Career Prospects of Medical Lab Technicians in Canada

There are several tests performed each day in Canada’s medical labs and without that, the country’s advanced healthcare system wouldn’t work. Doctors need accurate test results upon which relies their discretion of the patient’s treatment. As a matter of fact, information required by the doctors accounts for 85% of the results generated by lab testing. Such dependencies make the position of medical laboratory assistants/technicians (MLA/T) significant.

Who is a Medical Laboratory Assistant/Technician?

It is critical that doctors make informed decisions for their patients. The right choice of treatment can only be made upon the correct diagnosis of the problem. Such diagnosis takes medical experts other than doctors to make that happen. Most of these professionals are working in laboratories. A medical lab technician helps with the collection, preparation, and testing of fluid, blood, & tissue samples, and many other laboratory duties which are important for getting doctors the results they need.

Duties of an MLT

  • Taking blood samples such as fingernail scrapings
  • Preparing body fluids and slides of blood
  • Carrying out usual lab tests and sample assessments
  • Ensuring the maintenance of laboratory equipment

Types of Training

MLTs are required to complete one of the Medical Lab Technician courses. It might be a certification or an associate’s degree program from any licensed school.

The most widely practiced approach is to take a short post-secondary program. Duration of these programs ranges from 6 to 14 months. Furthermore, there are several school choices to pick from. One absolute advantage of attending a school is that you will experience practical demonstration in an actual medical lab setting.

Certification is not regulated and is therefore optional for an MLT in Canada. The government may not state it as a prerequisite; however, obtaining it will increase your employment prospects. It is because most employers necessitate the certification. They consider it as a pointer to your proficiency.

A few programs additionally incorporate front-office training and externships as an inherent part. With front-office training, your knowledge base will increase as well as you can seek after additional career choices. Moreover, an externship will furnish you with practical experience you need in the field. You can choose the type of training that suits your need.

Job Outlook

The standpoint of this career in Canada is promising. As per the Canadian Government, the industry of medical laboratory technicians and technologists will anticipate an extremely high demand from 2015 to 2024.

In 2010, there were 88,822 individuals that were a part of this profession. From 2011 to 2020, the government estimates 40,304 openings, and 15,906 of those will be because of the growth of the medical technology sector. This portrays an estimated growth in employment by 18 percent.

MLTs can be employed in different medical settings such as,

  • Hospitals
  • Medical clinics
  • Medical research institutes
  • Government research laboratories
  • Blood transfusion labs

National Wage Estimates

The average salary of an MLT in Canada is great.  As indicated by the Canadian Government data from 2014-2015, national wages delineate as follows:

  • The median hourly compensation was $24.77 (making it $51,522 for an annual full-time job).
  • The highest hourly compensation was $38.50 (about $80,080 every year).

Career Advancement

An MLT can also become a lab technologist after obtaining the respective education & training and may pursue one of the roles in:

  • Laboratory management
  • Medical lab education
  • Medical research and development