ProgramsClassroom-Based ProgramsMedical Laboratory Assistant


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Medical Laboratory Assistant

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.

Want to know more about this exciting field? Read on...

Program Goals

The Stenberg College Medical Laboratory Assistant Program prepares graduates to:

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

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

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Over 92% of our graduates are working in their field of study within 6 months of graduation

2013 - 2014 2012 - 2013 2011 - 2012

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The Royal City Record features a Stenberg Medical Laboratory Assistant Alum! Read here.

"Thank you for changing my life and career."
Adobie, S.