Medical laboratory technicians typically need to undergo a post-secondary diploma program to enter the world of work. This is the minimum requirement to seek entry level jobs in the industry. A medical laboratory technician course is an intensive program and covers a wide selection of subjects, including applied anatomy and physiology, transcultural health, clinical laboratory techniques, applied chemistry, clinical data management, practical haematology and immunohaematology, microbiology, cytology and histology, specimen collection and processing, clinical chemistry and urinalysis and lab administration and quality management.

The program helps aspiring medical lab technician become proficient in the collection of blood samples, the use of laboratory equipments, processing samples and testing them and performing ECGs. By the end of the program, the students become fluent in medical terminology, gain necessary technical skills and develop professional attitude and demeanour needed for close patient contact. The course addresses both the theoretical and practical aspects of this profession.

Practical Training

Along with theoretical understanding, the lab technicians are also expected to possess relevant experience in sample collection and processing and conducting tests in a real world setting. Therefore, it is important for aspiring technicians to carefully choose a program. Not all medical laboratory technician programs incorporate industry field placements.

Centennial College’s one-year post-secondary program in medical laboratory technician not only offers students hands-on laboratory but also provides them with an opportunity to work in a real world setting through industry field placement during the term of the program. A clinical placement is arranged for all students during the third semester which helps put their learning into practice and gain relevant contacts that can be later used as references.

Besides, it is a collaborative program that is taught by Centennial’s School of Community and Health Studies and School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science, with representatives from hospitals, private laboratories and the Ministry of Health.

To apply for this program, the individuals need to submit a secondary school diploma certificate, and scores of English Grade 12 C or University or equivalent, Mathematics Grade 11 M or 12 C or University or equivalent, and Biology grade 11 or 12 C or University or equivalent.

Licenses and Certifications

Some organizations require laboratory personnel to be licensed or certified or registered, for which they need to pass various exams. Centennial College’s program also provides students eligibility for certification as a Medical Laboratory Assistant/Technician (MLA/T) with the Ontario Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists and the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.

Additional Requirements

The laboratory personnel must understand how to use medical equipment flawlessly. In addition, they are expected to be detail oriented, in order to perform the tests correctly. They must also be aware of the correct procedures to conduct tests and handle tools and equipment in the right manner. The technicians may also be expected to work long hours to collect and test samples. This requires them to be physically fit.

Further Studies

The one year diploma program prepares aspiring lab technicians for entry level jobs only. For more advanced career opportunities, they can consider upgrading their skills and understanding by enrolling into higher studies programs at the university.