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Medical Laboratory Technologist

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

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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Medical laboratory technologists (3211) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Medical Laboratory Technologists

2006 NOC: 3211.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

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

INNOVATIVE

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

OBJECTIVE

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

In general, medical laboratory technologists:

  • collect biological samples
  • perform lab procedures and tests on body fluids and tissues (for abnormal chemical levels, cells or bacteria)
  • verify and release results
  • prepare tissue for study under the microscope (by a pathologist)
  • determine blood type for transfusions
  • keep records related to daily routines (for example, quality control, reagents, instrument maintenance, service records and inventory)
  • perform quality assurance and quality control activities
  • conduct and support medical research and development activities.

Medical laboratory technologists may specialize in:

  • clinical chemistry (chemically analyzing 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, as well as coagulation factors and disorders)
  • histotechnology (preparing tissue specimens to be examined under a microscope)
  • transfusion medicine (testing blood to find out if it’s suitable for transfusions and preparing blood products)
  • cytotechnology (checking prepared cellular slides under a microscope for signs of abnormality or disease - to learn more see the Cytotechnologist occupational profile)
  • clinical genetics (analyzing patient tissue to determine the presence of a pre-existing or neoplastic genetic condition - requires separate certification).
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Medical laboratory technologists may work full time, part time or casual relief. The hours of work vary with the type and size of the lab. Research labs  often only operate on weekdays. In diagnostic clinical labs, technologists may work rotating shifts of days, evenings and nights, including weekends and holidays. In smaller centres, they may need to work some on-call shifts.

Medical laboratory technologists may spend a lot of time standing or sitting in a lab. They may have to perform repetitive tasks. They must follow safety precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to infectious body fluids, dangerous chemicals or hazardous radiation.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Medical laboratory technologists need to possess:

  • integrity and a professional attitude
  • a liking for science (especially human biology) and a keen interest in scientific work
  • the ability to do detailed work accurately
  • good colour and form perception (to study blood cells, etc.)
  • the ability to listen and speak well
  • the ability to get along with people
  • the ability to adapt to change quickly and easily.

They should enjoy:

  • taking a step-by-step approach to their work
  • studying results and developing procedures
  • using computers and instruments for accurate and precise testing.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Medical laboratory technologists

2011 NOC: 3211

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 14 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 14, 2021 and Sep 26, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Personal Suitability: Initiative
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Conduct quality control assessment of testing techniques
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Set up medical laboratory equipment
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

The minimum educational requirement is a diploma 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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Medical Laboratory Technologist

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

Legislation

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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Medical Laboratory Technologist.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Graduates of technical and degree programs work in:

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

In smaller clinical labs technologists perform general duties throughout the lab. In large labs they may perform general duties or specialize in a certain area.

Career advancement depends on skills, 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 [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Medical laboratory technologists

2016 NOC: 3211
Average Wage
$31.10
Per Hour
Average Salary
$44,985.00
Per Year
Average Hours
30.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3211 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.00 $36.81 $26.17 $20.97
Overall $23.00 $45.90 $31.10 $23.00
Top $29.00 $47.30 $37.21 $32.00

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
N/A
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
N/A
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta website: cmlta.org

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. 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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