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Medical Laboratory Assistant Certificate

This program is not currently offered.

As a member of the healthcare team, medical laboratory assistants provide support in the field of laboratory medicine by performing tasks at the pre-analytical level in public, private, and hospital laboratories, and other clinical environments such as community clinics, residential care facilities, research, forensic, pharmaceutical, and industrial laboratories.

The Medical Laboratory Assistant program will provide students with a six-month program of study, including a clinical practicum of a minimum of 150 hours in a Canadian laboratory. The program is based on the competencies set forth by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) and the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science (BCSLS) in order to fulfill the certification requirements of a medical laboratory assistant.

The program outlines the role of the medical laboratory assistant and introduces the disciplines of laboratory science. The program includes components on safety, confidentiality, ethics, quality assurance, clinical math and lab equipment. The curriculum includes a solid foundation of introductory study in anatomy and physiology and medical laboratory terminology. Students will learn principles, theories and practices in the areas of blood and body fluid collection, pre-analytical specimen preparation, processing and transportation of dangerous goods (TDG). Cardiology and electrocardiogram (ECG) studies are also included in this program.

Integrated throughout the program, students will develop skills for general employability and academic success including information literacy, written and oral communication, numeric and computer skills, critical and creative thinking, leadership and interpersonal skills, and professional skills. The educational program provides the theory necessary to develop the knowledge base of the student in laboratory medicine. The clinical practicum provides opportunity for the student to develop the skills necessary to perform the various duties expected of a medical laboratory assistant in the healthcare

Graduates may register as members of the national body, the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory
Science (CSMLS), and provincially with the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science (BCSLS).
Please note that application for these industry credentials is made to external agencies that may
require students to complete additional written examinations and/or practical competency evaluations
and to pay additional fees.

Admission Requirements

  • B.C. secondary school graduation, or equivalent, or 19 years of age and out of secondary school for at least one year as of the first day of classes.
  • English 12 with minimum 60% or alternatives.
  • A minimum grade of 67% in Biology 12 or an equivalent Provincial Level Adult Basic Education Biology course which includes human anatomy and physiology.
  • A minimum grade of 60% in one of: Applications of Mathematics 11, Applications of Mathematics 12, an equivalent Advanced Level Adult Basic Education Mathematics course, or the Okanagan College Mathematics Competency Test for healthcare programs.
  • Passing grade (60%) on Computer Fundamentals Test.
  • Typing speed of at least 40 net words per minute.
  • Medical Examination: Applicants are required to submit a physician’s report confirming good health. The medical exam must be undertaken not more than twelve months prior to enrolment in the program. Applicants must be capable of engaging in physical activities, including but not restricted to: repeated bending, manual dexterity and fine motor skills, stamina and endurance to keep up to an active schedule, and responding to emergency situations.
  • Tuberculin Test: Applicants must submit evidence of a negative tuberculin test taken no more than six months prior to the start of the program or evidence of an appropriate follow-up in the event of a positive test result.
  • Ishihara Test: Applicants must submit evidence they have completed an Ishihara test with no indication of colour blindness.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination prior to entering the practicum.
  • Evidence of influenza immunization for the current influenza season prior to entering the practicum.
  • A criminal record check clearance from the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Criminal Records Review Office. Okanagan College's admission offices will provide applicants with instructions and forms for applicants to submit to the Solicitor General's Office and a deadline for the College to receive the clearance letter. Applicants should only initiate their criminal record check when instructed by Admissions. Failure to provide a clearance letter by the deadline will result in a cancellation of the applicant's admission application.
  • Attendance at an Orientation Session.
  • Failure to submit all required documentation by a specified deadline may result in denial of admission.
  • Chemistry 11 or an equivalent Advanced Level Adult Basic Education Chemistry course
  • Previous related experience/training in a healthcare setting
  • A caring and professional approach to people
  • Freedom from latex allergies and dermatitis
  • Attention to detail, the ability to work quickly and accurately under pressure in a team setting
  • Several computer-based assignments are included throughout the program. Students should be comfortable using computers before entering the program.

Graduation Requirements

The Medical Laboratory Assistant Certificate is granted upon successful completion of the courses listed below. The practicum is graded as a pass or fail. The minimum passing grade is 70% in all other courses.

Program Outline

MLA 101 Introduction to Medical Laboratory Science (80 hours)
MLA 102 Professional Practices of the Medical Laboratory (80 hours)
MLA 103 Pre-analytical Procedures - Theory (120 hours)
MLA 104 Pre-Analytical Procedures - Laboratory (120 hours)
MLA 105 Electrocardiology for the Medical Laboratory Assistant (100 hours)
MLA 106 Clinical Practicum (150 hours)

This program is not currently offered

Program Area:

Continuing Studies






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Okanagan College Calendar: Printed 02/25/2018