Full-time Diploma 6580diplt

Overview

Note: The January 2015 intake is now closed for new applications. Applications for advanced placement and readmission may be submitted. The January 2016 intake will start accepting applications on January 2, 2015 (or next business day).

Please check our list of programs that may have space available or access our program database for a complete list of BCIT programs.

With one of the highest pass rates in the country, BCIT’s Medical Laboratory Science program is known for producing high-quality and well-prepared graduates who are ready to start working from day one.

Medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) perform over 1.2 million lab tests every day in Canada. Doctors use these tests to make diagnoses that impact patient health. Our grads play a critical role in ensuring patients get the right treatment and health care they need.

About the program

  • Two-and-a-half year, full-time, Diploma program
  • On-campus lectures and clinical labs deliver a solid theoretical and practical foundation
  • A 42-week clinical placement provides direct learning in a workplace lab setting

Students are ready to write the national certification exam upon graduation. See Program Details to learn more about BCIT’s Medical Laboratory Science program.

Who it’s for

This program is for individuals who:

  • Have a high school diploma or higher level of education with science and math courses
  • Have an aptitude for mathematics and scientific work
  • Are interested in detailed, precise, analytical work 
  • Are willing to work shifts with varying schedules 

Find out if this program is right for you. See Program Entry for more information on requirements and applying.

What grads can do

Our grads get hired, with many being offered employment before completing the program. Visit Graduating and Jobs to learn more about a future in medical lab science.

Program Entry

Application processing

Applications accepted January 2nd* to June 1st*

*or next business day

Note: This program does not accept applications from International students. View programs that do

Entrance requirements

Competitive Entry: Three-step process

This program is competitive and preference will be given to applicants who have fully met the academic entrance requirements.

Step 1: Meet the following entrance requirements

  • English: two years of education in English in an English-speaking country with one of the following:
  • Biology 12 (73%) or BHSC 0100 or BHSC 0012 or equivalent*

  • Chemistry 12 (73%) or assessment (CHEM 0120) or equivalent

  • Physics 11 (67%) or PHYS 0309 or assessment (PHYS 0110) or equivalent

  • Math: one of the following:
    • Principles of Mathematics 12 (73%) or
    • Applications of Mathematics 12 (86%) or
    • Pre-Calculus 12 (73%) or
    • MATH 0001 or assessment (MATH 0120) or equivalent

  • Complete the following form for submission with your online application:
    • Program Requirement Form [PDF]: To acknowledge the nature of this training and the physically demanding nature of this work.

With the exception of English and Physics, these academic entrance requirements must have been completed during the past five years from the start of the program. Applicants may request to have their credentials reviewed for equivalency and/or recency requirements by contacting the Administrative Coordinator.

*BCIT assesses, on an individual basis, the acceptability of biology prerequisites for applicants who have successfully completed Human Biology courses at a post-secondary level. The Human Biology equivalent courses must include the following course content: cytology, the structure and function of the following organ systems: digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, renal/urinary and reproductive.

Read more about how to meet BCIT’s entrance requirements

Step 2: Requirements for selected applicants

  • All complete applications will be reviewed by the program and shortlisted applicants will be required to complete the Multiple Mini Interview Process (MMI)

During this process, applicants will be assessed by program staff for their suitability for this profession.

Selection into the program will be based on the results of the MMI assessment.

Note: Interviews are usually held in June.

Step 3: Conditionally selected applicants

If you have been conditionally accepted to BCIT you will be notified and the following information will be required in order to be fully accepted into the program:

Once these and any other outstanding conditions have been met, you will receive notification of your full acceptance.

Clinical requirements

Note: Effective immediately, all health care workers who come into contact with patients at publicly-funded health care facilities or in the community, including at long-term-care facilities, will have to get the influenza vaccine or wear a mask during flu season. This policy affects all students who will be entering a clinical setting.

As such, you will be required to provide proof of your immunization or agree to wear a mask at all times through the flu season prior to being placed in your clinical studies.

