Are you interested in continuing your medical laboratory technologist (MLT) career in Canada? Like many other healthcare professionals, MLTs are in high demand. Due to shortages of healthcare workers, there are great opportunities for MLTs. To help you learn more about the profession in Canada, we’ve outlined information about medical laboratory technologist job requirements, career options, job search techniques, salaries, and more!
- How to Immigrate to Canada as a Medical Laboratory Technologist
- What to Expect When Pursuing a Medical Laboratory Technologist Career in Canada
- Requirements to Become a Medical Laboratory Technologist in Canada
- Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Medical Laboratory Technologist Job Requirements
- Bridging Programs for Medical Laboratory Technologist Careers in Canada
- Medical Laboratory Technologist Schools in Canada
- Medical Laboratory Technologist Associations in Canada
- Immigrant Networks
- How Much Do Medical Laboratory Technologists Make in Canada?
- Best Provinces to Work in Canada as a Medical Laboratory Technologist Based on Salary & Lifestyle
- Pursuing a Medical Laboratory Technologist Career in Canada
- How to Find Your First Medical Laboratory Technologist Job in Canada
How to Immigrate to Canada as a Medical Laboratory Technologist
Before moving to Canada, researching the job requirements for medical laboratory technologists is crucial. Careful research will help you to understand the job requirements, facilitate a smoother transition, and enable you to pursue your medical laboratory technologist career upon arrival. In fact, there are certain pre-arrival steps you can take to help your job search efforts.
Before You Move to Canada to Pursue a Medical Laboratory Technologist Career
Taking these steps before you arrive can enhance your prospects of practicing your profession in Can:ada:
- Attend the free webinar What to Know About the Canadian Job Market to get a sense of the labour market.
- Research the demand for MLTs at the national, provincial, and municipal levels in Canada to understand where the greatest demand exists.
- Contact the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Society (CSMLS) and the provincial or territorial regulatory body in the area where you intend to settle and work to:
- Learn about the licensing process, cost, and length of time to obtain a license
- Identify what steps you can take before and after you move to Canada
- Determine what documents you need to bring to Canada for employment purposes or to continue your education. Verify if the documents need to be translated.
- Begin your Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) with the CSMLS. The PLA evaluates your academic credentials, practical learning, professional development, and work history to determine your equivalency to the national Canadian standards for MLTs.
- Gather and organize your official education, work, and identity documents before you move to Canada.
- Assess your language skills by taking an online self-assessment on the Canadian Language Benchmarks website.
- Improve your language skills and enroll in language classes while in your home country. Continue them after you move to Canada.
- Research medical laboratory technologist salary and benefits information in provinces across the country to target specific regions to live and work.
- Subscribe to professional association newsletters to stay current on industry developments while still in your home country.
- Understand how the MLT profession is practiced in Canada and familiarize yourself with the procedures, laws, and legislation that govern the profession in the province where you’ll settle.
What to Expect When Pursuing a Medical Laboratory Technologist Career in Canada
MLTs play an essential role in today’s healthcare system. According to the CDC, 70% of medical decisions rely on laboratory test results. This explains the important role that MLTs play in the healthcare industry in Canada and why job prospects are good. However, before you move to Canada to continue your career, it’s wise to research the job requirements before you arrive.
Your research will help you to understand everything from the licensing process to the length of time and costs involved. Conducting research before you arrive in Canada can save you time, money, and energy. It can help you to land a job in Canada with greater ease. You’ll have a good understanding of medical laboratory technologist salaries and you can compare the expected salary to the cost of living for housing, transit, food, etc. in the city you expect to live in.
The MLT profession is regulated in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. This means that by law, you can only work as an MLT in these provinces if you have been issued a license by the provincial regulatory body. These bodies set the rules and regulations to enter the MLT profession and issue licenses to those who meet the qualifications.
MLTs are not regulated in British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Territories.
Employment Outlook for Medical Laboratory Technologist Jobs in Canada
According to the Government of Canada statistics, national labour shortage conditions for MLTs are predicted until 2031. As of 2021, there are about 51,300 medical laboratory technologists who work in hospitals, public and private laboratories, university research facilities, and many other settings across Canada. Due to increased demand in the medical field, there’s expected to be a surplus of medical laboratory technologist jobs that need to be filled. It’s anticipated that there will be 25,600 jobs and only 23,800 new job seekers. This is a great opportunity for internationally trained workers and newcomers. You can make a good medical laboratory salary in a job that meets your skillset.
