Drawing on sharp skills.
Medical laboratory assistants play an essential role in healthcare. These laboratory professionals collect patient specimens, carry out pre-analytical procedures to prepare specimens for analysis and perform data entry, clerical and reception duties. As an integral member of the health care team, the medical laboratory assistant is part of the front-line laboratory staff and is often the first person with whom patients/clients interact. This requires strong communication, critical thinking and organizational/time management skills as well as professional conduct.
These are dedicated professionals, serving the health care needs of the patient with respect for an individual’s diversity, dignity, values and beliefs, ensuring everyone’s safety and protecting the confidentiality of patient information.
College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Medical Laboratory Assistant program provides a quality learning environment that blends academic study and hands-on training with clinical training for those aspiring to a career in laboratory health sciences. A 36-week program, Semesters 1 and 2 (15 weeks each in duration) take place on campus and in Semester 3 you complete a six-week clinical placement at a hospital or clinic in Newfoundland Labrador. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to write the certification examination set by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.
This certificate qualifies you for work in hospital laboratories, public health laboratories, clinics, research labs, reference labs, insurance companies, private laboratories, Canadian Blood Services and manufacturing. While this is a demanding field, it is an extremely rewarding career worth pursuing.
If you are intrigued by the science of blood, this career is for you!
Did You Know?
- Robust training to become an integral part of the healthcare community and fill the identified occupational need.
- The Medical Laboratory Assistant program is accredited by Accreditation Canada.
- You can leverage your certificate for transition into the Medical Laboratory Technologist program at CNA.
- Prepares graduates to challenge the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) certification exam.
- The CSMLS provides portability to most provinces and territories.
- There is a rising need for this type of program across Canada.
- Today’s healthcare system would not function as efficiently and effectively without the work performed by MLAs every day.
- Some 70% of all medical decisions depend on laboratory results.
Upon successful completion of Medical Laboratory Assistant program, the graduate will:
- Utilize academic knowledge as outlined in the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) competency profile and apply the learned knowledge in clinical practice.
- Perform pre-analytical clinical laboratory procedures using appropriate equipment and instruments in accordance with established protocols.
- Communicate and interact effectively with clients, family members, and members of the health care team.
- Maintain a high level of professional practice, meeting legal and ethical requirements, while following established protocols, safety guidelines, and existing legislation in the performance of duty.
- Use quality management / continuous improvement principles to investigate, evaluate, and problem solve in a rapidly changing environment.
This is a 36 week program, which includes training at the College as well as clinical placements at various hospitals/clinics throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Semesters 1 and 2 (15 weeks each in duration) take place at the College whereas Semester 3 consists of a 6-week clinical placement. Graduates of the program will be eligible to write the certification examination set by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.
The Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA)
program is accredited by Accreditation Canada until December 2023
This program is currently “Accredited” with Accreditation Canada/EQual. Our “Accredited” status serves as an important demonstration of our commitment to providing quality education in alignment with accreditation and regulatory requirements. If you require additional information regarding our accreditation status and endeavors and/or any potential implications our accreditation status may have on your future abilities to practice as a healthcare professional, we encourage you to reach out to the Dean for the School of Health Sciences.
Students must possess valid Standard First Aid with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) /Basic Life Support (BLS) certification to be eligible for graduation from the College.
Clinical placements are a required element of this program and students will be assigned placements at approved training sites. Additional sites may be considered in consultation with program faculty. There is no guarantee that students will receive their preferred placement. All expenses associated with the completion of clinical placement will be the responsibility of the student.
Students require a clear Certificate of Conduct (Criminal Record Check and Vulnerability Sector Check) to be permitted into a clinical placement. Students with an unclear Certificate of Conduct are advised to speak with program faculty at the beginning of the program.
For programs with competitive admissions, clinical placements are not affected by ranking in the competitive admissions process and will be determined under institutional guidelines.
Eligibility for admission to the Medical Laboratory Assistant program requires the applicant to meet one of the following academic criteria:
1. High School
High School Graduation Certificate with a 60% overall average in the following (or equivalent):
i. English 3201 or 3202 (minimum 60%)
ii. Mathematics (4 credits) chosen from:
Advanced: 2200, 3200 (50% minimum in each course)
Academic: 2201 (50% minimum), 3201 (60% minimum)
iii. Science (4 credits):
Biology: 3201 (minimum 60%)
Chemistry: 3202 (minimum 60%)
iv. Electives (2 additional credits) chosen from any of the remaining 3000 level courses offered in the Senior High School Program.
2. Comprehensive Arts and Science (CAS) Transition
Comprehensive Arts and Science (Transition) Certificate with the following courses:
i. English (minimum 60%): CM1060
ii. Math (minimum 60%): MA1040
iii. Four Science courses:
a. Biology: BL1020
b. Chemistry: CH1030
3. Adult Basic Education (ABE)
Adult Basic Education (Level III) Graduation with Degree and Technical Profile (overall 60% average) including the following courses (or equivalent):
1 English (minimum of 60%) 3101A, 3101B, 3101C or 3102A, 3102B, 3102C
2 Mathematics (minimum of 60%) 1101A, 1101B, 1101C, 2101A, 2101B, 2101C, 3101A, 3101B, 3101C
3 Science from two of the following sections:
a. Biology 1101, 2101A, 2101B, 2101C, 3101A, 3101B, 3101C
b. Chemistry 1102, 2102A, 2102B, 2102C, 3102A, 3102B, 3102C
Applicants with Adult Basic Education (Level III) Graduation with a different Profile (and appropriate grades) may be eligible for admission to the program provided the appropriate selection of courses including those outlined above have been completed.
4. Mature Student Requirements
Applicants who do not meet the education prerequisites for this program, must be at least 19 years at the time of application and out of school for at least one year may be considered on an individual basis under the Mature Student Requirements; for more information regarding the Mature Student Requirements please refer to Procedure AC-102-PR Admission
Students meeting academic entrance requirements are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Before final acceptance is granted, additional documentation must be submitted; see the Additional Information for Health Sciences Applicants section of the calendar or under the Admissions Regulations section of our website for details.
Additional Entrance Requirements
- Valid** Certificate of Conduct, including Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Check.
- Students will require a current Certificate of Conduct (Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Check) prior to starting their program. Applicants with a criminal offense listed on their Certificate of Conduct (Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Check) may be denied access to clinical placement by the College’s clinical partners and may be unable to complete their program.
- Students will need to complete a Student Pre-Placement Immunizations and Communicable Diseases Screening with their Health Care Provider. Completing the immunization record will require physician's visits, blood tests, and a TB screening test; detailed instructions are included on the Student Pre-Placement Immunizations and Communicable Diseases Screening. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that all medical requirements are fulfilled, and the screening form complete before submission. Certain vaccinations require a series of immunizations over a period; therefore, it is essential to start the process as early as possible. The applicant is also responsible for all associated costs (vaccinations, laboratory testing, physician fees, certificate of conduct fees, etc.).
(See the Additional Information for Health Sciences Applicants (Definitions and Regulations
) section of the calendar or under the Admissions Regulations section of our website for details.)