Even in the 21st century, tuberculosis continues to be a problem. Although the number of cases continues gradually to decrease in the United States, cases get more difficult to treat, specifically those that are multiple-drug resistant. Infection of one-third of the world's population ensures that tuberculosis will not disappear in the near future. In light of this, it will be useful to know the goals for the health care system and how these goals may be accomplished. Laboratory testing in the mycobacteriology field is experiencing more changes today than ever before. Determining what assays will be most useful to the clinician is a challenge, and acceptance of the new technology by the medical community an even greater one. Clinicians must use the best available resources to determine the most appropriate care for their patients and work together with the laboratory to ensure that the communication channels are open. This review focuses on current state-of-the-art resources useful for accurate and rapid laboratory diagnosis of mycobacterial infections.