Start Your Research with the NOC Code for Medical Laboratory Technologist Jobs in Canada
The National Occupational Classification (NOC) code for MLTs is NOC 32120. The NOC provides a standard description of the job and is used by various groups. For job seekers, it’s helpful to read the description to ensure that the MLT NOC best matches your job duties in your home country. Here, you’ll also find example job titles that MLTs also use in Canada. This can help you when you begin your job search.
Requirements to Become a Medical Laboratory Technologist in Canada
The employment requirements for medical laboratory technologist jobs (MLT) in Canada include:
- Completion of a 2-3 year college program in medical laboratory technology and a period of supervised practical training
- Registration with the provincial regulatory body or college of medical laboratory technologists in the region of work
- Certification by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS).
The CSMLS is the national certifying body and professional association for medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants. The CSMLS conducts exams for general medical laboratory technology, diagnostic cytology, clinical genetics, and medical laboratory assistants. Working in partnership with provincial regulatory bodies it does advocacy work, and certifies people in the profession. Its certification is accepted across Canada and is required by the provinces and territories that do not have yet an individual regulatory body.
The CSMLS certifies the following disciplines:
- General Medical Laboratory Technologist
- Clinical Genetics
- Diagnostic Cytology and Medical Laboratory Assistant (voluntary certification).
Credential Recognition to Meet Medical Laboratory Technologist Job Requirements in Canada
To be eligible for the CSMLS MLT certification exams, you need to complete an accredited educational program or a two-step prior learning assessment to evaluate your:
- Training, and
- Work experience.
You can complete the prior learning assessment process with the CSMLS before or after you arrive in Canada.
The exam is offered three times a year at various locations across Canada. You do not have to be a resident of Canada to take it, but you must come to Canada to write it. After successfully completing the certification exam, contact the relevant provincial authority if you want to work in a province where the occupation is regulated.
Credentials Assessment Services
If you plan to enroll in a college or university program to upgrade your skills, contact the school that you plan to attend. Find out the steps you need to take to apply and what credential assessment agency they suggest you use. Some services that you may be able to use include:
To find other credential evaluation, assessment, and qualification recognition services click here.
Make sure you highlight your international education and skills. Many employers value global experience. As well, build your existing knowledge and skills and explore university and college options thoroughly before deciding. Your international credentials and experience may help you to:
- Gain advanced standing
- Benefit from prior learning assessment options to gain credit or course exemptions.
- Transfer some of your credits, and
This will allow you to complete your program quickly and it may save you money if you don’t have to repeat courses.
Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Medical Laboratory Technologist Job Requirements
Canadian employers place a high value on soft skills or personal attributes that enhance your interactions, job performance, and career prospects. Unlike your hard skills, you can apply your soft skills broadly.
As a medical laboratory technologist in Canada, you must have expert knowledge, know how to use documents, and have good hand-to-eye coordination. Soft skills, such as critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and teamwork are also important for medical laboratory technologists.
If your hard skills will get you an interview, most probably it is your soft skills that will get you the job and enable you to keep it afterward. Though not a must, upgrading your education and skills through a bridging program or other education can be an important part of your journey.
You may have strong technical skills, but often that is not enough to get a job or maintain it afterward. You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially with regard to your communication skills and team dynamics.
Language Training for Medical Laboratory Technologists in Canada
Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English or French – is extremely important for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you intend to live.
You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through school boards or settlement agencies.
There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as job-specific language training and occupation-specific language Training (OSLT) in Ontario. And, if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better job opportunities.
Bridging Programs for Medical Laboratory Technologist Careers in Canada
Bridging programs are a good way to transition your international experience and training to the Canadian workplace. Many colleges, universities, and immigrant-serving agencies offer bridging programs or workshops. You may be eligible for one. Do some research to find a program that’s suitable for you.
In this comprehensive 16-week course participants gain simulated laboratory experience, intensive theory review, and thorough preparation to write the CSMLS certification exam. The simulated laboratory courses help MLTs obtain Canadian work experience. This course also fulfills refresher course requirements from your Prior Learning Assessment.
