Clinical Laboratory Scientist Training Program

The Clinical Laboratory Scientist Training Program at San José State University is a 12 month graduate level certificate program that enables students to obtain a Medical Laboratory Scientist certificate from the American Society for Clinical Pathology, as well as a California Clinical Laboratory Scientist license. 

The program is 52 weeks long. Students spend 32 hours a week training on site at one of our hospital affiliates, and 8 hours a week taking part in formal science coursework.

Link for information on our CGMBS program:

Clinical Genetic Molecular Biologist Scientist Program

Where is training provided?

We have affiliated hospitals throughout the State of California.  Students who train at hospitals close to campus attend lectures here at San José State University.  Students who train outside of this area participate in lectures live online. For a list of our clinical affiliates, see PDF below. (Not all clinical affiliates participate each cycle.  Some sites take students each cycle, others take  students once a year or once every 18 months.)

When does the program begin?

After an interview process, selected students enroll in the program for 3 continuous semesters.  We take two cohorts a year, one beginning in August/September and one in February/March.  The lecture portion of training begins a few weeks in advance of the clinical rotations.  The laboratory training component of training continues for 52 consecutive weeks to meet State of California Requirements.

What are the minimum program requirements?

  • Bachelor's Degree in biology or a related field conferred
  • GPA of 2.8 or higher
  • Hematology, Immunology and Medical Microbiology completed with B grades or better within 5 years of application to the program 
  • Valid CLS Trainee License issued by the State of California Department of Public Health
  • In addition to the courses required to be eligible for the CLS Trainee License, our program requires completion of a Genetics course and a Physiology course.

All candidates need to be able to pass a health screen, drug test, and background check and provide proof of current immunizations/immunity to Hepatitis B and other infectious diseases as required by the clinical affiliates. 

All prerequisites must be completed with grades documented (see complete prerequisite list provided in program brochure PDF below). 

Are there additional requirements for applicants with degrees from foreign countries? 

For applicants who have completed prerequisites or a degree in a foreign country, a course-by-course transcript evaluation is required from one of the following agencies.

Foreign students must complete a minimum of 12-semester units of upper-division prerequisite coursework in the United States.

How do I apply?

Begin by ensuring you have a gmail compatible email address as we will be using Google Docs

Send an email to and enter in the subject line:  INTENT TO APPLY - Spring 2021 (or for the following cohort if you don't think you will be ready to apply until that application cycle).

You will be sent a link to a Google folder where you will be able to begin assembling the required documents (Personal Statement, Resume, Transcripts (unofficial OK for this initial screening purpose).  We will not be accepting these documents through postal mail.

You will also be provided with a Google spreadsheet where you provide us with pertinent information including a list all of the schools that we should expect to see transcripts from, License information and a list of your recommenders along with their contact information.  The CLS Program will log in the required Letters of Recommendation on this spreadsheet as they are received (as they are confidential between the CLS Program and the recommender, you will not have access to them).  Some instructions on how to use the Google spreadsheet appear at the top for your convenience.

Please upload PDFs NOT jpg or png (photos or screenshots are not acceptable).

Recommenders should send their recommendation letters via email to:  

When all of the required application documents are assembled and accounted for on the shared google doc, you will complete and send your Attestation along with your Application Fee to our office. Mail Attestation and application fee of $100 (check or money order) made payable to SJSU Research Foundation to:

SJSU CLS Training Program

1 Washington Square

San Jose, CA 95192-0100

Our review committee will not look at any of your documents until the application package is complete and we have received your attestation and application fee.

When is the application deadline?    

The application deadline for the Fall Cohort is January 15th.

Monday lecture begins late August. Tuesday - Friday internship begins the first week of September and is one calendar year in length.

Interviews for Fall are usually in mid to late March.

The application deadline for the Spring Cohort is July 15th.

Monday lecture begins mid February. Tuesday - Friday internship begins early March and is one calendar year in length.

Interviews for Spring are usually in late September or early October.

What supporting documents are required?

