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Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technology

Diploma
Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technology

Program Overview

If you’re interested in a career in health care – one that lets you work in rural communities and offers excellent earning potential – Saskatchewan Polytechnic’S Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technology program will interest you.

Combined laboratory and X-ray technologists (CLXTs) are unique. You’re trained in medical laboratory, X-ray procedures and electrocardiography, so you need to be comfortable working with medical imaging and laboratory equipment. But you also need to be comfortable working with people because positioning and touching patients, as well as talking with them, is an important part of your job.

The Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technology program is a two-year diploma program offered at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon Campus, Idylwyld Dr. You’ll develop the knowledge and skills you need to perform laboratory tests, general radiography and electrocardiograms. Your studies will focus on:

  • anatomy and physiology
  • clinical chemistry, hematology, urinalysis
  • electrocardiography
  • image acquisition
  • laboratory procedures and quality management
  • lab result correlation
  • patient care
  • radiographic procedures

Being a CLXT demands high standards and good empathy, so Saskatchewan Polytechnic also helps build professional skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and communication. When you graduate, you’ll be eligible to work as a CLXT and apply for membership in the Saskatchewan Association of Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technicians (SACLXT).

Extensive Hands-On Learning

Saskatchewan Polytechnic uses hands-on learning to help you build your knowledge and skills. An in-depth clinical simulation prepares you for three real-world practicums. The first gives you experience in operating radiographic equipment to obtain diagnostic images, the second in performing electrocardiographs and the third in conducting routine laboratory procedures. By the time you graduate, you’ll have 29 weeks of supervised clinical experience.

Note that your clinical experiences can take place anywhere in the province.

Earn a University Degree

Use your Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technology diploma to ladder into a degree program at the University of Regina, First Nations University of Canada or Athabasca University (Alberta).

Learning Environment

Each year, 20 students are accepted to this program. Students will experience a mix of traditional lectures, web-assisted learning, practical labs and clinical practicums that will increase in length as the program progresses.

For this program, there is a heavy workload with 15 - 20 hours/week of homework. School hours begin at 8:00 a.m. until .4:00 p.m, Monday - Friday except during clinical practicums where hours will coincide with health care hours. Clinical practicum hours can start as early as 7:00 a.m.

Career and Salary Information

Your Career

Combined laboratory and X-ray technologists can work in either rural or urban communities, but you’ll find your skills most ”in demand” in rural areas. In rural hospitals and health centres, you’ll use the full range of your skills and play an integral role on health care teams.

International applicants are not currently considered for admission.

Potential Careers

Sample Job TitleNOC Classification1Earning Potential2
Combined Laboratory and X-Ray TechnologistMedical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists' Assistants (3211)$44,500 - $81,200

What's the Work Like?

When taking x-rays, as a CLXT professional and student you are required to:

  • Use Personal Protective Equipment to protect yourself from ionizing radiation (i.e. X-rays).
  • Communicate clearly with the patient what you are going to do as well as what you need the patient to do.
  • Touch the patient to position them correctly.
  • Assist the patient with removing hearing aids and dentures when required.
  • Comfort and assist patients who may be fearful, have dementia or be in pain.
  • Assist patients who are nauseous, vomiting or have diarrhea.
  • Assist the patient with mobility challenges using lifting and transferring techniques.
  • Perform x-rays in trauma situations where patients have severe injuries and are bleeding.
  • Work with expensive digital x-ray equipment to obtain images that assist physicians with patient outcomes.

When doing laboratory testing, as a CLXT professional and student you are required to:

  • Use Personal Protective Equipment to protect yourself from biohazardous materials, including blood and other body fluids such as urine and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF).
  • Perform capillary punctures and venipunctures (i.e. insert needles) to collect blood samples.
  • Prepare samples, such as blood, body fluids and tissues for diagnostic testing.
  • Work with expensive, computerized equipment, as well as manual tests to obtain test results.
  • Make critical decisions as to the accuracy and validity of patient test results before reporting to the physician who uses the results to aid with patient diagnosis, treatment and outcomes.
  • Perform routine diagnostic tests in the clinical chemistry and hematology departments.

