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Medical Lab Assistant/Technician

Program Duration: 34 weeks

Working in a medical lab gives you access to see life as its most basic levels - on a daily basis, you could be handling blood tests, working with tissue samples, and examining diseases under a microscope. The Medical Laboratory Assistant/Technician program is geared towards helping you prepare for the challenges of a career in a medical laboratory.


The program combines theoretical and practical elements of lab work in a well-equipped classroom/laboratory setting. You will gain an understanding of key scientific principles, including the fundamentals of anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, clinical chemistry, laboratory microbiology, hematology and immunohematology, the cardiovascular system, including an ECG and vital signs, urinalysis and body fluids, specimen procurement, clinical pathology, cytology, and hystology.


Additionally, you will undertake a 4-week practicum, where you'll get to test your new skills working in a real laboratory.


The Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario (MLPAO) has established standards for the training of Medical Laboratory Assistant/Technologists. Graduates of educational programs approved by MLPAO are eligible to write the MLPAO Examination. Interested students may also apply to take the CSMLS National Certification Exam, which is usually held in February, June, and October. 

Program Courses

SSSO - Student Success Strategies

The purpose of this course is to optimize learning through equipping students with effective study techniques. This course also provides an introduction to personality styles that will be encountered in the workplace and allows students to practise appropriate and productive interaction between the various styles. Emphasis is placed on the types of communication that work best with each style in order to achieve a good working relationship and to manage and resolve conflicts that arise. Students are also introduced to strategies for setting personal goals, managing time, and managing the stress that results from study or work and builds on positive group dynamics and setting expectations for student success

