Clinical Laboratory Scientist Training Program


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

The program is ~55 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 coursework online.

If you are interested in applying to our program, we encourage you to read all of the information on this page, as well as all of the information provided in the PDF documents at the bottom of this page.

If your hospital is interested in affiliating with our program, please email us at We always welcome new affiliates!

Note: We also have a Clinical Genetic Molecular Biologist Scientist (CGMBS) Program. Click on this link for more information.

Dates, Deadlines, and Timelines

We take two cohorts a year. 

Spring Cohort:

  • The application deadline is July 15th.
  • Interviews are held in late September to early October.
  • Orientation is in February or March, with coursework and training starting shortly after. 
  • Online courses and in person on site training last for 52 weeks. 

Fall Cohort: 

  • The application deadline for the Fall Cohort is January 15th.
  • Interviews for the Fall Cohort are usually in mid to late March.
  • Orientation is in August or September, with coursework and training starting shortly after. 
  • Online courses and in person on site training last for 52 weeks. 

Clinical Affiliates

Students who are admitted to our program will train on site at one of our hospital affiliates. We have affiliated hospitals throughout the State of California. Currently our clinical affiliates include:

  • Adventist Health Bakersfield
  • Adventist Health Hanford
  • Adventist Health Lodi Memorial
  • Adventist Health and Rideout Marysville
  • Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster
  • Bakersfield Memorial Hospital
  • Dignity Health Sacramento
  • El Camino Hospital in Mountain View
  • Enloe Medical Center in Chico
  • Fairchild Medical Center in Yreka
  • Feather River Hospital in Paradise
  • Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach
  • Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara
  • Kaiser Permanente San José
  • Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento
  • Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria
  • Mercy Medical Center in Redding
  • Mercy Medical Center in Merced
  • Natividad Medical Center in Salinas
  • Oroville Hospital
  • Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
  • Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
  • Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San José
  • St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton
  • Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding
  • Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto
  • Stanford Healthcare ValleyCare in Pleasanton

Note: Every one of our clinical affiliates do not participate each cycle. Some affiliates take students each cycle, others take  students once a year or once every 18 months.

Program Admission Requirements

  • Conferred Bachelor's Degree in Biology or a related field
  • 18 semester units of biology courses
  • 16 semester units of chemistry courses including including Quantitative Analysis (or Clinical Chemistry) and Biochemistry
  • 3 semester units of Physics (must include optics and electromagnetism)
  • Hematology, Immunology and Medical Microbiology completed with a grade of B or better within 5 years of application to the program 
  • In addition to the courses required to be eligible for the CLS Trainee License, our program requires completion of a Genetics course and a Human (or Mammal) Physiology course
  • Overall GPA of 2.8 or higher (includes your Masters Degree courses if applicable)
  • Valid CLS Trainee License issued by the State of California Department of Public Health
  • Acceptance by the SJSU CLS Training Program Selection Committee and a Clinical Affiliate
  • Legal right to work in the United States
  • Meet admission requirements for San José State University 

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

All prerequisites must be completed with grades documented by the application deadline. 

Note: Our SJSU CLS Training Program Admission Requirements complement the requirements of California Laboratory Field Services (LFS) for a CLS Trainee License. 

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:

National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)

Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc (AICE)

Note: Foreign students must also complete a minimum of 12-semester units of upper-division prerequisite coursework in the United States. Your bachelor's degree, TOEFL score, and foreign transcripts must also be deemed acceptable by SJSU Admissions (link)

How to Apply

1. Begin by ensuring you have an email address that allows you to use G Suite by Google. This is the platform we use for most of our application process.

2. Send an email to and enter in the subject line: INTENT TO APPLY - Spring 2022. You must have a valid CLS Trainee license by the application deadline.

If you do not think you will be ready to apply until the following application cycle, enter in the subject line: INTENT TO APPLY - Fall 2022. 

3. 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). We will not be accepting these documents through postal mail.

4. You will also be provided with a shared Google Sheet (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 Academic and Professional Recommendations on your shared Google Sheet as they are received from your recommenders.

Please upload PDF files, not JPG or PNG. Photos and screenshots are not acceptable.

When all of the required application documents are assembled in your shared Google folder and accounted for on the shared Google Sheet:

1. Print and sign Application Attestation Form (found below)

2. Make a check or money order for $100 payable to SJSU Research Foundation

3. Mail Application Attestation Form and your check or money order to our office at this address:

SJSU CLS Training Program

1 Washington Square

San Jose, CA 95192-0100

Note: 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. 

Required Supporting Documents

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

Academic and Professional Recommendations

Applicants are asked to provide three academic/professional recommendations. Recommenders must complete our official Recommendation Form (link). Please request at least one recommendation from a professor who knows you well and at least one recommendation from a person (ideally in a supervisory capacity) who is familiar with your work. Either paid employment or volunteer work provide good opportunities for recommendations. We do not accept recommendations from co-workers, friends or peers. If your professor or supervisor is willing to write a letter in addition to filling out our form, it will be beneficial to your application.

