Learning Plans

PLA Learning Plans are custom plans that will help you to fill any educational gaps that have been identified in your:

  • prior learning assessment technical report
  • previous two exam attempts 

Your custom PLA Learning Plan must be successfully completed within the designated timeframe, commonly within one to two years, in order to be deemed eligible to write the certification exam.

  PLA Learning Plans can take up to two years to complete.

PLA Learning Plans for Clinical Genetics, Diagnostic Cytology and Medical Laboratory Assistants are issued on an individual basis.  Options will be provided along with additional information.


  The information below pertains to PLA Learning Plans in General Medical Laboratory Technology.

A PLA learning plan might consist of any of the following:

  • Refresher: Refresher coursework will be required when you have not practised a discipline (i.e. clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, histotechnology or transfusion science) within the last five years.  You will need to take a course to bring you up to date with current Canadian practice.
  • Subject Specific: Subject specific coursework will be required when you have not practised part of a discipline within the last five years. For example, you may be asked to complete a subject specific course in Toxicology (part of Clinical Chemistry).
  • Comprehensive: Comprehensive coursework will be required when there is an area in which you have little or no education, clinical internship and/or work experience. 

You can choose from the following approved options to complete your PLA Learning Plan unless otherwise noted:

  • Course Work: You can complete a course option from the approved course list to complete your PLA Learning Plan requirements. Courses are offered in a variety of formats, with varying start and end dates, costs and method of evaluation. You must contact the course providers directly for this information.

You may also be able to choose from one of the following options after CSMLS approval:

  • Canadian Clinical Placement:  You can complete a supervised clinical placement to complete your PLA Learning Plan requirements. The Clinical Placement Blueprint describes the specific activities you will need to complete under supervision for each of the five disciplines. It is your responsibility to find and secure a clinical placement or placements. Depending on location, and your PLA Learning Plan, not all activities may be available to complete in a single location. CSMLS is not responsible for securing a placement for you.
  • Medical Laboratory Technology Bridging Programs:   These programs allow internationally trained or unsuccessful domestic medical laboratory technologists to complete discipline-specific educational gaps.  Participation in a bridging program has helped many, including internationally trained professionals, by providing participants with an enhanced sense of community while developing increased professional networking opportunities.
  • Non-Approved Courses
    If you have located a course that is not on the pre-approved lists, the CSMLS can review it for approval. The course must be at the technologist level. Please contact the Prior Learning Assessment Administrator at for more information on the approval process.
Note:  The CSMLS is not responsible if you cannot gain admission into a bridging program or course or if the program or course is cancelled due to any circumstances. You are responsible to complete your PLA Learning Plan before it expires.  Failure to do so may result in a loss of eligibility to the exam or additional fees.

After You Complete Your PLA Learning Plan

When you have successfully completed your PLA Learning Plan you must:

  • Notify us by email at
  • Ask your educational institution(s) to send your official transcripts directly to us (if applicable).
  • Ask your clinical placement(s) to send your signed and completed clinical placement blueprint directly to us (if applicable). Official transcripts must be submitted directly from the college or institution where you completed your course(s). 

After the CSMLS receives proof of your successful completion of the PLA Learning Plan requirements, we will send you a Statement of Eligibility to the CSMLS Certification Exam.

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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