Becoming a Lab Professional
Is life in the lab for you?
You should be:
Curious: you want to know why things are they way they are
Fascinated: by science and the way the human body works
Process-oriented: you understand the importance of following certain steps to arrive at a conclusion
Accurate: you are careful and pay attention to details in your work
Self-sufficient: you can rely on yourself to get a job done
Think About this:
- There is a huge demand for medical laboratory professionals
- You will enjoy a professional-level salary
- You can live and work anywhere in Canada
- You will keep learning, as technology and medical science is always changing
- You will help doctors make important decisions about their patient’s treatment
- You will use specialized, high-tech equipment
- You will make a difference
You can work in:
- private laboratories
- community health clinics
- public health facilities
- university research labs
- biotechnology companies
- specialty labs, e.g. in vitro fertilization labs
In each of these work settings, management positions are available. Some MLPs go into teaching and train the "next generation". Others become very involved in research and contribute to the worldwide advancement of medical and scientific knowledge.
Job prospects are excellent. Click here to visit Government of Canada's Job Futures for more information on salaries and employment forecasts.
Your career as a medical laboratory professional starts in the classroom. Entry into an accredited training program in medical laboratory sciences is dependent on a High school diploma, with an emphasis on biology, computer science, chemistry and math.
From there students pursue post-secondary studies in medical laboratory science - usually a two or three year accredited training program at the community college or university level. Program lengths and specific prerequisites to apply vary, so please check with the specific educational institution you're interested in attending. MLT programs include courses in clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, histotechnology and transfusion science. Most provinces have separate, specialized programs in cytotechnology and there are programs in clinical genetics in British Columbia and Ontario.
Once you've graduated from your post-secondary training, you'll need to write exams in order to be certified by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) and achieve national certification.
Visit the Certification section of this website for more information on the Certification process.
For internationally educated students, the path to your career may include a prior learning assessment.