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Technicians in a medical laboratory

Medical laboratory technologist employment has a good outlook because it is a vital part of Canada’s health-care system.  There are about 20,500 medical laboratory technologists working in hospitals, public and private laboratories, university research facilities, pharmaceutical laboratories, veterinary research clinics, community health clinics and biotechnology companies across the country.

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s reference on occupations. It provides job descriptions, occupational statistics and labour market information. For a description of the medical laboratory technologist role click here.

Credentials recognition

The employment requirements for medical laboratory technologists in Canada include:

  • 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 certifies the following disciplines:

  • General Medical Laboratory Technologist
  • Clinical Genetics
  • Diagnostic Cytology and Medical Laboratory Assistant (voluntary certification).

To be eligible for the CSMLS Medical Laboratory Technology certification examinations, you need to complete an accredited educational program or a two-step prior learning assessment to evaluate your:

  • education
  • 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 have to 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.

Finding a job in Canada may be different than in your home country and you may need help finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews, and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for. Many settlement agencies offer services for newcomers to help find jobs in your field.  

Credentials assessment services

If you are 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.

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:

  • get advanced standing
  • transfer some of your credits, and
  • benefit from prior learning assessment options to gain credit or course exemptions.

This will allow you to complete your program quickly and it may save you money if you don’t have to repeat courses. 

World Education Services (WES)
International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) – Alberta
The International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES)

To find more organizations and agencies providing credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services click here. You can also visit the Foreign Credentials Referral Office for information, path-finding and referral services on foreign credential recognition to help internationally trained workers like you succeed and put their skills to work in Canada more quickly.

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Job Prospects for Medical Laboratory Technologists

Generally, job prospects in this occupation are very positive with the number of medical laboratory technologists and pathologists’ assistants expected to increase sharply in the coming years. Many new job openings could be filled by immigrants and for that reason, the Medical Laboratory Technologist is one of the 24 eligible occupations that can apply for immigration under the Federal Skilled Worker Program stream.

Most Canadian cities offer employment opportunities in the medical laboratory science sector, with both big cities and smaller communities having a need for medical laboratory technologists. However, when looking for jobs, broaden your geographic area to include smaller cities and towns close to your target city. For example, if you intend to work in Toronto, you might find a job opportunity in nearby Hamilton, which is less than an hour’s drive from there.

Before deciding where you want to settle in Canada, research and find out the regions where the demand for your area of the profession is higher.

Choosing a City.

Major Employers for Medical Laboratory Technologists

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 the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website to check for immigrant-friendly corporations and organizations which you might be interested in. This special designation recognizes Canada’s best employers for recent immigrants. These employers offer interesting programs to assist newcomers to Canada in making the transition to a new workplace — and a new life in Canada.