In Canada, the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is the national certifying body and professional association for medical laboratory assistants and medical laboratory technologists. For each jurisdiction, there exists a respective organization in Canada to represent the medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) for each province and territory. Sometimes, these organizations are paired up with the regulatory body. There are about 23,000 certified technologists; however, about 14,000 of Canadian medical laboratory technologists are represented by the CSMLS.
The disciplines included in the Canadian medical laboratory technology program are: Clinical Chemistry, Transfusion Medicine, Hematology, Histotechnology, and Clinical Microbiology. These MLT programs are either diploma-based or a degree of BSc for Medical Laboratory Science (MLS). Both these programs are dependent on the competency profile by the CSMLS. The diploma for the MLT program usually has duration of two to three years.
The Route to Becoming an MLT in Canada:
- You can get a high school diploma – having math and science as emphasis subjects.
- Pursue a post-secondary study in MLS – a two-three year accredited training program that can be taken at the community college or university level. A candidate will be expected to complete a 40-week unpaid clinical training at different hospital lab affiliated sites. The training for med lab students is done under the supervision of an MLT and procedures are conducted on real biological samples.
The CSMLS accredits these programs. The graduates of this program are given a diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology.
Several Canadian provinces offer specialized training programs in Clinical Genetics and Cytotechnology. Graduates of these programs are expected to write a subject CSMLS certification exam.
- Finally there is professional medical technologist certification which is acknowledged all over Canada. This certification works as a requirement to serve as an MLT in Canada, except for Quebec. Pass-outs of MLT accredited programs are qualified to write the CSMLS general certification exams covering five laboratory disciplines: Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology, Blood Transfusion Medicine, Hematology, and Histology – in order to be certified technologists in Canada.
University Path to Become a Med Lab Technologist
In case, a diploma graduate wants to acquire a degree in MLS, he/she can transfer their credits at universities that accept transfers between the diploma program and the university.
Employment Prospects for an MLT in Canada
Being a Medical Lab Technologist gives you an opportunity to work all over Canada. One can make a decision to specialize in a subject of his/her choice.
Like in the U.S., Canada is also encountering a deficit of medical technologists. Thus, the employment prospects for MLTs are anticipated to increase more due to retirements of med-lab technologists in a couple of years.
Medical technologists are usually hired in hospitals. However, employment opportunities for them are also open in community health clinics, university research labs, private labs, public health facilities, or biotechnology companies. MLTs can be hired at management positions in each of these work settings. Some choose teaching, and the others offer training of the future generation of medical technologists.