When performing ECGs, as a CLXT professional and student you are required to:

  • Communicate clearly with the patient what you are going to do as well as what you need the patient to do.
  • Touch the patient to position the ECG leads correctly.
  • Communicate results to physicians.

Every day:

  • Use Personal Protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves when dealing with patients and equipment.
  • Manipulate heavy equipment.
  • Lift assessor equipment weighing up to 10 kg.
  • Wear 3-4 kg lead apron for extended periods of time.
  • Stand for the majority of an 8 hour shift.
  • Manage and prioritize workloads across departments (X-ray, lab & ECG).
  • Communicate professionally with a variety of people including:
    • Patients and their families;
    • Other CLXTs and CLXT students;
    • Radiologists;
    • Nurses;
    • Doctors;
    • Other health professionals, such as Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs), etc.

Interests
Interests describe what people enjoy doing often in the course of a day. Individuals in this program often enjoy:

  • Working in an ever-changing and demanding health care environment.
  • Working with things such as machines, tools and equipment.
  • Using my hands to make or fix things.
  • Using my body to do physical work.
  • Examining and investigating difficult questions.
  • Learning about scientific skills and information.
  • Talking about feelings.
  • Working with details.
  • Organizing and tracking information.
  • Following orderly routines.
  • Meeting clear standards for performance.
  • Persuading or directing others (for example, instructing and convincing patients to move injured body parts).


Values
Values describe what the potential students have a high regard for, what gives meaning to their work and their lives, and what things they will work hard for:

  • Taking a realistic, concrete approach to problems and dealing with things.
  • Seeing a finished product or visible results from their efforts.
  • Developing excellence and a high level of competence in a scientific or math-based field.
  • Being able to work and think independently.
  • Building harmonious relationships.
  • Accuracy plus organization in work.
  • A strong work ethic and commitment to professional development.


Aptitudes/strengths
Aptitudes or strengths are natural abilities, talents and general suitability for learning in a particular field. An example is a musical aptitude/talent where people have a natural ability; therefore, it is easier for them to develop skills in this area. Another example is mechanical ability. People with this natural talent are able to learn mechanical skills more easily than others who lack the suitability.

  • Mechanical ability - understanding and using the principles involved in building and repairing things
  • Physical ability - talent for physical movement and coordination
  • Scientific ability - understanding scientific principles, investigating and problem solving using the scientific method
  • Mathematical ability - understanding the theory and processes of mathematics
  • Spatial ability - can visualize what something will look like from drawing, diagram or blueprint
  • Verbal communication ability - speaking or writing so others can learn from you
  • Ability to pay careful attention to detail
  • Sound body and mind


Entrance skills
A skill is learned and developed. It is the learned capacity to do something that has been practiced and worked on until it can be done easily. It is expected that individuals entering the program will have developed a reasonable level of skill in the following areas in order to successfully complete the program:

  • Strength, coordination and endurance
  • Manual skills that involve eye/hand coordination and manipulating things with my hands or fingers
  • Understanding how machines and equipment work
  • Working with mathematical ideas and knowledge of basic mathematics processes
  • Analyzing information to help solve problems
  • Getting along well with others
  • Making decisions which affect others
  • Keeping accurate records
  • Working on computers to perform data analysis
  • General skills include analytical and critical thinking skills, time management skills, prioritizing skills, flexibility and adaptability
  • Ability to follow verbal or written instructions
  • Self-motivated and independent

The purpose of this section is to give you an understanding of this career field and to help you make more informed career decisions
There are 9 skill categories with examples of how workers use them on the job. The categories are: Reading, Using Documents, Writing, Math, Oral Communication, Thinking Skills, Working with Others, Computer Use and Continuous Learning. This section is based on the more detailed Essential Skills developed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

  • Emails, interoffice memos, newsletters, safety manuals, policies and procedures manuals, and medical and scientific journals
  • Requisitions from doctors on which tests to perform
  • Forms to obtain information on tests

Using documents refers to tasks that involve a variety of information displays in which words, numbers, icons and other visual characteristics appear. It may involve reading, writing and/or creating. 