Recommended for success

  • Proficient level of English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in order to communicate effectively with patients and healthcare team.

  • Exceptional speaking and listening skills with patients and the healthcare team in person and by phone.

  • Strong problem-solving skills, good interpersonal skills and the ability to function as part of a team.

  • The ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure and to make decisions which directly affect the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

  • A strong sense of responsibility, a caring and professional attitude, meticulous work habits, good hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and good manual dexterity.

  • Physical stamina: Medical laboratory work may be physically demanding and can require standing for long periods of time.

  • The ability to clearly differentiate colours.

  • Strong computer skills which are required during the program training and for eventual employment working with laboratory and hospital information systems.

Apply to program

The January 2015 intake is now closed for new applications. Applications for advanced placement and readmission may be submitted. The January 2016 intake will start accepting applications on January 2, 2015 (or next business day).

You can check the status of your application online at any time using the Student Information System.

Note: This program does not accept applications from International students. View programs that do

BCIT accepts only complete applications. In order to apply:

  • Include proof of meeting all entrance requirements prior to submission
  • Convert all transcripts and supporting documents to PDF files
  • Have a credit card ready to pay the application fee
Apply Now

You can check the status of your application online at any time using the Student Information System.

Scheduled intakes

January each year.

Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)

The program is competency-based and therefore does not ordinarily accept transfer credits for the Medical Laboratory Science courses.

myCommunication

Within 2 business days of submitting your completed application, BCIT will send a message to your personal e-mail and your myBCIT e-mail address. All correspondence about your application will be posted to your online myCommunication account at my.bcit.ca. We'll send you an email when a new message is posted. It's important to watch for these emails, or regularly check your account online.

You can expect to receive communication concerning the status of your application within 4 weeks.

Costs & Supplies

Tuition fees

Please see the Fees, Payments and Refunds section of the website for more information on full-time tuition fees.

Books and supplies

Supplies, in addition to regular school supplies, include appropriate footwear, uniforms, CSMLS trainee membership fee and certification examination fee*.

Level 1:  $1,550
Level 2:  $380
Level 3:  $570
Level 4:  $100
Level 5:  $100

(general estimated cost, subject to change)

Face respirator fit testing: approx $25 per year, annual re-fitting required.

*Please refer to the CSMLS website for current certification examination fee schedule.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance may be available for this program. For more information, please contact Student Financial Aid and Awards.

Courses

Program matrix

Level 1 (January to May/June) Credits
  BHSC 1116 Anatomy and Physiology for Medical Laboratory Science 6.5
  BHSC 1139 Applied Immunology 3.5
  BHSC 1150 Self and Others 2.5
  COMM 1171 Communications for Medical Laboratory Science 1 5.0
  MLSC 1009 Foundations of Clinical Microbiology 3.0
  MLSC 1103 Clinical 1 2.5
  MLSC 1104 Specimen Procurement 2.5
  MLSC 1218 Integrative Medical Laboratory Studies 1 8.5
 
Level 2 (September to December) Credits
  MLSC 1014 Molecular Diagnostic Techniques 1 3.0
  MLSC 1105 Microanatomy 4.0
  MLSC 1223 Transfusion Science 1 4.0
  MLSC 2008 Clinical Microbiology 1 8.0
  MLSC 2114 Hematology 1 5.0
  MLSC 2116 Clinical Chemistry 1 8.0
 
Level 3 (January to May) Credits
  MLSC 1115 Histology 8.0
  MLSC 2014 Molecular Diagnostic Techniques 2 2.5
  MLSC 2223 Transfusion Science 2 5.5
  MLSC 3008 Clinical Microbiology 2 8.0
  MLSC 3114 Hematology 2 6.5
  MLSC 3116 Clinical Chemistry 2 8.0
 
Level 4 (June/July to December) Credits
  MLSC 2213 Clinical 2 29.0
  MLSC 2218 Integrative Medical Laboratory Studies 2 3.0
 
Level 5 (January to May) Credits
  MLSC 3213 Clinical 3 26.5
  MLSC 3218 Integrative Medical Laboratory Studies 3 2.5
 
Total Credits: 165.5

Transfer credit

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.

