CLS Program Celebrates Five Years of 100 Percent Placement Rates
With a recent offer from a local agency a mere two months into her clinical internship, Celida Sanchez, a senior in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS) Program, is just one example of several CLS students in the past few years that have been recruited prior to their graduation. Sanchez, a senior and vice-president of the CLS student organization, is still deliberating her decision and says that she was initially shocked at being asked so early in her clinical rotations.
“I was with my preceptor and he told me that there were several positions open. Then, he asked me if I was interested,” said Sanchez. “At first, I didn’t believe him, but he told me that he thought I was very good at my job, and he was going to see how this could work, since I’m still a student. I had so many emotions running through my head. I felt very accomplished and thought that this was too good of an opportunity to pass up, but at the same time, I didn’t want to jeopardize my standing in the program.”
CLS Program Director Dr. Lori Torres cites Sanchez’s story and others as a testament to the dire need in the community for trained clinical laboratory professionals.
“We are the only program within about a 300-mile radius training bachelors-level prepared professionals in the discipline. Our graduates are hired almost immediately,” said Torres.
Indeed, over the past five years, 100% of the program’s graduates have been placed, either through paid positions with regional healthcare or nonprofit agencies, or into graduate education. The majority of CLS graduates can be found at the city’s major hospitals, including Del Sol Medical Center, El Paso Children’s Hospital, the Hospitals of Providence (Sierra, Providence Memorial, and Providence East and Transmountain campuses), Las Palmas, and University Medical Center, as well as Memorial Medical Center and MountainView Medical Center in Las Cruces. Others have taken positions outside of the region, including at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Several other alums are currently in medical school.
The program boasts an equally impressive graduation rate record – 100% in 2016, 2019 and 2020. The graduation rates for 2017 and 2018 were 95% and 96%, respectively. The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) requires that the program provide these rates for the second half of the program. In the case of the UTEP CLS Program, that means the senior year for all students.
Torres indicated that partnership with clinical affiliates was key to the program’s low attrition and high graduation rates.
“Not only does the UTEP CLS Program take care of its students, but the clinical affiliates do such an outstanding job of educating the students on medical diagnostics and what it takes to be a super hero in the medical laboratory field,” she said.
For more information about the CLS Program, please visit: www.utep.edu/cls/
The UTEP CLS Program is accredited by the NAACLS:
NAACLS 5600 N. River Rd, Suite 720
Rosemont IL 60018-5119;
ph: 773.714.8880; fx: 773.714.8886;