As an integral member of the health care team, the medical laboratory technologist performs laboratory investigations related to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, including analysis of a variety of specimens such as blood, urine, feces, sputum and tissues. Technologists may also have some patient contact primarily through blood collection.
Medical laboratory technologists work in a dynamic and evolving environment, and use a variety of complex instrumentation to produce medical data in a rapid, accurate and precise fashion. Hospitals and private clinical laboratories are the primary work environments for Medical Laboratory Technologists. Other opportunities exist in public health laboratories, research, and educational settings.
The Medical Laboratory Science (MLSC) program curriculum is designed to prepare the student for work within the clinical laboratory. Curriculum and program objectives are built based on the state of practice in the BC medical laboratory community, and on competencies established by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) for entry-level medical laboratory technology.
The program provides theoretical, practical and clinical learning experiences. In this competency-based model, students have the opportunity to first practice, and then demonstrate, competency in a variety of clinical testing domains. Students prove competence through experiences in a clinical setting. Successful completion of this program requires proof of competence in all aspects of the general competency profile [PDF] for CSMLS certification as a medical laboratory technologist. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to write the General Medical Laboratory Technologist certification exam. Successful completion of the certification exam enables one to practice medical laboratory technology across Canada.
Employers are increasingly seeking graduates with a strong base of critical and analytical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. In addition to technical skills, employers value technologists with a commitment to learning and growth that fosters flexibility and an ability to adjust to changing situations. To help students develop the skills required in the health-care system of the future, the program emphasizes the development of professionalism, reasoning and reflection, communication, group process skills, and learning and teamwork skills.
To help students develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and clinical judgment required for success as an entry-level medical laboratory technologist, the program employs a variety of learning strategies that encourage self-directed learning. Students need to be self-aware, self-motivated and able to take initiative to seek and make use of learning opportunities.
On completion of the diploma program and Medical Laboratory Technologist Certification with the CSMLS, and with appropriate prerequisite work in undergraduate general science courses, students are eligible to apply for entry into third year of the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science program at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
For those wishing to pursue this option, it is possible to complete both the BCIT diploma and the UBC BMLSc degree in a time frame of less than five years full time provided the necessary prerequisites have been met.
Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.
BCIT arranges clinical placements for each student. Clinical placements occur throughout the province with the Fraser Health Authority, Interior Health Authority, Providence Health Authority, Provincial Health Services, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Vancouver Island Health Authority, BC Biomedical Laboratories, and LifeLabs. Students are responsible for their own transportation and accommodation while on their clinical placement. Students continue with their didactic studies thru on-line learning while on their clinical placement. Internet access will be required.
Note: Although student input is used for site assignments, there is no guarantee that students will receive their preferred clinical placements. Students may be assigned to a site with any of our clinical partners located throughout the province.
Graduates can expect to work in casual positions at multiple sites at the beginning of their career. Trends in healthcare anticipate a continuous demand for graduates.
Certification as a Medical Laboratory Technologist is nationally recognized. Most Canadian medical laboratories require current certification for employment.
In BC, the starting salary of an entry-level technologist in a medical laboratory is approximately $50,000 full time, per year.
Most laboratory services are required on a 24-hour basis. As a result, the majority of medical laboratory technology positions in laboratories include some shift work (weekends, afternoons, and/or nights).
Certified graduates primarily find work in hospitals or private clinical laboratories. The following organizations, however, also employ medical laboratory technologists: Canadian Blood Services, B.C. Laboratory Centre for Disease Control and other public health laboratories, veterinary and industrial laboratories, clinical research laboratories, pharmaceutical and biological supply houses, and commercial companies in sales, research and product development.
To work as a medical laboratory technologist in BC, you must be certified by the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). The general certification includes clinical chemistry, hematology, clinical microbiology, histology, and transfusion science (also called blood transfusion).
The CSMLS offers credential assessment services to help internationally trained technologists assess their eligibility for certification:
Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS)
33 Wellington Street North
Hamilton, ON L8R 1M7
Students attend most lectures with the cohort of 80 students, and are separated into four sets of 20 for laboratory activities.Top
We typically receive 2.5 applications for each available seat in the program per year. Currently, we accept approximately 80 students. Historically, we invite 120 - 150 applicants to participate in the selection process. Acceptance is based on the ranked aggregate score achieved during the selection process.
Participants who are not among the top 80 ranked will be placed on a wait list for the current intake, in the event that a seat becomes available. The wait list is cleared once the program intake is full and closed; unsuccessful applicants must re-apply to be considered for the next intake.Top
Please contact the Administrative Coordinator if you require further clarification of your eligibility.Top
The program is only offered in a full-time format. Students complete the program as a cohort. Should you need to leave for any reason, you will be required to re-apply.Top
To meet the recency requirement, courses must have been completed within five years from your start date in the program. For the 2014 intake, courses must have been completed by December 31, 2009.