Applicants are asked to provide three letters of recommendation supporting their application.  A form is supplied below.  Please request letters of support from professors who know you well and/or from people in a supervisory capacity and are familiar with your work. Either paid employment or volunteer work provide good opportunities for letters of recommendation.  We do not accept letters of recommendations from co-workers, friends or peers.  If your professor or supervisor are willing to write a letter in addition to filling out the form, it will be beneficial to your application.

Since your letters of recommendation are confidential between your recommender and the SJSU CLS Training Program, they will be collected via email from your recommender and stored in a folder connected to your application folder where you upload your other supporting documents.

Please provide copies of transcripts supporting all of your prerequisite coursework as well as your bachelors degree.Please note, we do not require official transcripts.  You may scan and upload a copy of your transcripts or a pdf version of your transcripts downloaded from your school's website as long as they are clearly marked by the university with your name.

If prerequisites were taken at a foreign university or your bachelors degree was conferred by a foreign university, we require a copy of your transcript evaluation done by a member of one of the two agencies accepted by Laboratory Field Services (NACES or AICE).  You do not need to provide copies of your foreign transcripts -- only the evaluation.

Your transcripts must be uploaded by you to your Google folder. We will not be accepting them via email or electronic transfer from your university. 

A valid CLS Trainee License granted by the State of California is required at the time of application.

Candidates are also required to sign and upload a copy of the Technical Standards (PDF located at bottom of page), indicating that you have the physical capabilities required for the work of a CLS.


Personal Statement

Note:  There is no longer an "application" form as required in previous application cycles. The selection committee has consolidated the information called for on our prior application form with the information called for on the spreadsheet that will be provided in your application documents folder. Their hope is this will streamline the process for both the candidate and the committee.  Your attestation form (see PDF at the bottom of this page) will serve as your formal notification that your are interested in being considered for a particular application cohort.

When is the deadline for supporting documents?

All supporting documents must be uploaded to your folder and Attestation along with $100 application fee postmarked by the application deadline.  

Supporting documents include:

  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts (and transcript evaluation of educated at a foreign university)
  • Personal Statement (see prompt and instructions below)
  • Resume
  • Valid CLS Trainee License
  • If you are MLT or CPT1, please provide copy of that license

When should I apply?

You must have a CLS Trainee License granted by the State of California in order to be considered.  

In order to apply for a CLS Trainee License, you must have grades for all prerequisite courses and bachelors degree posted to your transcripts.  It can take a month or more for your training license application to be processed and a license granted.  It is up to you to plan your application accordingly.  (See SJSU CLS Training Program Brochure PDF below for complete list of prerequisites).

In addition to the courses required for your CLS Trainee License, you must have completed and have supporting documents reflecting completion/grades for Human or Mammalian Physiology and Genetics.

Is it beneficial to apply early?

Yes! It is advantageous to begin requesting letters and transcripts well in advance of the application deadline in the event any followup is necessary to ensure your file is complete by the application deadline.

All files are submitted to the selection committee as they are completed.  It is helpful to the process of evaluating the large number of applicants if they all don't arrive at the same time.  

If you are prepared, please proceed with submitting your application as early as possible.

How competitive is the application process?

Each 6-month cycle we receive approximately 140 applications.  The selection committee evaluates candidates and scores them with a rubric.  Those scores are compiled and candidates ranked by score.  The selection committee will then invite the highest ranked 40-44 candidates to tour the participating training hospitals and interview with our education coordinators. Ultimately we match and train approximately 25 students each cohort (see Interview and Matching Process PDF below for more information).

To be a competitive, a candidate must:

  • Meet our minimum requirements including at least a 2.8 overall GPA
  • Complete and provide grades for all prerequisites (consult program brochure PDF below for a list of prerequisites)
  • Earn a B grade or better in the courses that are particularly key to the profession of a CLS (Immunology Hematology and Medical Microbiology)
  • Write a compelling personal statement
  • Provide strong letters of support
  • Provide evidence of relevant lab skills (we highly recommend labs for Hematology and Medical Microbiology)
  • Hold a valid CLS Trainee License granted by the State of California, Department of Public Health
Due to the large number of highly qualified candidates, candidates must meet these requirements.

Our program is highly competitive.  We invite  approximately 30% of applicants to tour/interview and place fewer than 20% of all applicants. 

Is there a limit to the number of times I can apply?