Program Details

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.

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.

Clinical partners

  • Fraser Health Authority
  • Interior Health Authority
  • LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services
  • Providence Health Authority
  • Provincial Health Services Authority
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority

Program length

This program spans two-and-one-half years, full-time, beginning in January each year. This includes a three-month break (June-August) after the first level, and a one-month break (June) the following summer after level 3. Students will complete level 5 of the program the following May, and will write CSMLS national certification examinations in early June after completing Level 5.

Grading

All MLSC courses have a pass grade of 60%, with the exception of all clinical placements and the supporting online learning materials which have a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade. To continue from one level of the program to the next, all courses must be successfully completed in each level. As well, to graduate, all courses must be successfully completed including the online learning materials which support the level 4 and 5 clinical education terms.

Accreditation

The BCIT Medical Laboratory Science diploma program holds 6-year accreditation status with the Canadian Medical Association Conjoint Accreditation Services.

Continue your education

The Canadian healthcare system is constantly evolving with the establishment of new responsibilities for care and treatment. Entering the Medical Laboratory Science field means that you are prepared for lifelong learning as your chosen career continues to change. Opportunities exist for graduates to continue training into laboratory information systems, advanced medical laboratory practice and management. Graduates also pursue opportunities in the areas of laboratory instrument sales and technical support, research and medical laboratory education.

On completion of the diploma program and Medical Laboratory Technologist Certification with the CSMLS, students are eligible to apply for degree transfer into year 3 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 UBC BMLSc degree.

Graduating & Jobs

Our graduates get work

Employers know to expect the best from BCIT grads. Across the country, our grads are working in medical laboratories and providing accurate, high-quality medical testing so that patients receive the best healthcare possible.

After writing their Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) exam for medical laboratory technologists, most of our students find work within two months of graduation.

Career opportunities

MLT careers often start in hospitals and private clinics, working in core labs performing high value, automated testing. It’s a job that requires precision, technical skills, and analytical thinking. Annual, full-time salaries start at approximately $50,000.

Other career paths that offer opportunities to advance or specialize your career include:

  • Administrative and coordinator positions
  • Laboratory information management systems (LIS)
  • Public health laboratories
  • Canadian Blood Services
  • BC Laboratory Centre for Disease Control 
  • Veterinary and industrial laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical and biological supply houses
  • Sales and technical representatives for private companies 
  • Research and development

See what our grads are saying. View the most recent post-grad survey.

Keep learning

Want to advance your education? After graduating, complete a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science program through the University of British Columbia.

Graduate employment outcomes

The BCIT student outcomes reports present summary findings from the annual survey of former students administered by BC Stats one to two years after graduation. These reports combine the last three years of available results for the 2011-2013 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2010-2012 Graduates and for Degree 2009-2011 Graduates. The reports are organized into two-page summaries containing information on graduates' labour market experiences and opinions regarding their education. More detailed information can be accessed at the BC Student Outcomes website.

To view these results, you may need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your Web browser.

Internationally Trained?

Note: BCIT is not currently offering any refresher courses for internationally-trained technologists. Your first step is to connect with CSMLS for information about becoming certified as a medical laboratory technologist in Canada (see links below). If CSMLS has directed you to complete further course work, please contact Colleen Gibson for information.

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
t: 905-528-8642
f: 905-528-4968
w: www.csmls.org

Additional resources for Internationally Educated Medical Laboratory Technologists (IEMLT)

CSMLS IEMLT Certification Process
CSMLS Medical Laboratory Assistant Certification Process
BCSLS Courses and Events

FAQ


How big are the classes?

Students attend most lectures with the cohort of 80 students, and are separated into four sets of 20 for laboratory activities.

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How competitive is the program, and is there a wait list?

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.

