Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science
The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS)- website www.csmls.org- is the certifying body and professional association in Canada. Each province and territory in Canada has an organization which represents the medical laboratory technologist profession in that jurisdication. Sometimes it is combined with the regulatory body. The CSMLS represents 14,000 Canadian medical laboratory technologists (MLT), although there are 23,000 certified technologists.
Canadian programs in medical laboratory technology include the disciplines of: Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Clinical Microbiology, Transfusion Medicine and Histotechnology. Most MLT programs in Canada are diploma programs that run for two to three years. The diploma programs are based by the CSMLS competency profile. There are also some medical laboratory technologists that possess a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science (BScMLS). It is also based on the CSMLS competency profile.
The following steps will guide you to a med lab diploma program in Canada. (Permission has been obtained to print the CSMLS template described below.)
The path to becoming an MLT in Canada:
1. High School diploma: With an emphasis on math and science (may vary from program to program).
2. Post-secondary studies in Medical Laboratory Science: This is usually a two or three year accredited training program at the community college or university level. The program consists of an average of 40 weeks of unpaid clinical training at hospital laboratory affiliated sites. The Med Lab student works under the supervision of a Med Lab Technologist and performs procedures on real biological specimens.
All programs are accredited by the Canadian Medical Association Conjoint Accreditation Services .After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a diploma in Medical Laboratory Technology.
Specialized training programs in Cytotechnology and Clinical Genetics are offered in several provinces. Graduates from these programs write a subject CSMLS certification exam.
3. Professional Certification: CSMLS certification is recognized through-out Canada, and is a requirement to work as an MLT in Canada, with the exception of Quebec. Graduates of accredited programs in medical laboratory technology are eligible to write the CSMLS general certification exams that cover the five disciplines in the laboratory- Microbiology, Clinical Chemistry, Hematology, Blood Transfusion Medicine and Histology- to become certified technologists in Canada.
The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) & Provincial Regulatory Bodies
CSMLS works in partnership with provincial regulatory bodies, but the regulatory bodies are completely separate organizations. Provincial regulatory bodies establish the rules and regulations that determine who may practice as an MLT. You must be registered by a provincial regulatory body in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, . Legislation is pending in Newfoundland-Labrador.Most employers in the unregulated provinces and territories (British Columbia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut) require CSMLS certification.
University route to become a Med Lab Technologist
Graduates of the diploma program can transfer their credits to obtain a degree in Medical Laboratory Science at universities where transfers agreements exist between the university and the diploma program.
Employment Opportunities for a Med Lab Technologist in Canada
As an MLT, you can live and work anywhere in Canada. One may choose to specialize in a discipline of his or her choice. NSH Region IX members are proud to work in one of the most interesting fields of laboratory medicine, the Histology Lab.
As in the U.S., Canada is experiencing a shortage of MLTs, and the employment outlook for medical technologists in Canada is expected to grow even more because of Med Lab Technologists retiring in a few years. For those who are interested, the webpage http://www.workingincanada.gc.ca contains more information.
MLTs are primarily employed in hospitals, but jobs are also available in private laboratories, community health clinics, public health facilities, university research labs or in biotechnology companies. In each of these work settings, management positions are available. Some MLTs go into teaching and train the future generation of medical laboratory technologists. Salaries for MLTs vary from each province, but are comparable to other health care professions.