A local medical education program will continue in Grayson County thanks to its recent re-certification. Grayson College’s Health Science Department is celebrating the re-accreditation of its Medical Laboratory Technology program, a four-semester program currently taught at the college’s south campus in Van Alstyne.

The program that got its start in the 1970s earned its certified by the National Accrediting Agency of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, which is based in Illinois.

“We had our on-site visit with inspectors in the fall and we got the longest extension possible, which is 10 years,” MLT Program Director and Instructor Aimee Flynn said. “We had a clean inspection and the students were apparently impressive enough that we we could be re-accredited without a problem for a whole decade.”

Approximately 50 students are currently enrolled in the course program and can use the classes toward the school’s Associate’s Degree of Applied Sciences, which they earn in a variety of settings.

“We educate, train, and work students through a program that will get them certified to work in blood banks, research centers and hospital labs,” Flynn said of the MLT. “And their work there in those settings is important because 70 percent of valid medical diagnoses are determined from lab testing.”

Amid Grayson College’s various health science specialties —nursing, radiology, dental assisting, EMT and para-medicine — Flynn said a number have achieved successful re-accreditation’s in recent years. As for the MLT, Flynn said inspectors consulted a number of individuals and entities connected to the program in basing its assessment.

“They look to make sure that you’ve prepared and processed the students well in all disciplines,” Flynn said. “They check to see that you’re teaching them on the proper equipment, that we’re teaching them the necessary safety techniques and documenting all safety matters. They talk to the students and talk to the clinics that hire them.”

One such employer Flynn pointed out is Texoma Medical Center. She said roughly 80 percent of TMC’s current lab tech staff graduated from Grayson’s MLT program. Flynn said graduates find work locally and in neighboring counties, but an increased demand for medical skills has also radiated out from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“The growth is coming north and all those job openings are going to be up for grabs,” Flynn said. “We’re a big feeder to this county and to some areas north of the Metroplex, like McKinney, Cooke County over to Bonham and Fannin County and even Hunt County.”

Drew Smith is a reporter for the Herald Democrat. Contact him at asmith@heralddemocrat.com.