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Occupational Profile

Medical Laboratory Technologist

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

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Medical Laboratory Technologist (5:53)

  • Avg. Salary $65,134.00
  • Avg. Wage $41.56
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook Up
  • Employed 1,600
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Average Wage
Starting
Overall
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  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Medical Laboratory Technologist is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Medical Laboratory Technologists
NOC code: 3211.1
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

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

Duties
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 collect and analyze biological samples, perform quality control procedures and communicate results that have been critically evaluated to ensure accuracy and reliability, and teach, manage and conduct research in the science and techniques of medical laboratory technology.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Medical Laboratory Technologists Profession Regulation, registration with the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta (CMLTA) is mandatory if you meet identified registration requirements and 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, or supervise registered members who provide services to the public. Only registered members may call themselves Medical Laboratory Technologists.

Education

Medical laboratory technologists may be registered as a General MLT, Diagnostic Cytology MLT or Clinical Genetics MLT depending on their education and the corresponding national certification exam. Registration requires successful completion of: (1) an approved two year diploma or bachelor's degree program in medical laboratory science, and (2) an approved examination. Applicants who have been out of practice for a period of time also 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? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated medical laboratory technologists, see Medical Laboratory Technologist Registration Process on the AlbertaCanada.com website.

Contact Details

College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Alberta
301, 9426 - 51 Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T6E 5A6
Phone: 780-435-5452
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-265-9351
Fax number: 780-437-1442
Email: mailto:info@cmlta.org
Website: www.cmlta.org

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

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
NOC code: 3211

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
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Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
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  • Average
  • Median
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Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $32.91 $35.64 $33.48 $32.91
Overall $38.97 $45.80 $41.56 $40.58
Top $43.33 $49.26 $44.49 $43.33

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
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

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Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

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2015 Vacancy Rate

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Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
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: www.acmlt.org

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works 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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