Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Linda Spatig

Second Advisor

Michael Cunningham

Third Advisor

Teresa Eagle

Fourth Advisor

Mary Kathryn Gould

Fifth Advisor

Fred Pauley


Online programs are increasing in the field of clinical laboratory sciences (CLS), however there is limited research regarding how well prepared online CLS program graduates are for the workplace, given that the field is highly hands-on skills based. Prior research suggests that online CLS graduates perform as well as their traditional graduate counterparts on national registry examinations, however, there is no information on their job preparedness and performance in the workplace. A qualitative multi-site case study was performed exploring the job preparedness of clinical laboratory science (CLS) professionals with online degrees in both the Associate in Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) and the Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology or Medical Laboratory Science (MT or MLS). Data collection involved interviews of laboratory managers, supervisors, educators, and online graduates in four hospital cases and two higher education online programs that provided employees to the hospitals. Interviews of participants were conducted to gain their perceptions of the preparedness and performance online education provides new graduates for the laboratory workforce. Four salient themes emerged from the findings, the first theme regarded participants’ prior experiences with online education. The amount, and the quality, of the experience participants had with online education was related to their perceptions – the more experience, and the better the quality of the experience, the more positive the perception of online graduates. The second theme regarded the nature of online programs and concerns about the lack of handson activities graduates had during their degree programs. The third theme was the importance of online program quality and reputation. Finally, the influence of job market conditions on hospital hiring practices of CLS graduates, online or otherwise, was the fourth theme. Of the four themes, some crossed over MLT and MLS- level education, and others pertained only to MLT or MLS-level education. The implications of these findings for future research for laboratory professionals, and CLS education administrators are included that pertain to hiring practices of online CLS graduates and CLS online education program design.


Distance education.

Distance education -- Curricula.

Internet in education.

Science -- Study and teaching (Higher)