  • Interpreting quality of x-ray, ECG and laboratory results
  • Read work schedules and complete time sheets
  • Complete patient requisition forms
  • Complete specimen tracking logs
  • Pull information out of graphs and charts
  • Document work where required on forms
  • Must be legible
  • Fill in time sheets
  • Write short explanatory letters, interoffice memos and email messages about work progress and concerns
  • Record procedure information
  • Record information when collecting blood and other specimens
  • Write essays and articles for journals
  • Write reports for analytical use
  • Accuracy in transcription
  • Conduct complex mathematical calculations - whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, rates, ratios and proportions when calculating solution dilutions, reagent preparation and dilution, calculating molarity of chemical compounds and any math that is involved with chemistry, physics and molecular biology
  • Some of the measurement instruments used include:
    • Clocks (analog and digital);
    • pH meters;
    • scales;
    • thermometers;
    • centrifuge;
    • tachometer;
    • auto-analyzers;
    • graduated cylinders; and
  • Ability to use a scientific calculator.
  • Communicate with patients to get information, to give information and/or to reassure them
  • Communicate with other health care workers (such as coworkers, supervisors, nurses and doctors)
  • May give presentations to coworkers, students, professional associations and conferences
  • Communication may be difficult when there is noise from trauma, when the patient’s first language is not English, with some physical and/or mentally disabled patients, with fearful patients, with young children who cannot talk and with patients under the influence of alcohol and drugs

Problem solving (1 of 5 thinking skills)

  • Deal with lab equipment and machinery breakdowns - troubleshoot
  • Investigate problems with turnaround time
  • Deal with missing x-ray films and specimens
  • Prioritize patients according to levels of care needed
  • Deal with personality conflicts in ever changing and high stress work environments
  • Deal with hierarchy of roles and influence (for example, technicians versus doctor)

Decision making (2 of 5 thinking skills)

This refers to making a choice among options. Decision making occurs during problem solving but not all decision making is part of problem solving. Therefore, it is presented as a separate thinking skill. For example, buyers for retail outlets regularly make decisions about which suppliers to buy from and they select among the options for particular types of merchandise. This is not problem solving.

  • Decide whether x-ray film is acceptable in terms of quality, anatomy and diagnostic value
  • Decide whether specimen is normal or abnormal
  • Select the appropriate equipment for certain procedures
  • Decide on what order to take the images and how to take images - may need to adapt normal procedures to fit patient's condition
  • Decide on what order to take specimens
  • Decide when to refuse service
  • Decide when to retest
  • Decide when to ask for help (such as in completing certain procedures and moving and lifting patients)
  • Use professional judgment to determine benefits versus risks for the patient

Job task planning and organizing (3 of 5 thinking skills)

  • Although duties are usually assigned and scheduled by the supervisor, the technologist will usually organize his/her own daily schedule
  • Work is often organized within priorities
  • Emergencies often disrupt a work schedule
  • Work is coordinated with other coworkers for certain tests

Significant use of memory (4 of 5 thinking skills)

  • Where you were in a procedure when you were interrupted
  • What procedures are used for which tasks
  • The name of tests and where tests should be forwarded
  • Past interactions with patients when working with patients
  • The location of supplies and equipment and which ones to use
  • Specific doctor protocols
  • Techniques and how to adapt

Finding information (5 of 5 thinking skills)

  • Use reference and procedure manuals, and scientific and medical journals
  • Use institutional and computer databases
  • Talk to other health care workers (such as coworkers, supervisors, nurses and doctors)

May work mainly alone or as part of a team (depending on the department  size and shift)

  • Basic knowledge and operation of computerized equipment
  • PAC system (Picture Archiving Communication) and digital radiography - you will not be certified to use computerized equipment such as a CT or MRI, fluoroscopy equipment or mobile radiography equipment
  • Database to access patient information
  • Ability to use specialized computer software (for example, Lab Information System -LIS to enter and access patient information)
Learning is through on the job training, from coworkers, employer sponsored training and by attending conferences

Length and Start Date

Start Date(s): September

Length: 80 weeks

Year 1 - 40 weeks (effective July 2014); Year 2 - 40 weeks (effective July 2015) 

NOTE:  Effective for the 2016 intake, the First Qualified/First Admitted admission method applies to this program.