Since your recommendations need to be confidential between your recommender and the SJSU CLS Training Program, they will need to be emailed from your recommenders directly to We will update your shared Google Sheet as they are received, but you will not have access to them.


Please provide copies of transcripts or unofficial transcripts supporting all of your prerequisite coursework as well as your bachelors degree. We do not require official transcripts at this point. Official transcripts will be required if you are accepted into our program. Documents should be PDF format with your name and educational institution clearly indicated. If you have official paper transcripts you may scan them and send them to us that way.

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. Provide 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. 

CLS Trainee License

You are required to have a valid CLS Trainee License granted by the State of California by the application deadline.

Technical Standards Form

Candidates are required to sign and upload a copy of the Technical Standards Form (link). This form indicates that you have the physical capabilities required for the work of a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. 


We expect to see a professional resume. It should be clear, consistently formatted, and free of typos. SJSU and our affiliates reserve the right to require verification of anything appearing on your resume. 

Personal Statement

Follow the instructions and prompt exactly (link). It is very obvious to us when an applicant is using a standardized statement. Remember, our Application Review Committee as well as all of our participating Clinical Affiliates may be reading your Personal Statement.

Related Licenses and Certificates

If you have an MLT, CPT1, or related license, please provide a copy of the license. If you have an MLS or related certificate, please provide a copy of the certificate.

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 onto the current Google Sheet that will be provided in your Google application Folder. This streamlines the process for you as a candidate as well as the committee. 

Common Questions

What is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist?

A Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) is approved to perform high complexity clinical lab tests in California. In other states and countries, the general job duties of a CLS most closely resemble the job duties of a Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) or a Medical Technologist (MT). For a more detailed description, please click on this link.

When should I plan on applying to a particular cohort?

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

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.

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?

Our program is highly competitive. 

For each cohort we receive approximately 140 applications. The selection committee evaluates candidates and scores them with a standardized rubric. Those scores are compiled and candidates are 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 based on application scores, candidate preference, and hospital education coordinator preference.

To be a competitive candidate, we suggest that you:

  • Have a a high Overall GPA as well as a high Science and Math GPA 
  • Write a compelling personal statement
  • Have strong support from recommenders 
  • Provide evidence of relevant lab skills through completion of a number of biology and chemistry lab courses
  • Provide evidence of relevant lab skills through work experience

Note: We strongly encourage candidates to take the lab component for Quantitative Analysis (or Clinical Chemistry), Hematology, Immunology, and Medical Microbiology as they are particularly key to the profession of a CLS. In person lab courses are preferred over online lab courses. 

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?

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.

Prerequisite courses are also offered by many other institutions and are acceptable. We are simply giving examples of the institutions we are most familiar with. 

Online courses are acceptable.

How can I apply for the required CLS Trainee license? Where can I find more information?

You can apply for the CLS Trainee License by clicking on this link. Information about the license and its requirements are also provided. 

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 final steps in determining who is accepted into the program, and ultimately placed at a particular training site?

1. Only selected candidates will be invited to tour and interview with representatives of our participating clinical sites. 

2. Candidates will be ranked and matched per our matching protocol outlined in the our Scoring and Matching Process document (link).

3. 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.

4. 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? Are there other expenses I should expect? Do affiliates pay stipends?

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.

Students must have a computer with webcam and microphone, as well as reliable wifi. This is necessary for Live Zoom based lectures as well as our testing platforms that resemble the experience one would expect at a modern testing center. 

Expect to spend approximately $400 dollars on required and recommended textbooks. 

Most of our clinical affiliates offer a stipend ranging from $1,000-$3,000 per month. Other less common benefits may include students being paid as a minimum-wage benefited employee, or receiving housing benefits. Although most of our sites pay stipends, currently 2 of our affiliates do not. 

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

Approval and Accreditation

The SJSU CLS Training Program is approved by Laboratory Field Services, a division of the California Health and Human Services Agency 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


Who is Doing All those COVID-19 Tests? Why You Should Care About Medical Laboratory Professionals (link)

SJSU CLS Training Program Expands in a Crisis (link)

Adventist Health Bakersfield Creates New Affiliation With San Jose State for Lab Scientists (link)


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, Associate Director


Mailing address:

San José State University, Clinical Laboratory Science Program

One Washington Square

San José, CA  95192-0100


Sharlene Washington,
Jun 8, 2021, 10:35 PM
Sharlene Washington,
Oct 10, 2018, 9:32 AM
Michael Bowling,
Apr 26, 2021, 1:22 AM
Michael Bowling,
Apr 26, 2021, 1:24 AM
Michael Bowling,
Apr 26, 2021, 5:00 PM
Michael Bowling,
Apr 26, 2021, 1:31 AM