Recency may be waived for Physics, if the Math requirement is successfully met. Admissions will assess post-secondary transcripts for equivalent courses meeting recency and relevant letter grade. If your course work is not within recency, you have the option to either write challenge exams or complete upgrading courses through your local school district or post-secondary institution. Challenge exams exist for Biology, Math, and Physics.Top
Admissions will assess post-secondary transcript(s) for courses that fulfill the English-language proficiency requirement.Top
There are a number of upgrading and assessment test options.Top
Note: You will have only one opportunity to write each challenge exam.
BCIT will assess out of country credentials, provided they are submitted together with a comprehensive ICES report. Please note we will be looking for courses that meet equivalency, recency, and the relevant letter grade.
Challenge exams or upgrading will be required if the prerequisite courses have not been taken within five years from your program start date.
We do not consider GPA. To be eligible for the selection process, applicants are only required to meet the minimum academic entrance requirements, which have been established to ensure the success of the student in the program.Top
The program looks for well-rounded individuals who will be successful as students and as future medical laboratory technologists (MLT).
Post-secondary courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology and other medical laboratory-related courses would strengthen your application and support your overall success in the program.Top
If you feel you have completed courses equivalent to MLS courses, you may apply for individual transfer credit within the first two weeks of the program start.
NOTE: If individual course transfer credit is granted, this will not reduce tuition or the duration of the program. It only reduces course load.Top
Given the rigorous expectations of the program, it is not recommended that you attempt to work.Top
In Levels 1, 2, and 3, prepare to be in class from 0830 to 1630, Monday through Friday. Outside of class time, students are required to work on homework assignments, group projects, and private or group study. An average of 4-5 hours homework per day can be anticipated.
During clinical placement, students need to be prepared to be scheduled for occasional evening, weekend, or night shifts.
You are responsible for all transportation, accommodation, and personal expenses throughout the clinical placement.Top
BCIT arranges clinical training placements for the students. Students will be requested to provide their preferences for clinical placements, but there is no guarantee that they will be assigned to one of their preferences. Training site placements are located in provincial health authorities (Fraser Health, Interior Health, Providence Health, Provincial Health Services, Vancouver Coastal, and Vancouver Island) and LifeLabs.Students may require a car for transportation to clinical training sites and must arrange their own accommodation.
On completion of the diploma program and Medical Laboratory Technologist Certification with the CSMLS, students are eligible to apply for entry into third year of the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). With appropriate prerequisite work in undergraduate general science courses, it is anticipated that a time frame of less than five years full-time will allow for completion of both the BCIT diploma and the UBC BMLSc degree. Additionally, several other institutions, for example, University of Alberta and University of Regina, offer post-diploma Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science degrees; see their websites for details.Top
Colour blindness does not preclude someone being accepted into the program, but we strongly encourage that you reconsider medical laboratory technology as a career.
Many test results are based on the medical laboratory technologist’s ability to differentiate colours. If you are unable to discern colour differences, you will find it difficult to successfully complete the program. In addition, your employment opportunities will be limited as some laboratories cannot hire individuals who are colour blind.Top
Hearing loss does not preclude someone being accepted into the program, but we strongly encourage that you reconsider medical laboratory technologist as a career.
Technologists must be able to communicate with patients and the healthcare team. The majority of this communication is spoken, whether face to face or over the telephone. Depending on the severity of your hearing impairment, your opportunities for a successful clinical experience and your opportunity for employment may be limited.Top
Karen Mooder, PhD, MLT (CSMLS)
Program Head (Quality Initiatives)
Marion Regan, PhD, MLT (CSMLS)
Interim Program Head (Operations)
Instructor, Clinical Microbiology
Donna O’Neill, MLT (CSMLS)
Allan Rempel, MSc, BMLSc, MLT (CSMLS)
Andre Caron, BSc(MLS), MLT (CSMLS)
Anoop Sekhon, BSc, MLT (CSMLS)
Catherine Nordlund, MLT (CSMLS)
Colleen Gibson, BA, BEd, MLT (CSMLS)
Colleen Trombley,ART (CSMLS), MLT (CSMLS)
Heather McMullen, BSc (MLS), MLT (CSMLS)
Johanne Lamarre, BSc, MLT (CSMLS), RM (CCM, ASM), M (ASCP)
Kalwinder Randhawa, MLT (CSMLS)
Karen Steinhauser, BSc, MLA, MOA
Leighton Wickey, MLT (CSMLS)
Marion Regan, BGS PDP, MLT (CSMLS)
Monika Moeller, MLT (CSMLS)
Nancy Tam BSc, MLT (CSMLS) MT (ASCP)
Tammy Hardie, BA, MLT, RT
Salina Tse BSc, MLT (CSMLS) MT (ASCP)
Sally Chuang, MLT (CSMLS)
Susan Heng, BMLSc, MLT (CSMLS)
Suzanne Clark, ART (CSMLS)
Tom Wells, BSc, MEd, ART (CSMLS)
Wanda Go, MLT (CSMLS)
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