Exam Eligibility

Exam Attempt Policy

Candidates have three attempts at the certification exam as set by the Professional Standards Council policy, which took effect January 1, 2014.

After two consecutive attempts, an exam candidate must complete a Learning Plan based on the outcome of the two previous examinations, before attempting their third and final attempt at the certification exam. 

Candidates exceeding three exam attempts are no longer eligible to challenge the exam and must complete a full-time Medical Laboratory Technology or Assistant program to become eligible again to take the CSMLS certification exam.

First-Time Examination Candidates

Initial Eligibility: There are three ways to become initially eligible to write the Exam:

1. EQual™ Accredited* Canadian Medical Laboratory Educational Program Candidate:

To be eligible to write the Exam, candidates must have successfully completed all EQual™ accredited Canadian medical laboratory educational program (referred to as “Educational Program” herein) requirements:

  • a minimum of two (2) weeks before the Exam date; or
  • within twelve (12) months prior to their registered Exam date; never having previously registered for, or attended, the same Exam designation.
*This includes educational programs that are listed as “Accredited”, “Accredited with Condition”, or “Registered” on the Accreditation Canada website.

2. MLPAO Certified MLA Candidate (effective with the June 2024 Exam session):

To be eligible to write the CSMLS MLA Exam, these candidates must have been certified by MLPAO within the past 5 years, from the first day of exam session they wish to register for. Please contact for more information.

These applicants must:

  • Create a CSMLS account before official documentation is submitted to the CSMLS office directly (legal first and last name is required).
  • Have official documentation submitted to the CSMLS office by mail directly from MLPAO to prove their provincial certification status.
  • Be issued an “Eligibility Statement to the CSMLS Certification Examination” (Eligibility Statement), if their certification status is recognized. Their Eligibility Statement must be valid (not expired) for the Exam session to which they are applying.
  • NOT register for the Exam until they have been issued an Eligibility Statement.

Please contact for more information.

3. Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Candidate:

To be eligible to write the Exam, candidates must have successfully completed the CSMLS Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process. They must have received an “Eligibility Statement to the CSMLS Certification Examination”. This statement must be valid (not expired) for the Exam date to which they are applying.

If you are not currently residing in Canada, please go to the Non-Residents of Canada section.

DO NOT register for the Exam until you have been issued an Eligibility Statement.

PLA Candidates who are deemed eligible to challenge the General Medical Laboratory Technology exam may also eligible to challenge the Medical Laboratory Assistant exam. Please contact for more information.

  Recent Graduate

If you are a recent graduate that has successfully completed an accredited education program, you will be eligible to challenge the certification examination within the next twelve months.

We will contact your educational institution on your behalf to verify that you have completed the program requirements. If we are unable to verify program completion, you will be required to provide to us one of the following at your own cost:

  • a notarized copy of certificate and/or transcript confirming successful completion of an accredited training program; or
  • a verification of successful program completion (transcript and/or diploma) to be sent to the CSMLS directly from your educational institution

  Not a Recent Graduate

If you have completed your MLT program more than twelve  months ago, then you are not eligible to write the certification exam.  You will need to apply for a prior learning assessment (PLA) first. 

The PLA will determine if you are eligible to challenge the exam based on your education, clinical training and experience.  Learn more about the Prior Learning Assessment process

Please note that you can apply for the exam before you are eligible (Accredited MLT training program completed or learning plan requirements completed), but we must receive verification that your accredited MLT training program or learning plan has been successfully completed BEFORE the exam date.  Please contact the Administrator, Certification & PLA at to verify eligibility requirements have been met.


Non-Residents of Canada

If you are a non-resident of Canada and we have declared you eligible for the CSMLS Certification exam, you will need to:

  • Send in your application by mail, fax, or email, DO NOT apply online
  • Pay the non-resident exam fee

You are considered a non-resident of Canada if you:

  • normally, customarily, or routinely live in another country and are not considered a resident of Canada; or
  • do not have significant residential ties in Canada; and
  • you live outside Canada throughout the tax year; or
  • you stay in Canada for less than 183 days in the tax year.

You will not be allowed to write the exam if you include false information on your exam application form.  This includes providing a false address to avoid paying non-resident exam fees.

You may be asked to provide proof of residency or a copy of a current tax form or alternative document proving Canadian residency.

Applied for Exam but Not Eligible

If you apply for the exam but are not eligible, you will be refunded your exam fees minus the administrative fee.  Students who have not completed their MLT/MLA program will be refunded all of their exam fees.

Registering for an Exam after an Unsuccessful First Attempt

If a candidate is not successful on their first Exam attempt they are allowed to write the Exam a second time within their eligibility time frame (see ‘Exam Attempt Policy’ below). Candidates will be required to apply and pay for their next Exam by registering online or by sending in a paper application with the correct fee. If the candidate does not apply for their second attempt within this time frame, they will have forfeited their second Exam attempt and it will be considered a fail.

After an Unsuccessful Second Attempt

After two (2) unsuccessful attempts (whether attended or not) the candidate is placed into the Second Exam Cycle. They must re-establish Exam eligibility by successfully completing a Learning Plan to write a third and final Exam attempt.

Registering for an Exam after an Unsuccessful Second Attempt and After Successful Completion of a Learning Plan to Re-establish Exam Eligibility

After completing the assigned Learning Plan, the candidate must have official documents submitted to CSMLS by the learning plan provider (whether course work, clinical placement, or other approved learning plan option) on the candidate’s behalf. The official documents must prove successful completion of the full learning plan.

Once these documents have been processed to the candidate’s file, they will be reviewed for exam eligibility. This review can take four to six weeks.

If the Learning Plan is deemed successfully complete, an Eligibility Statement will be issued to the candidate.

These candidates must not register for an exam session unless they have received a CSMLS Eligibility Statement.

The CSMLS Eligibility Statement will include the expected exam date that the candidate is expected to attend. This is usually the next available exam session where registration has not yet opened, to provide enough time to prepare for the exam and so the candidate can apply without paying a late fee. However, candidates can register for an earlier exam session, provided all applicable fees have been paid and registration is open when they receive their CSMLS Eligibility Statement.

Candidates must not register for an exam session, for their third and final attempt, unless they have received a CSMLS Eligibility Statement.

If a candidate registers to write the exam without a CSMLS Eligibility Statement, their exam registration may be cancelled and fees refunded, minus the administration fee. For more information contact


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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