Medical Laboratory Technologist Schools in Canada
If you’re interested in continuing your education, Canadian universities and colleges across Canada offer medical laboratory technologist programs including:
- Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
Medical Laboratory Technologist Associations in Canada
The following associations provide information about licensing and certification and offer professional development, education, and networking opportunities.
National Associations in Canada
Provincial and Territorial Medical Laboratory Technologist Regulatory Bodies
Newfoundland and Labrador
Professional immigrant networks are volunteer-run member-based associations or networks created by and for immigrant professionals that seek to:
- Create a forum to contribute to and enrich their respective communities
- Help members find meaningful employment and achieve their professional goals.
Some of the activities that you can participate in include networking events, mentoring, information sessions, and professional development opportunities.
Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (isans): helps newcomer professionals integrate into the province of Nova Scotia from a professional and social standpoint.
Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs – TRIEC)
How Much Do Medical Laboratory Technologists Make in Canada?
Medical laboratory technologist salaries can vary based on where you live in Canada. According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, medical laboratory salaries can range from $22 to $47.46 per hour. The median medical laboratory salary is $36 per hour.
Medical Laboratory Technologist Salary in Canada
Here are the most recent medical laboratory technologist salary numbers in Canada (as of November 2022). Medical laboratory technologist salaries were not available for the Canadian Territories.
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|Prince Edward Island
Best Provinces to Work in Canada as a Medical Laboratory Technologist Based on Salary & Lifestyle
Generally, MLT job prospects are “very good” in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan with employment growth expected to increase in the coming years.
You can find MLT jobs in provinces and cities across Canada. However, you may want to broaden your search to small- and medium-sized cities. Cities that are located within a reasonable commute of larger cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary may offer more affordable housing and a more relaxed lifestyle. It really depends on what’s important to you and your family when choosing a city. For example, cities such as Hamilton, or Markham are within an hour’s driving distance of Toronto and may offer a more affordable cost of living and less competition when searching for jobs.
Before deciding where you want to settle in Canada, research and find out the regions where the demand for MLTs high and determine the average salary that you can expect to earn based on your previous work experience.
Pursuing a Medical Laboratory Technologist Career in Canada
If you’re aiming to become a medical laboratory technologist in Canada, you’ll find that the path to this profession aligns with that of many other healthcare careers. To embark on this journey, you will need to possess the appropriate academic qualifications, relevant practical experience, and a clear plan regarding your desired work location within the country. The following information provides valuable guidance to help you pursue a medical laboratory technologist career in Canada:
Major Employers for Medical Laboratory Technologist Jobs in Canada
Medical laboratory technologists find employment opportunities in various settings, including hospitals, private clinics, cancer centers, research laboratories, industry, education, and administration.
Many professionals in the field of medical laboratory technology work on a full-time basis, typically following a forty-hour work week that may involve weekend shifts, evening shifts, and being on standby. However, there is also an increasing number of part-time, casual, and contract employment opportunities available for those seeking more flexible work arrangements. Many hospitals and healthcare centres post job openings on their websites. As well, you will find a member-only job board on the CSMLS website.
You can visit Canada’s Best Diversity Employers to check for immigrant-friendly organizations that you might be interested in. This special designation recognizes Canada’s best employers for recent immigrants. These employers offer interesting programs to help newcomers make the transition to a new workplace and a new life in Canada.
How to Find Your First Medical Laboratory Technologist Job in Canada
The MLT occupation is on the list of the 24 eligible occupations for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. The job opportunities for this occupation are positive in Canada, however, the Canadian job market is very competitive, so be prepared and understand each of the steps needed to gain employment.
As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country. So, you may need help finding jobs, updating your resume, writing cover letters, and preparing for interviews. Fortunately, many settlement agencies offer services for newcomers to help with job searching activities.
You must look for jobs in the region where you will settle. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan for finding work. There are many ways through which you can search for MLT jobs.
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers and sectors.
- Seek out a mentor in the medical laboratory sector such as someone who has retired from the profession. They could give you valuable insights and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
- Join business-related job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend industry job fairs and regularly check relevant job boards.
