CSMLS to enhance certification exam process to ensure supply of new laboratory professionals amidst COVID-19 pandemic

May 22, 2020
The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is pleased to announce two significant changes to the General Medical Laboratory Technologist and Medical Laboratory Assistant certification exams:
  1. Additional exam sittings to be conducted in June, August, October and December.
  2. The introduction of Remote Proctoring Testing for displaced exam candidates.
“Medical laboratory professionals are a key part of Canada’s pandemic response to COVID-19,” explains Christine Nielsen, CSMLS’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is essential that we maintain a process that facilitates new graduates’ entrance into the workforce, while maintaining the necessary standards to assure patient safety.”

Physical distancing measures in place across the country make it impossible to deliver the national certification exam in bricks-and-mortar facilities in the way the CSMLS has historically conducted them.  At the same time, the demand for new laboratory professionals has never been higher, as the COVID-19 pandemic puts increased strain on the entire health care system.

The CSMLS certification exams are delivered by Prometric, a global testing services provider.  In accordance with local and federal guidance, Prometric had previously closed its testing sites across North America.  On May 1st, Prometric reopened sites in order to resume testing for essential professions, such as medical laboratory professionals. Exam sites are operating in a modified fashion to conform to physical distancing measures and ensuring a safe testing experience for exam candidates.
To account for this reduced capacity, CSMLS is offering the option of remote proctor testing. Remote proctoring will allow exam candidates, who are displaced due to the physical distancing requirements in testing centres, to write the certification exam from their own location.  Prometric’s remote proctoring platform employs tools such as live-monitoring via webcam, comprehensive 360 degree environmental readiness checks, and record and review functionality to deliver the same level of exam security as a live-testing environment.

Through this hybrid approach, CSMLS is able to ensure that all eligible exam candidates, who wish to challenge the national exam, will be able to do so in-person or virtually.

“Fortunately, the CSMLS has recently completed the transition of all our certification exams to computer-based testing,” states Nancy Bergeron, President of the CSMLS Board of Directors. “With that successful transition complete, we are in a position to take advantage of tools, such as remote proctoring, and adapt our certification exam to meet the needs of the profession in this extraordinary time.”

The CSMLS exam, delivered on behalf of provincial regulatory bodies, is the entry-to-practice standard across Canada, with the exception of Quebec.  CSMLS continues to work with our partners in the regulatory community and stakeholders across the profession to ensure that Canada has a sufficient supply of new graduates. 

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement : We respectfully acknowledge the CSMLS office, located in Hamilton, Ontario, is situated upon the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississauga Nation, Anishinaabe Peoples, and the Neutral Peoples. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum, which is a treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.


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