Full-time Diploma 6580diplt


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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 program

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.

Program Entry

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.

Applications accepted January 1st* – June 1st

*or next business day

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

Step 1: Entrance requirements

  • Two years of education in English in an English-speaking country with one of the following:
    • English 12 (73%) or
    • Three credits of post-secondary English, Humanities or Social Sciences (73%) from a recognized institution

    What if I don’t meet these English requirements?

  • Biology 12 (73%) or BHSC 0100 or equivalent*
  • Chemistry 12 (73%) or assessment (CHEM 0120)
  • Physics 11 (67%) or PHYS 0309 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)

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

With the exception of English, 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 at 604-456-1257.

Challenge Exams

* Biology: 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. BHSC 0012 - Biology 12 Challenge Exam is acceptable for applicants who do not meet the five year recency requirement.

** Physics: BCIT assesses, on an individual basis, the acceptability of post-secondary physics courses and related work experience. Contact the Administrative Coordinator for additional information.

Step 2: Requirements for selected applicants

  • Multiple Mini Interview Process (MMI)

All applications are reviewed and all eligible are invited to participate in a MMI (multiple mini interviews) process. During this process, applicants will be assessed by several program faculty for their suitability for this profession.

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

Interview priority will be given to applicants meeting all of the required academic entrance requirements. The following criteria will be considered when prioritizing applicant interviews:

  • All academic entrance requirements have been met and final grades submitted; or
  • English 12 and two of the academic (Biology, Math or Physics) entrance requirements have been met (final grades submitted) and; submitted together with an midterm mark* of 73% or better on the third outstanding academic course; or
  • Current enrollment in grade 12 with two or more academic entrance requirement courses in progress along with a submitted minimum midterm mark* of 80% (90% for Foundations of Math 12) or better on each academic course in progress.

*Note: Midterm marks should reflect 50% of the course curriculum completed, tested and graded.

Interviews are usually held at the end of 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 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

Note: This program does not accept applications from International students. View BCIT 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 Online

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.


Within 3 weeks of applying to a program, you will be sent a letter in the mail confirming receipt of your application. The letter will identify your student number, BCIT e-mail address and instructions on how to login to your myBCIT account.

All official BCIT correspondence will be sent to your myBCIT account. Check myCommunication often during the application process and throughout your studies at BCIT.

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.


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

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

  • BC Biomedical Laboratories
  • 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.


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.


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

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.

Graduate employment outcomes

The following link takes you to graduate outcome survey results containing mostly labour market results from the 2011-2013 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2010-2012 Graduates.
Note: The survey results will be displayed in a separate browser window. To view these results, you need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your Web browser.

Professional associations

Graduates of the BCIT program are eligible to write the General Registered Technologist national certification examinations set by the CSMLS. Upon completion of the program, graduates write the certification exams in a one-day session. CSMLS offers three sittings of the exams each year in February, June and October.

Internationally Trained?

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

There are a number of upgrading and assessment test options.


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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


Am I responsible for costs throughout clinical placement?

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Faculty, Advisors & Staff

Karen Mooder, PhD, MLT (CSMLS)
Program Head (Quality Initiatives)
Tel: 604-432-8290
Email: karen_mooder@bcit.ca

Marion Regan, PhD, MLT (CSMLS)
Interim Program Head (Operations)
Instructor, Clinical Microbiology
Tel: 604-412-7596
Email: marion_regan@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)
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)
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
  • Deborah Cain, Vancouver Island Health Authority
  • Rose Clarke, Providence Health Care
  • Adriann Esteban, St Paul's Hospital
  • Brenda Jackson, BC Biomedical Laboratories
  • Dr. Lawrence, Haley Fraser Health Authority

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Questions or comments?

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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.