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
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.
- Two-and-a-half year, full-time, Diploma program
- On-campus lectures and clinical labs deliver a solid theoretical and practical foundation
- A 35-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
- Have strong critical thinking and organizational skills
- 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 Entrance Requirements 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.
Note: In alignment with public health orders, this program requires that students be vaccinated for a number of communicable diseases – including COVID-19.
January 2022 Matrix
The Medical Laboratory Science curriculum has been revised effective for the September 2022 intake. Students that began the program prior to September 2022, please refer to the January 2022 cohort matrix [PDF]
The Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) 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 are located in a variety of accredited laboratories throughout BC including the Interior, the Kootenay region, Vancouver Island and the Greater Metro Vancouver area. Not all clinical facilities are easily accessible by public transportation, students assigned to these sites must have access to personal transportation. Students are responsible for travel, accommodation arrangements and costs to, during and from their clinical experience. Students continue with their didactic studies thru on-line learning while on their clinical placement and stable internet access is required.
Note: For clinical site assignment, an automated matching program is used, where students input their preferences for clinical placements. However, there is no guarantee that students will receive a clinical site assignment from their list of preferred sites. Students must be prepared to attend their assigned placement at any of the clinical sites in the province.
- 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
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.
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
Curious as to what Medical Laboratory Technologists do on the job? See WorkBC’s video explaining the skills required to succeed as a Medical Laboratory Technologist.
Want to advance your education? After graduating, complete a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science program through the University of British Columbia.
Donna O’Neill, MLT (CSMLS)
The Medical Laboratory program faculty are all CSMLS certified (Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science).
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).
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
Additional resources for Internationally Educated Medical Laboratory Technologists (IEMLT)
Program details FAQs
- How big are the classes?
- Can I do this program part-time?
- Can I apply for transfer credit for my college/university courses?
- I plan on working part time while going to school. What does the program recommend?
- How many hours per week will I spend on school work?
- Am I responsible for costs throughout clinical placement?
- Where will I do my clinical placement?
- Is there a pathway to degree completion?
- What if I am colour blind?
- What if I am hearing impaired?
Program admission FAQs
- How competitive is the program, and is there a wait list?
- Can I apply to the program while I’m working on meeting the prerequisites, or do I need to wait until all are complete?
- What if I have the prerequisites, but they are from more than 5-years ago?
- I did not receive a ‘B’ in English 12, will my post-secondary English marks be considered?
- I need to meet the English 12 requirement, what are my options?
- What if I write challenge exams and do not achieve the necessary grade?
- Do you consider out of country credentials as meeting the prerequisite requirements for the MLS program?
- Do you consider GPA in the selection process?
- What can I do to prepare myself for success in the selection process?
- I have met prerequisites for the program. What post-secondary courses can you recommend to support my success in the program?
How big are the classes?
Lectures are a cohort of 80 students, and in sets of 20 for laboratory activities.
Can I do this program part-time?
The program is only offered in a full-time format.
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.
Refer to Admission & Registration.
I plan on working part time, while going to school. What does the program recommend?
Working part-time is not recommended, given the rigorous expectations of the program.
How many hours per week will I spend on school work?
In terms 1-4 prepare to be in class from 0830 to 1630, Monday through Friday. 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?
Is there a pathway to degree completion?
Upon graduation and CSMLS Certification, 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.
What if I am colour blind?
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?
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.
How competitive is the program and is there a wait list?
We typically interview 140-160 applicants for 80 seats in the program. Acceptance is based on the ranked aggregate score achieved during the selection process.
Participants who are not among the top 80 will be placed on a wait list for the current intake, in the event 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 midterm reports. Refer to Using Your Midterm Grades for information on submitting midterm marks. When submitting midterm marks, your final marks should be submitted no later than one month prior to the start of the program.
What if I have the prerequisites, but they are from more than 5-years ago?
To meet the recency requirement, courses should have been completed within 5-years from the calendar year of start date in the program. As 5-year recency is preferred, 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, Chemistry and Physics.
I did not receive a ‘B’ in English 12, will my post-secondary English marks be considered?
Yes, refer to Admission & Registration.
I need to meet the English 12 requirement, what are my options?
There are a number of upgrading and assessment test options available.
What if I write challenge exams and do not achieve the necessary grade?
You will have only one opportunity to write each challenge exam. If you are unsuccessful, you must then upgrade to meet prerequisites. A student who registers and writes a challenge exam a second time will be given the mark from their first attempt.
Do you consider out of country credentials as meeting the prerequisite requirements for the MLS program?
Please refer to Admission & Registration for information on International high school equivalencies. Please note we will be looking for courses that meet equivalency, recency, and the relevant letter grade criteria.
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?
Yes, GPA is used in the departmental review process to short list applicants.
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 and 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?
We recommend post-secondary courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology and other medical laboratory-related courses.
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