Locations

  • Saskatoon

Admissions

Admission Requirements

  • Grade 12 with a minimum grade of 70% in English Language Arts A30, English Language Arts B30, Foundations of Math 30 or Pre-Calculus 30*, Physical Science 20*, Chemistry 30 and Biology 30
  • English Language Requirement

*Previous Saskatchewan mathematics and physics requirements also accepted:

  • Minimum of 70% in Math B30
  • Minimum of 70% in Physics 20

Note

  • Physics 30 will not be substituted for Physical Science 20 or Physics 20.
  • CPR Heartsaver "C" AED or equivalent is required prior to entry into the clinical practicum (Standard First Aid is no longer required). The cost of CPR Heartsaver "C" AED or equivalent certification is your responsibility.
  • Accepted applicants will be required to provide evidence of a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search upon admission into the program. At the discretion of the practicum agency, you may be declined access to a clinical or work placement based on the contents of the Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search. The cost of the Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search is your responsibility.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide current immunization records and meet Saskatchewan Polytechnic immunization requirements prior to entry into clinical practicums.
  • Accepted applicants will be required to provide evidence of Transferring Lifting Repositioning (TLR®) certification upon admission into the program. The cost of TLR certification is your responsibility.

Clinical Practical Experiences

  • Twenty-nine weeks at a location outside of Saskatoon

Clinical practicum experiences are assigned by the Medical Diagnostics Committee on Practicum Placements (COPP). There are limited clinical placements at each location. Enrolment in the program will require acceptance of the clinical placement as assigned and this placement will be outside of Saskatoon.

Special Admission

Applicants who do not possess the academic qualifications for a program may be admitted if evidence of probable success can be established through a special admission assessment. Interested individuals should still apply. Applicants are automatically considered for special admission. However, some specific admission requirements may still need to be met. Refer to the ACCUPLACER© cut scores for this program below, and review additional details concerning Special Admission.

ACCUPLACER©

  • 90 Arithmetic
  • 70 Elementary Algebra
  • 85 Reading
  • 85 Sentence
  • 5 WritePlacer

Admission Method

First Qualified/First Admitted

The First Qualified/First Admitted (FQFA) process is used for the majority of Saskatchewan Polytechnic programs. When we determine that you meet the program's admission requirements, you will be offered admission based on the date you fully qualify for the program. The earlier you provide the appropriate documents and information that qualify you for admission to the next intake, the earlier you might begin your studies. Your application, once qualified, is always considered for the next intake. 

Applicants to programs with multiple intakes in an academic year remain in the application pool until the last intake for that academic year has begun. Programs using the FQFA process receive applications year round and maintain an application pool for each academic year. Qualified applicants who are not offered a seat must reapply for the next academic year. 

Sponsored programs or programs targeted to specific groups do not accept applications year round or maintain an application pool.

See Admission Processes for more information about this method of admission.

Tuition and Fees

Estimates are based on current rates and are subject to change. Amounts for a program may vary by campus. Totals shown here include all mandatory fees as well as books and supplies. For a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program, click here to access the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus Tuition and Fee Schedules.

 

Year 1 - $9,500
Year 2 - $8,800

Courses

PLAR & Transfer Credit

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways and through many different means. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training. A detailed Candidate Guide, which includes a self-audit for all PLAR-ready courses, has been developed for this program. This information guides a candidate through all steps in the PLAR process.


Student Awards

Thanks to the generosity of donors and alumni, Saskatchewan Polytechnic gives away more than $2 million in student awards during the academic year.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers student awards for every certificate and diploma program at every campus. You don't have to be a brainiac to receive a student award. Not all student awards are based on marks - some are based on financial need or things like community or volunteer involvement.

More about scholarships

Additional Information

Related Programs

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Part-Time Delivery

Some courses in this program might also be offered through part-time programming.

Check courses.

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