Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Student Externship at CHOP

Medical laboratory scientists perform laboratory testing in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to provide critical support for physicians and patients every day. From reporting time-sensitive laboratory results to validating cutting-edge clinical tests, our medical laboratory scientists play an active role on the CHOP care team.

The MLS student externship program is designed to introduce third- and fourth- year MLS students to laboratory medicine in a pediatric healthcare setting. Students are employed part-time to perform pre-analytical and post-analytical work in the clinical laboratory on evenings, nights and/or weekends. The goal is to provide exposure, foster skill development, and promote a smooth transition to full-time employment upon graduation. Please note, the externship does not satisfy an MLS program’s requirement for clinical rotations.

About the position

Students are hired into a specific laboratory section in the summer months (see timeline below). Initially, students complete full-time training on the day shift (2 to 4 weeks minimum), during which time they are trained on specific benches and tasks. In the fall following completion of training, students transition to a part-time schedule on evenings, nights and/or weekends to execute learned skills. The minimum commitment is one eight-hour shift per week.


MLS students interested must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of 60 credit hours in an NAACLS-accredited MLS program, and currently in good standing.
  • Compliance with all CHOP pre-employment requirements, including COVID-19 vaccination.

Application process

MLS students meeting the criteria stated above may be hired into the MLS externship role. Applications can be submitted at any time and are reviewed on a rolling basis, until all offers are made in May (see timeline below). Selected applicants will be invited for virtual/in person interviews.

Application timeline

May: Final offers made
June: Background check completed
July/August: Full-time training in laboratory
September - graduation from MLS program: Part-time employment: evening, night and/or weekends

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine has a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) which fosters a work environment that encourages staff from every nation, race/ethnicity, belief, gender, sexual identity, disability and culture to feel respected, appreciated and valued for their unique contributions to the care of our patients and families. 

Read our Portraits in Diversity celebrating the talented and accomplished Black laboratory scientists, staff and leaders in The Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. 

The DEI Committee in The Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at CHOP is honored to highlight the stories of some of our own LGBTQ+ staff members – and their allies – with you in this booklet


What is the interview process?

Once an application is submitted, a CHOP recruiter will contact qualified applicants in a reasonable amount of time to schedule a virtual or an in-person interview as appropriate.

Can I express interest in working in a specific laboratory?

Yes, depending upon the availability of the position.

Is this a paid position?

Yes, this is a paid position. After applying, a CHOP recruiter will reach out to you with details about hourly wage and benefits. 

My MLS program does not have a formal relationship with CHOP. Can I still apply?

Absolutely. Students are welcome from any MLS program. This job is separate from (and does not replace or fulfill) clinical rotations that are a standard part of any MLS program.

What kind of work will I do in the lab?

As students have not completed MLS training, they are not able to perform analytical work in the laboratory. Students may be asked to complete pre-analytical work, such as aliquoting samples and loading samples on the analyzer and performing CLIA waived tests or post-analytical work, including communicating laboratory values and storing completed specimens. Students may also perform other tasks ranging from inventory management to basic instrument maintenance.

How does this position differ from a MLS clinical rotation?

While the externships exposes an MLS student to laboratory operations, it lacks the full range of a clinical rotation experience, education and assessment (written and practical). As such, it would not meet the requirements for a NAACLS clinical rotation.

Can I sign up for more than one shift per week?

If there is operational need for additional help, students may sign up for additional shifts during days, nights, evenings, weekends and holidays as their schedule permits. Additional shifts will be paid at the employee’s hourly wage.