military after earning their BS degree, many enter the corporate healthcare or nonprofit worlds, finding employers eager to hire high-caliber, detail-oriented former military for their critical positions.

Today, with the pandemic still being a huge concern for most parts of the world, medical laboratory scientists are in high demand, expanding career advancement opportunities more than ever before. Fueling this field’s growth are emerging specialty areas and new high-complexity labs opening. “The healthcare field is starving for qualified people,” she says. “With our military students’ inherent leadership skills, experience, and their education, they should be able to find job opportunities wherever they go.”

Yellow Ribbon-Participating University

Military students choosing UC Online appreciate our long-time dedication to virtual learning and the University’s connection to the Yellow Ribbon provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that helps them leverage their military benefits. (Learn more about our Yellow Ribbon partnership.)

UC has an entire office dedicated to military service member and veteran support. Additionally, UC is proud to be one of only three academic establishments in Ohio to be a part of VetSuccess. This program provides counseling services to veterans, service members and their dependents — and it extends to online students and out-of-state students, too.

Program Designed for Your Engagement and Success

UC Online offers you a balance of educational excellence and real-world experience, which makes what you learn in the program easily applicable to what you do at work. You can talk through lab situations with course instructors and fellow students, and this enriches your educational journey.

Another key partner in your experience here is your Student Success Coordinator. They’re with you from day one to answer your questions along the way, keeping you on the best path to complete your degree.

Here’s who else is in your corner: More than 2,000 graduates of the program (the largest in the nation). You can tap into this network early on in your studies or after graduation, using LinkedIn or your military connections to initiate and foster invaluable relationships.

Speaking of UC grads, they often continue their education at University of Cincinnati. Students who graduate with a BS in Medical Laboratory Science can go on to earn a Master’s in Medical Laboratory Science degree, which provides them with the knowledge and skills they need to address advances in high-complexity and specialized testing and the administration of a diagnostic laboratory. And, graduates of our Bachelor’s in Medical Laboratory Science program are eligible for a scholarship for our Master’s of Laboratory Science Leadership degree program.

Our commitment to military students is strong, and we continue to be excited about the career potential for our BS in Medical Laboratory Science program grads.

If you’re ready to take the next step to learn more about our program and how it’s a great fit for active or former military members, connect with a UC Online enrollment specialist online today to learn more.

About Associate Professor Erin Rumpke

Erin Rumpke, MS, MLS(ASCP)cm

As the Program Director, Prof. Rumpke is well-versed in our military students’ experience in the program and understands the career opportunities for medical laboratory scientists.

When UC created the distance-learning Medical Science Laboratory degree in 2004, we rooted the program’s foundational elements in our on-campus degree, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2022. She was the online bachelor program’s first clinical coordinator, working in that role until she accepted a full-time faculty appointment in 2015.

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