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What is Certification?

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) promotes and maintains the nationally accepted standard of medical laboratory technology by which other health professionals and the public are assured of effective laboratory services. We also promote, maintain and protect the professional identity and interests of medical laboratory professionals.

The CSMLS certifies medical laboratory professionals in four disciplines: general medical laboratory technology, diagnostic cytology, clinical genetics and medical laboratory assistant. In order to become certified, one must successfully pass the national certification examination.

Internationally educated medical laboratory technologists (IEMLTs) who wish to become certified must apply for a prior learning assessment (PLA). The PLA process evaluates your education, training and work experience. CSMLS uses this information to find out how you compare to the national competency profile, which is the standard for Canadian-trained MLTs. International technologists must show that their education and work experience are equivalent to the professional entry level expected in Canada. The Prior Learning Assessment is available for General Medical Laboratory Technology, Clinical Genetics or Diagnostic Cytology. The application process is the same for each assessment.


Regulatory Colleges

In provinces with a regulatory body, we work with the regulatory body to make sure that CSMLS qualifications can be used across the country. We have developed exam service agreements with some of the regulatory bodies so that they use CSMLS certification as an admission requirement. All of the regulated provinces, with the exception of Quebec, require CSMLS certification. Most employers in the unregulated provinces and territories (British Columbia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut) require CSMLS certification. In New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists, requires CSMLS membership as a condition of licensure. Some employers require CSMLS membership as a condition of employment.


Professional Standards Council (PSC)

The Professional Standards Council (PSC) is responsible for all matters relating to certification standards and policies. It has members from each provincial association and regulatory body. The PSC approves the competency profiles that are used for certification and accreditation of education programs. The PSC chooses certified subject matter experts from across Canada to form exam panels. These panels are responsible for the development of exams, exam plans and new questions. They also validate exams to ensure they are fair and they assess the skills within the terms of the competency profiles.



The CSMLS exams are competency-based. They are designed to test the understanding of the required skills and the use of the knowledge acquired. The Competency Profiles include topics that the exam will test and the weight of each topic. The questions on the exams are multiple-choice. The Diagnostic Cytology and Clinical Genetics exam include questions linked to images.