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Medical Laboratory Assistant Program

 Join us at our upcoming FREE info session on February 7th

Program Overview

Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs) work under the supervision of a Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT), performing the practical components of sample analysis. MLAs sort, prepare, and sometimes process samples that will be tested and analyzed by a MLT. MLAs collect samples, such as blood, and will often be the laboratory professional that interacts directly with patients. The MLA is an integral member of the health care team who shares knowledge, promotes learning, and collaborates with other professionals in providing effective patient care

Stenberg College works very closely with labs and community hospitals and strives at all times to maintain our reputation for providing relevant training and producing highly skilled graduates who are rapidly employed.

Program Delivery: Stenberg College offers a classroom-based Program in Surrey, BC and in collaboration with Life Labs (Vancouver Island), Stenberg College is offering an online-based Program (Vancouver Island only) with Practicum placements at the Life Labs in: Victoria (and surrounding areas), Nanaimo, Duncan and Courtenay.

Next Program Start:

Classroom: February 13, 2017

Online: April 10, 2017

Program Goals

The Stenberg College Medical Laboratory Assistant Program prepares you to:

1 Demonstrate the knowledge base, skills, and attitudes consistent with industry expectations for entry level employment. You will be able to meet competency requirements set out by the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science (BCSLS).
2 Qualify for registration and membership with the BCSLS.
3 Gain employment in the field within 6 months of graduation.

Typical Job Duties

A medical laboratory assistant can perform a wide variety of tasks, depending upon the needs of the institute that is doing the testing. Some sample duties are the following:

  • Perform phlebotomy (collect blood)
  • Obtain, handle and distribute various blood and body fluids
  • Perform electrocardiograms (ECGs)
  • Perform basic preanalytical procedures such as preparing slides of blood samples for microscopic examination
  • Interact directly with patients
  • Work with other health care professionals to provide effective patient care

Potential Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Communities and private laboratories
  • Public health laboratories
  • Private health insurance companies
  • Research institutions

Wages and Career Outlook

Long-term wage and career outlook information is difficult to predict. Unlike other occupations, opportunities in health care are driven by the current government policy rather than the business cycle. Talk to your program advisor. Based on employment statistics gathered by Stenberg College, the wage range of students who completed the Medical Laboratory Assistant program and are working in their field of study is $20.20 – $24.77 per hour (Lower Mainland) and $20.60 – $22.14 (Vancouver Island).

You can also get more information from the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science or the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science.

Use the following sites to obtain more career information. The related national occupation classification number—a system used to group jobs—is “321”. Please realize that these figures are based on groupings of a large number of related jobs. Wages and career outlook may differ due to education level, job location and type of employer. By no means is this a comprehensive list, but it is a place to start:

Is This Program for You?

It is if you:
1 Enjoy working with patients and the public.
2 Enjoy answering phones and working at a front reception desk.
3 Have excellent communication skills.
4 Enjoy working as part of a team.
5 Are comfortable working with bodily fluids.
6 Are comfortable taking blood from patients.
7 Are interested in completing electrocardiogram (ECG) procedures and holter hook-ups.
8 Can work well under pressure.
9 Are detail oriented and can follow detailed instructions.
10 Are able to concentrate for long periods.
11 Can maintain confidentiality
12 Can perform routine instructions accurately.

There are a large number of career counseling programs that test interest and aptitudes. Many are free. You are urged to take them. See the Stenberg College career guide for more information.

Note: This program would not be suited to those with an allergy to latex.

Program Delivery Format

This program is offered in two formats: classroom (Lower Mainland) and combined in-class & guided online learning (Vancouver Island).

The combined in-class and guided online learning format allows students to complete the majority of the program within their respective home communities. As detailed further below, short periods of travel and/or commuting may also be required throughout the program for orientation, lab-based training, and clinical rotations.

This first course in the program, Orientation & Student Success Skills, will be delivered in a combined online and face-to-face format with you completing course work online over four-days as well as coming together for a one-day, face-to-face instructor-led orientation. The face-to-face delivery will provide an important opportunity for setting you up for success. You will meet your classmates in person, build relationships, gain effective learning and study strategies, and have a comprehensive orientation to your online learning platform (Moodle).

You will then spend the next 10 weeks completing academic coursework in a guided, interactive online learning environment. Experienced faculty members will teach each of these courses, supporting your learning through participation in forum discussions, synchronous live meetings, and evaluation feedback.

Over the next 13 weeks, you will complete three courses that will each be a combination of academic coursework in a guided, interactive online learning environment and face-to-face lab sessions. During this time, you will meet face-to-face on Fridays and Saturdays to complete lab skills training that will focus on venpiuncture and micro-collection, microbiology, and ECG and Holter procedures.

Following the 13 weeks of combined online academic coursework and face-to-face lab sessions, there will be one week of open lab to give students time to complete any of the lab requirements. By the end of open lab all students must meet all the lab requirements.

Next, you will return online to complete your final course Career Search Strategies as well as to complete WHMIS online, a Personal and Professional Development certificate, and attend a Consolidated Practice Experience prep session.

You will then start your four-week long Consolidated Practice Experience.

Please note that all arrangements and expenses for travel (including accommodation, local transit, and meals) will be your responsibility.

Program Admission Requirements

  • Completion of Grade 12 or equivalent
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance examination.
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance interview.
  • Two years of customer service experience with the same employer or a minimum of 6 months of customer service experience with a reference letter from an employer
  • Successful completion of a short written essay
  • Passing Verbal Test of English if English is a Second Language
  • Minimum typing speed of 40 words per minute
  • Completion of a Criminal Record Consent Form under the Criminal Record Review Act

Prior to Program Admission, Program Advisors will outline practice education requirements for the program. Upon enrollment, you will be informed of next steps and timelines. Non-compliance could result in program dismissal. Requirements for practice education placements include:

  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Proof of Immunity Status as required by industry
  • Acceptable Medical Examination Form completed by a physician

NB: Additional criteria may be required to fulfill industry guidelines; you will be informed in advance of any requirements that need to be fulfilled for placements

Duration and Financing

Duration: 30 weeks including practicum

Financing: You could be eligible for Employment Insurance funding for education, government student loans, as well as other financing options; the Stenberg College Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.

Quick Links:

Medical Laboratory Assistant: Program Courses & Additional Certification(s)

Medical Laboratory Assistant: Top Reasons to Choose Stenberg

Medical Laboratory Assistant: Program Learning Outcomes