Applications are limited to three attempts. Unless a candidate has made significant changes to their application (experience, additional coursework, stronger letters of recommendation, a more compelling personal statement), they will have the same experience with subsequent applications. Re-applicants who may have been invited to interview previously are not guaranteed a subsequent invitation to interview. They must be competitive with the current cohort of applicants. Re-applicants are advised to highlight improvements in their application in their updated personal statement.


Where can I take the prerequisite courses if they are not offered at my university?

Locally, the prerequisites courses are offered by SJSU, SFSU, UC Berkeley Extension, CSU East Bay and CSU Sacramento.  De Anza College offers Hematology, Immunology, Medical Microbiology and Clinical Chemistry through their MLT program on a seat available basis.  

Commonly used online resources include UC Berkeley Extension and University of North Dakota.

We encourage candidates to take the lab component for Hematology and Medical Microbiology as they are particularly key to the profession of a CLS.

Where do I apply for the required CLS Trainee license?

License information can be found at:

Note: Specialist licenses are listed at the top.  You will be applying for the generalist CLS Trainee License and will begin that process at the bottom of that webpage.

What are the steps in the application/acceptance process?

1. Apply for your CLS Training License with the State of California
2. Request an application folder (email to
2. Fill out the spreadsheet provided inside application folder and provide ALL requested information (the information provided here as well as the documents uploaded to your folder will be used by the selection committee to determine who they will be inviting to tours and interviews).  
3. Request letters of recommendation
4. Upload required documents 
5. When ALL of your supporting documents have been uploaded, mail your Attestation along with your application fee.  Remember, you are attesting that your application is COMPLETE.

6. Selected candidates will be invited to tour our participating clinical sites and participate in interviews here on campus. We generally have around 120 applicants every cohort and invite 40-44 candidates to interview for ultimately 20-25 positions.

7. Candidates will be ranked and matched per our matching protocol outlined in the Interview and Matching PDF at the bottom of this website.

8. Candidates who are matched with clinical sites will be given an invitation code to apply to Cal State Apply for admission to SJSU. Do not apply to Cal State Apply without this invitation code.

9. When requested, candidates will be asked to provide official transcripts in support of their application to Cal State Apply. Do not send these transcripts to admissions and records until you are requested to do so.

What is the cost of the program?

The cost of the program is spread out over three semesters, with students taking 15 units each semester for a total of 45 units.  Each unit costs $280. Our students are eligible for federal student loans.

Most of our clinical affiliates offer a stipend ranging from $1,000-$3,000 per month or hire the students training at their facility as a minimum-wage benefited employee.  Currently, there are two sites that do not offer this benefit.

Program Outcomes:

Prospective students can be confident that our program will prepare them for a career as a CLS.  We provide a comprehensive program and are proud of our students' successful careers. 

Graduation/Attrition Rates

100% (235/235) of students who started SJSU CLS Training Program from 2013-2018 successfully graduated from the program.

Board of Certification Pass Rate

99.57% (234/235) of graduates from 2013-2018 passed the ASCP Board of Certification examination within one year of graduation.

Job Placement Rates

99.57% (234/235) of graduates from 2013 to 2018 found employment in the field or in a closely-related field and/or continued their education within one year of graduation


The SJSU CLS Training Program is approved by Laboratory Field Services, a division of the State of California, Department of Public Health (

The program is accredited by the National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) (, and our graduated students are eligible to take the ASCP national certification exam.  For more information, you can contact NAACLS directly at:  5600 N. River Road, Suite 720, Rosemont, IL 60018 or by calling 773-714-8880.  You can also reach them on the web by emailing

See PDFs below for more information.  Prerequisites are listed within the CLS Training Program brochure.


Please send your inquiries to us via email to  Be as clear and complete as possible in your emails so that we can provide you with the best answers to your questions.

As we work with candidates from all over the State of California and beyond, and our students train in hospitals all over the State of California, we find it best to answer ALL inquiries via email. In-person individual consultation is not available.

Contact Information:

Michael Bowling, Program Director

Sharlene Washington, Program Coordinator

San José State University, Clinical Laboratory Science Program

One Washington Square

San José, CA  95192-0100


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