Medical laboratory assistants work directly with other health care providers and patients and in the exciting laboratory setting. You collect health information and medical specimens from patients, but you also enter clerical data, process specimens and assist with basic laboratory activities. It’s a job that requires good people and communication skills, a professional yet caring attitude and a commitment to teamwork and excellence, as well as attention to detail.
Medical lab assistants are in demand in many areas. Look for jobs in hospitals, community clinics, medical offices, research and pharmaceutical labs, veterinary clinics, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices and more.
Medical Laboratory Assistant is a nationally accredited 27-week applied certificate program offered at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Saskatoon campus . Some classes are also available through distance education. Labs and clinical experiences are a big part of the program, so expect hands-on training in:
You’ll participate in five supervised clinical experiences, for a total of 11 weeks of training. Each will give you practical experience in a specific area: histology and cytology, specimen management, phlebotomy and microbiology. These clinical experiences take place at various sites around the province.
You can transfer several Medical Laboratory Assistant courses into Saskatchewan Polytechnic Health Sciences diploma programs, including Combined Laboratory and X-Ray Technology, Cytotechnology, Medical Laboratory Technology and Medical Radiologic Technology.
Each year, 16 students are accepted to this program. You can use this applied certificate to ladder into Combined Laboratory and X-ray Technology, Medical radiologic Technology, Therapeutic Recreation Worker, and Funeral Service programs at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
Students will experience a mix of traditional lectures, web-assisted learning, homestudy, practical and clinical labs. For this program, there is a heavy workload with 15 - 20 hours/week of homework. School hours may begin at 8:00 a.m. and go 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.
As a medical laboratory assistant, you could work in a hospital, community clinic, medical office, research lab, pharmaceutical lab, veterinary clinic, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices and more. Look for job opportunities with regional health districts, government health agencies, educational institutions and private labs.
International applicants are not currently considered for admission.
|Sample Job Title||NOC Classification1||Earning Potential2|
|Laboratory Assistant (multidisciplinary)||Medical Laboratory Technicians (3212)||$40,600 - $73,700|
|Senior Laboratory Assistant||Medical Laboratory Technicians (3212)||$40,600 - $73,700|
As a Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) and MLA student, you:
When performing ECGs, as an MLA you are required to:
Every day, as an MLA you are required to:
Interests describe what people enjoy doing often in the course of a day. Individuals in this program often enjoy:
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:
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.
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:
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. This section is based on the more detailed Essential Skills developed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.Reading text (1 of 9 essential skills)
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.
Problem solving (1 of 5 thinking skills)
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.
Job task planning and organizing (3 of 5 thinking skills)
Significant use of memory (4 of 5 thinking skills)
Finding information (5 of 5 thinking skills)
Learning is through on the job training, from coworkers, employer sponsored training and by attending conferences.
NOTE: Effective for the 2016 intake, the First Qualified/First Admitted admission method applies to this program.
*Previous Saskatchewan biology, chemistry, and mathematics requirements also accepted:
Clinical Practicum Experiences
Clinical practicum experiences are assigned by the Medical Diagnostics Committee on Practicum Placements (COPP). There are limited clinical placements in each location. Enrolment in the program will require acceptance of the clinical placement as assigned and this placement may be outside of Saskatoon.
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.
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.
Many Saskatchewan Polytechnic students benefit from transferring credit. You may be eligible to transfer credit from or to another college or university. To learn more, visit our transfer credit web page.
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.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic's Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) program is accredited
by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). Program content is based on the Canadian
Society for Medical Laboratory Science MLA competency profile, with topics added as
appropriate for addressing local needs.
Graduates are eligible to write the national Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) certification exam. Certification is the accepted standard for many jobs - it also allows you to work anywhere in Canada.
The cost of CSMLS MLA national certification examination is the responsibility of the student. For more information, see www.csmls.org/About-Us/What-We-Do/Certification.aspx.