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Can I apply to the program while I'm working on meeting the prerequisites, or do I wait until all are complete?

You can only apply when you have fully met the academic requirements. An exception can be made if you are in the process of completing prerequisite courses and can submit interim reports which show you have completed a minimum of 50% of the course work at the time that you apply.

This program is competitive and we schedule two selection dates – one at the end of June, the other mid-September. Only eligible applicants who meet the academic entrance requirements are invited to participate in the selection process. If academic requirements are met by June 1st, you will be scheduled to participate in the selection process.

Please contact the Administrative Coordinator if you require further clarification of your eligibility.

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Can I do this program part-time?

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.

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What if I have the prerequisites, but they are from more than five years ago?

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.

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I did not receive a 'B' in English 12, will my post-secondary English marks be considered?

Admissions will assess post-secondary transcript(s) for courses that fulfill the English-language proficiency requirement.

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I need to meet the English 12 requirement, what are my options?

There are a number of upgrading and assessment test options.

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What if I write challenge exams and do not achieve the necessary grade?

Note: You will have only one opportunity to write each challenge exam.

  • If you are unsuccessful, you must then upgrade to meet prerequisites.
  • Upgrading can be completed through your local school district or post-secondary institution.
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Do you consider out of country credentials as meeting the prerequisite requirements for the MLS program?

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.

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Do you consider GPA in the selection process?

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.

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What can I do to prepare myself for success in the selection process?

The program looks for well-rounded individuals who will be successful as students and as future medical laboratory technologists (MLT).

  • Ensure that you have researched what it means to be an MLT.
  • Be prepared for a formal interview process.
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I have met prerequisites for the program. What post-secondary courses can you recommend to support my success in the program?

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.

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Can I apply for transfer credit for my college/university courses?

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.

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I plan on working part time while going to school. What does the program recommend?

Given the rigorous expectations of the program, it is not recommended that you attempt to work.

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How many hours per week will I spend on school work?

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.


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Am I responsible for costs throughout clinical placement?

You are responsible for all transportation, accommodation, and personal expenses throughout the clinical placement.

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Where will I do my clinical placement?

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.

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Is there a pathway to degree completion?

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.

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What if I am colour blind?

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.

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What if I am hearing impaired?

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.

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Faculty, Advisors & Staff

Andre Caron, BSc(MLS), MLT (CSMLS)
Program Head
Tel: 604-432-8537
Email: andre_caron@bcit.ca

Donna O’Neill, MLT (CSMLS)
Clinical Coordinator
Tel: 604-456-8145
Email: donna_o’neill@bcit.ca

Debbie Power
Administrative Coordinator
Tel: 604-456-1257
Email: debbie_power@bcit.ca

Faculty and staff

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)
Heather McMullen, BSc (MLS), MLT (CSMLS)
Karen Mooder, PhD, 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, BEd, 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)
Teresa Place
Tom Wells, BSc, MEd, ART (CSMLS)
Wanda Go, MLT (CSMLS)

Advisory committee

  • Attila Almos, Fraser Health Authority
  • Malcolm Ashford, BC Society for Laboratory Science
  • Terry Brent, Interior Health Authority
  • Brenda Jackson, BC Biomedical Laboratories
  • Dr. Lawrence, Haley Fraser Health Authority

Contact Us

Questions or comments?

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As well, if you meet any of the following criteria, please follow the links for more information, instead of sending the form:

The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy.

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The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy.

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Testimonial

Picture of Meghan McLennan in St Paul's Hospital

"BCIT has an excellent reputation for training competent MLTs, which can be observed in the pass rate achieved on the CSMLS competency exam. For me personally, the balance between theory at BCIT and the practical experience at our clinical sites was instrumental in passing the competency exam and successfully finding a job."

Meghan McLennan
MLSC Graduate, 2010
Lab Research Coordinator
St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver


CSMLS Exam Prep

This information session provides exam details and how you can prepare effectively.

Note: This information session was held May 6, 2013 and topics discussed in this session are subject to change without notice.