FCMO - Fundamentals of Computers
This course presents an introductory look at Windows 7 and its interface, tools, and features. You will learn about the fundamentals of navigating and personalizing the interface, organizing files and folders, using media devices, and searching for information. This course relies heavily on practical hands-on activities that allow you to learn the concepts by practicing them on a regular basis.
MLA100 - Fundamentals of Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Terminology
This course gives the student an overview of the human anatomy and the terminology associated with each body system. Understanding new words becomes easier with the discovery that many of these terms are made up of interchangeable word parts that are used in different combinations. The text used in the course is designed to make the process as simple as possible. The students will learn the basic anatomical structures of the body and identify commonly used abbreviations in the healthcare field. The emphasis of this course is placed on the proper use of the elements of medical terminology, such as prefixes, suffixes, and root words. Medical terminology is a vast field that cannot be taught completely in one course. This course will serve as a foundation for the continuous learning of medical terminology that will continue throughout the remainder of the program, including: word parts, prefixes, suffixes, root words and basic medical terms, medical dictionary, medical abbreviations and plural forms, anatomic positions, body planes, cavities, quadrants, and regions, cellular organization, tissues, and types of diseases.
MLA110 - Laboratory Safety and Asepsis
The purpose of this course is to provide students with the proper knowledge of workplace safety procedures. Students will learn how to safely and effectively use and maintain laboratory equipment. This course will provide an excellent foundation for the safety protocols students will use in the other Medical Laboratory Assistant courses. It will also establish the necessary training for the MLA within the clinical field. Students will be instructed on the correct waste-disposal techniques, with particular emphasis on bio-hazardous waste. Other topics explored in the course include: safety in the laboratory, medical asepsis biological hazards, good safety practices, demo devices and safety practices, biohazard spills, sterilization/disinfection, infection control, methods to prevent accidents, WHMIS, transportation of dangerous goods, and shipping with dry ice.
MLA120 - Introduction to the Clinical Laboratory and Specimen Procurement
This course will provide the students with the knowledge to be able to apply the proper techniques and processes related to specimen procurement, processing, and data collection. Determine the suitability of a sample for the test requested. Apply the correct specimen procurement and processing techniques related to phlebotomy. Recognize laboratory equipment, instruments, and supplies. Demonstrate the correct usage and handling of laboratory glass and plastic ware. Demonstrate the knowledge of the proper usage of a microscope. In this course the student will practise the phlebotomy by using vacuum tube technique and butterfly on artificial and real arm. Other topics explored in this course include: an introduction to the clinical laboratory, safety in the clinical laboratory, lab equipment and glassware, collecting & processing laboratory specimens, introduction to practical phlebotomy, types of specimens collected, and general collection information.
MLA130 - Hematology and Immunohematology
Hematology is a 15-day module, intended to introduce the students to the laboratory procedures involving hematology, coagulation, transfusion medicine, and immunohematology. Delivery of this module combines classroom teaching, laboratory demonstrations, and practice. Topics explored in this course include: production and function of blood cells, plasma and its components, serum and its components, routine hematology tests, normal test ranges, limitations and sources of error, disorders of the hemopoietic system, lymphatic immunity drainage, coagulation pathways, INR calculations, anticoagulant therapies, therapeutic ranges, sources of error, blood groups, routine laboratory testing in Transfusion Medicine, and specimen procurement and sources of error.
MLA140 - Cardiovascular System, ECG and Vital Signs
This module intended to explore the cardiovascular system of the body and electrocardiography.  The students will learn about the heart and the circulation of blood through the body and the cardiac cycle and rhythm. The students will learn about the heart's conduction system and how it can be examined through the use of ECG. Students will also learn how to monitor vital signs and recognize the reportable values for the vital signs. Topics explored in this course include: introduction to the cardiovascular system, the heart and blood circulation, conductive system, cardiac cycle, ECG components, procedures and artifacts, ECG practical skills, vital signs, basic arrhythmias and Pulmonary Function testing, vital signs practical (locating arteries, monitoring, etc.), laboratory skills practice in hematology, and performance and basic interpretation of ECGs.
MLAEX1 - Mid-Term Exam
The midterm assessment is aimed to review the topical coverage of the first part of the program. The midterm exam is composed of both theory and practical assessments.
MLA200 - Quality Assurance and Laboratory Mathematics
This course is designed to provide the students with a solid mathematical foundation for use in the medical laboratory. It includes a basic understanding of mathematics, measurements, dilutions, solutions, graphs, statistics and quality control, as well as specific applications in chemistry, hematology, and urinalysis. Topics explored in this course include: statistics, components of quality assurance programs, quality assurance results, introduction to laboratory mathematics, the metric system, and solution and reagent preparation
MLA210 - Urinalysis and Bodily Fluids
This course will provide the student with the fundamental notions necessary to the understanding of Urinalysis as performed in a routine laboratory or clinic. The students will learn the basic anatomical structures of the renal system and identify the various components. Each aspect of the study of urine in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of various diseases will be understood. As well, the evaluation of various other body fluids will be studied to ensure their understanding of how these other body fluid evaluations can help the physician in their management of their patients. Topics explored in this course include: an overview and general concepts of urinalysis, reagent strip testing, fecal occult blood and other body fluids, collection techniques for routine, 24 hour and C & S, types of urine analysis procedures, urine formation, renal structure and function, collection, containers and physical examination, chemical analysis, and microscopic examination codes.
MLA220 - Clinical Chemistry
The student will understand the procedures related to clinical chemistry. Explain the proper specimen collection requirements for all routine clinical chemistry tests. State the reportable ranges for routine clinical chemistry tests. The students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of tolerance testing as well as the ability to collect special chemistry test specimens. Areas explored in this course include: units of measure, reference (normal) ranges, analytes commonly tested in a variety of chemistry profiles, types of blood specimens for chemical analysis. serum and plasma separation, safety precautions, quality assessment, collection of difficult specimens, problems associated with specimen collection and processing, specimen transportation, specimen storage and preservation, current trends in instrumentation, basic principles of instrumentation, point-of-care testing, diagnostic tests for diabetes and hypoglycemia, and their reference values, glucose analysis methods and safety precautions, cholesterol, reference values, cholesterol levels to determine the heart attack risk factors, triglycerides structure and function and triglycerides reference values, function and clinical significance of electrolytes, reference ranges, methods of measuring electrolytes, and glucometer operation.
MLA230 - Laboratory Microbiology
This course is designed to provide the student with an understanding of how to perform routine procedures to collect specimens and process them in an appropriate way so that the micro-organisms can be cultured and identified. This will assist the physician in treating various infections. The student becomes familiar with the various uses and applications of equipment and culture techniques to grow microorganisms. Topics explored in this course include: an overview of the general concepts of microbiology, infection control, terminology, procedures, types of media and their preparation, morphology and classification of microorganisms, smear preparation and cultures, culture techniques, use and care of microscope, gram staining an introduction to mycology, staining, and fungal culture, culture counts, sensitivity ratio, parasitology including collection, and processing, additional organisms, anti-microbials, and culture testing.
MLA240 - Fundamentals of Clinical Pathology Cytology and Histology
This course will provide the student with the fundamental notions necessary to the understanding of the components of Histology and Cytology. The student will use their basic understanding of anatomical structures of the body. Topics explored in this course include: an overview of the general concepts of histology, specimen collection, handling, fixation, and other processes, embedding and cutting, staining, mounting and labelling slides, filtration, cross contamination, PAP smears and staining, cytospin use, and a cytology review.
MLA250 - Standards of Practice, Ethics, Accreditation Bodies and Legislation
This course will provide the students with the fundamental notions necessary to the understanding of the components of the standards of practice. The students will have knowledge of the standards of practice, ethics, and legislations governing medical laboratory assistants. The emphasis of this course is also placed on laws, regulations, various acts, and the legislative framework that influence the practice of medical technology in your province. Topics explored in this course include: standards of practice and the intent of the standards, specimen procurement and handling, accreditation bodies and their roles, quality management, ethical and unethical behaviour, Canada’s Health Care system (Medicare), Canada Health Act, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System, Laboratory and Specimen Collection Center Licensing Act, 1990, and a review of confidentiality acts and guidelines (federal and provincial).
MLAEX2 - Final Exam
The Final Assessment is aimed to review the topical coverage of the second part of the program. The final exam is composed of both theory and practical assessments.
PSKO - Professional Skills
This course is designed to equip students with interpersonal skills identified by employers as essential for success in the professional world. Using a variety of instructional methods including case studies, group exercises, and discussion, students learn and practice key communication skills.
CESO - Career and Employment Strategies

In addition to learning career-oriented skills, students learn how to get a job in their chosen profession. Our Employment Services department will assist the graduate in resume writing, as well as preparing for job interviews. Our staff is sensitive to current job market trends and the needs of employers in each local market. Our graduates receive guidance and training to use career tools that help job seekers build a better resume and cover letter, manage an online portfolio, hone interviewing skills, and develop a personal brand online. Students will have the use of a computer lab which has unlimited Internet access, as well as job search resources. Facilitators will also be made available to advise on job finding resources, interview skills and techniques and to carry out mock interviews. This course also looks at the planning, preparation, execution, and follow-up stages of an interview: How people find jobs; Employer expectations; Presenting an enthusiastic attitude; Focusing on the right job and the hidden job market; Transferrable skills; Thank you letters; Effective telemarketing; Handling objections, self-confidence, and self-esteem; Individual counselling and coaching.

CPR-FA - CPR and First Aid
Students will participate in the Standard CPR and First Aid training provided by a recognized external agency. Upon completion of this training students will receive the standard CPR certification.
MLA299 - Practicum
Students are required to complete a total of 150 supervised hours of outside clinical experience. This is a non-payment work experience.

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