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Medical Laboratory Technologist

Medical laboratory technologists perform a variety of laboratory tests and procedures to assist physicians in diagnosing, monitoring, treating and preventing disease.

  • Avg. Salary $77,398.00
  • Avg. Wage $39.78
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,900
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Biological Sciences Technologist, Health Care Technologist, Laboratory Technologist, Medical Technologist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Medical Laboratory Technologists (3211.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists Assistants (D211) 
  • 2011 NOC: Medical laboratory technologists (3211) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Medical Laboratory Technologist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Medical Laboratory Technologists

Interest in supervising and training other medical laboratory technicians and laboratory workers; and in performing blood group, type and compatibility tests for transfusion purposes; may supervise and train other medical laboratory technologists


Interest in analyzing results of laboratory tests; and in establishing procedures for the analyses of specimens and for medical laboratory experiments


Interest in precision working with laboratory equipment to conduct chemical analyses of blood, urine, cerebro-spinal and other body fluids, and to prepare tissue sections for microscopic examinations using techniques to demonstrate special cellular tissue elements and other characteristics; may perform the duties of a pathologist's assistant in some hospitals

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 14, 2016

In general, medical laboratory technologists:

  • examine body fluids and tissues for abnormal chemical levels, cells or bacteria
  • prepare tissue for microscopic examination by pathologists
  • determine blood type for transfusions
  • conduct medical research and analyses
  • participate in quality assurance and quality control activities.

Medical laboratory technologists may specialize in the following areas:

  • clinical chemistry - chemically analysing blood and other body fluids
  • clinical microbiology - culturing and identifying micro-organisms and determining antibiotic sensitivities
  • hematology - studying blood cells and their formation in health and disease, and investigating coagulation factors and disorders
  • histotechnology - preparing tissue specimens for microscopic examination
  • transfusion medicine - taking and testing blood to determine its suitability for transfusions and preparing blood products
  • cytotechnology - microscopically examining prepared cellular slides for evidence of abnormality or disease
  • clinical genetics - analysing patient tissue to determine the presence of a pre-existing or neoplastic genetic condition.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical laboratory technologists may perform a number of different activities, or they may specialize in a particular area. Those who work with infectious patients and samples or hazardous chemicals must take safety precautions to avoid infection or injury.

Working hours for medical laboratory technologists vary depending on the type of laboratory in which they work. Research laboratories usually operate weekdays only. In diagnostic clinical laboratories, technologists may work rotating shifts of days, evenings and nights including weekends and holidays.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical laboratory technologists need the following characteristics:

  • integrity and a professional attitude
  • an aptitude for mathematics and science and a keen interest in scientific work
  • the ability to do detailed work and maintain a high level of accuracy
  • good colour and form perception (to study blood cells, etc.)
  • good communication and interpersonal skills
  • the ability to adapt easily and quickly to change.

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to their work, analyzing results and establishing procedures, and using computers and specialized instruments for accurate and precise testing.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

The minimum educational requirement is a two year diploma program in Medical Laboratory Technology.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical Laboratory Technologist

Medical laboratory technologists perform various lab tests and procedures to help doctors diagnose, monitor, treat and prevent disease and maintain heath.


Medical laboratory technologists are regulated under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and Medical Laboratory Technologists Profession Regulation [pdf]. You must register with the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta (CMLTA) to:

  • conduct laboratory tests that are used by other regulated members to provide professional services directly to the public
  • teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession
  • supervise registered members who provide services to the public.

 Only registered members may call themselves Medical Laboratory Technologists.

What You Need

Medical laboratory technologists may be registered as a General MLT, Diagnostic Cytology MLT or Clinical Genetics MLT. The designation depends on their education and the corresponding national certification exam. Registration requires successful completion of:

  • an approved two-year diploma or bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory science
  • an approved examination.

Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time may have to demonstrate that they are currently competent to practice.

For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the CMLTA website. For certification information, visit the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science website.

Working in Alberta

Medical laboratory technologists who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered practitioners in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the CMLTA website.

To learn about certification for internationally educated medical laboratory technologists, see Medical Laboratory Technologist Registration Process on the Opportunity Alberta website.

Contact Details

College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta
301, 9426 - 51 Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta T6E 5A6

Call: 780-435-5452
Toll-free: 1-800-265-9351
Fax number: 780-437-1442

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Graduates of technical and degree programs are employed in:

  • hospital laboratories
  • public health departments
  • pharmaceutical laboratories
  • veterinary research clinics
  • agricultural, industrial, government or private laboratories
  • post-secondary institutions
  • scientific supply companies.

In smaller clinical laboratories, technologists perform general duties in all sections of the laboratory. In large labs, they may perform general duties or specialize in a particular area.

Advancement opportunities depend on ability and qualifications (experience and education).

Medical laboratory technologists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3211: Medical laboratory technologists and pathologists' assistants.  In Alberta, 89% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 2,000 Albertans are employed in the Medical laboratory technologists and pathologists' assistants occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.7% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 74 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As medical laboratory technologists form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for medical laboratory technologists.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Medical laboratory technologists

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $28.31 $39.27 $33.56 $33.98
Overall $38.62 $42.06 $39.78 $39.36
Top $44.75 $50.64 $46.54 $44.75

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Alberta College of Medical Laboratory Technologists website:

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 20, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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