Some colleges or associations may maintain a job bank or suggest a commercial job site.
Use Immigrant Settlement Agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews, and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for. To find immigrant services in your area, click here.
Leverage Your Professional Network to Continue Your MLT Career
Networking is a key activity that can help you get job leads and information about potential employers. It can also help you to meet others in your field and expand your professional network. And because many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing MLTs and others in your field.
Good places to network include conferences, associations, and industry get-togethers. These events are beneficial to meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.
LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is a great resource to help you connect with former colleagues and employers, research companies, and get introduced to others in your field.
You can also join some related professional groups. But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.
Conduct Informational Interviews
An informational interview is a brief (20 or 30-minute) meeting with someone who is currently working as an MLT. The primary goals are to learn more about working the profession in Canada. You should not try to get a job during an informational interview. Use the time to explore whether a particular position is a good fit for your professional skills and experience.
An informational interview with a contact from your network can be a great source of career information. In addition to gathering industry information, you also gain insights based on another professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
Tailor Your Resume
You will be eligible to practice your profession when you have finished the MLT certification requirements. And when you’re certified, you can apply for a medical laboratory position at a hospital, lab, private clinic or an independent diagnostic center.
Your chances of getting an interview depend on an impressive resume that stands out from other applicants. To do this, carefully read the job description and emphasize the experience that you have that the employer is seeking. This will give you a clear advantage over other applicants.
In your objective or goal statement, state what you want to attain in your chosen medical career and how the position you’re applying for relates to your field of interest.
Detail your positive traits and other accomplishments that prove you’re a suitable candidate for the position. Use three to five bullet points to present your qualifications in a concise manner. Include your goals and how you can contribute to the success of the organization.
List the colleges or universities you’ve attended, your major or specialization and the year you completed the course. Include all other training such as bridging programs you joined or on-the-job training.
List all your employers, from the latest or most recent employers. It’s preferable to list only the last ten years of employment. To make your medical technologist resume more presentable and easier to read, list the employer’s name first, then the position you held for that company or hospital, the dates of your employment, and highlight all your key duties and responsibilities for that position.
List your certifications and other documents that show your qualifications and expertise. An excellent example is a certified true copy of the results of your medical technology licensure examination in Canada. Other advanced medical technology training programs or bridging certificates are also credible sources.
Finally, carefully review, proofread, and edit your resume. With a well-written resume, you have an added advantage over other applicants.
Interview Techniques for MLTs in Canada
A job interview can be daunting, but you can prepare yourself and be ready to impress your potential interviewer by thinking about the questions they will likely ask you and how you would answer them.
Here are a few questions that you might hear during a medical laboratory technologist interview:
What characteristics do you think medical laboratory technologists should have? By this question, your potential employer wants to ensure that you understand the basic requirements of the job and determine if you can fulfil them.
Lab work can be solitary, but you may have situations where you’ll work in a team. Are you someone who can’t be interrupted when working or can you switch gears and be part of the team? With this question, your potential employer wants to know if you have a cooperative attitude, regardless of the work style you prefer.
By asking you what educational qualifications you hold, the employer wants to determine that you have the necessary skills to carry out the job competently and safely. If you will be working in a clinical lab you may be required in some provinces to be licensed by the provincial regulatory college.
Attention to Detail
How do you ensure you pay attention to detail when working? Your interviewer is looking for demonstrated experience in your answer. So, give an example of a previous situation that has highlighted the importance of attention to detail. This helps your interviewer to understand your previous experiences.
Dealing with Change
Few jobs are entirely static, and some lab-tech jobs are results-oriented and deadline-driven. Your interviewer in this case clearly needs to know that you are adaptable. Can you comfortably and quickly jump from one project to the next? Prepare a few examples that show your adaptability.
Types of Testing
Think about your previous job roles and study experiences. Mention the types of equipment you have used and what would you like to experience more of in the future.
Research the company to find out more about their work. Think about other questions they might ask and prepare your answers. It’s vital to show how your skills match what the employer is looking for.
With an expected shortage of medical laboratory technologists in Canada expected until 2031, this can be your chance to explore your options to continue your career in Canada.
Interested in learning more about working in Canada? Check out our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. We can help you achieve your career goals in Canada.