Thursday, May 03, 2012

Want to work in Canada as a medical technologist? Forget it!

Updated:  5 Jan. 2019 (Fixed links)
Interested in the process of qualifying to practice in Canada and how long it takes? 

Latest: Anyone wanting to come to Canada as a med lab technologist/scientist, please see
That said, it's really hard, almost (not quite) impossible, and takes a long wait time of years. Read on for all the gory details and also read the many comments at the blog's end.

NOTE: Comments are closed for this blog.

See this example of one Canadian province's process:
CMLTA is the regulatory body in the Canadian province of Alberta. Among other roles, the College protects and serves the public, patients, and its members by setting entrance to practice requirements.
In particular note the middle column on p.17 beginning:

'Registration as an IEMLT in Alberta is a two-step, process which involves the CSMLS and the College. Initially IEMLTs, are directed to the CSMLS to undergo a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) which involves the submission of supporting, documentation and the assessment of, academic credentials, language proficiency, clinical training, and professional work, experience.' 
The Alberta report gives a sense that the process for those internationally educated is lengthy and requires much paperwork and patience. I suspect it's similar in other Canadian provinces.

Dark Daily reports, "Medical laboratory technologists with foreign credentials to get fast-track acceptance in Canada."

Unfortunately, this headline and accompanying article are misleading, at least so far as medical laboratory technologists are concerned (cannot speak to the situation for other health professionals).

If I were asked about foreign-trained technologists from the USA, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, where English as a second language is a non-issue, and where education and training are world class, here's what I'd say:

All the fast-tracking in the world won't help.

First, besides clinical chemistry, hematology, clinical microbiology, and transfusion science, Canada's general certification exam requires education and a clinical rotation in histotechnology. Thus USA grads do not qualify.

Second, subject certification for USA grads in the other 4 main disciplines is out because Canada offers subject certification only in clinical genetics technology and diagnostic cytology. Reasons that CSMLS does not offer subject certification in other disciplines include
  • Cost (subject exams are costly to maintain) 
  • Employer need for flexible grads who can work in all disciplines
  • Fear that employers may use those with subject certification to work in lab sections for which they are untrained
Accordingly, the path to employment in a clinical laboratory for a US-educated and trained medical technologist / clinical laboratory scientist is onerous:
  • Step 1: Attend an educational institution (Canada or US) and take a course equivalent to a histotechnology course taught at Canadian institutions. For example, see 5 MLS disciplines at the University of Alberta.
  • Step 2: Convince a potential employer to provide a clinical rotation in histotechnology. In Canada this is ~4 weeks. And it's next to impossible because employers can barely offer clinical rotations to Canadian-trained students. 
  • Step 3: Apply to CSMLS for a 'Prior Learning Assessment'
  • Step 4: If eligible, arrange to write the CSMLS general certification exam covering the five disciplines specified on the CSMLS website (link above). 
Be aware that the CSMLS exam is based on a competency profile.


In my experience, education and training in the UK and 'Down Under' exceeds that of the typical Canadian graduate, since Canada rejected the BSc as entry-level several years ago.
People who did not support the BSc were employers (private labs and public hospital labs, both govt-funded) and bureaucrats in provincial government departments of health.
Reasons for rejecting the BSc varied. But in my opinion, employer and bureaucrat rationales were biased: they perceived making the BSc entry level for nurses as being credential inflation leading to increased salaries without sufficient return on investment. They were determined to stop this happening in the case of medical laboratory technologists.
Accordingly, employers wanted the cheapest possible medical laboratory technologists, those who could be 'turned out' as quickly as possible and paid as little as possible. In their short-sighted view, with the move to increased laboratory automation and centralized testing, who needed a highly educated technologist whose education and training took 4 years?
For interest, the only (see correction below) Canadian program that provides both a BSc and professional certification by the CSMLS is the MLS program at the University of Alberta (UA). The first BSc (MLS) degrees were awarded in 1961. MLS also offers a post-diploma BSc.
Correction (9 May, 2012): The University of Ontario Institute of Technology - now Ontario Tech University - which opened in 2003, offers a Bachelor of Health Science (Hons) in MLS that also provides both a BSc and professional certification by the CSMLS.
All other Canadian programs are 2- or 3-yr diploma programs at technical institutes or community colleges (equivalent of USA 'associate degrees').
Focusing on the UA program where I taught for many years, UA MLS grads are eligible to write the American MT(ASCP)* exams and many have upon completing their degree. [*To change once the ASCP's Board of Registry and NCA merge to form a single US certification agency.]
This allows MLS grads from UA to work in the USA and many did during the mid-90s when laboratory jobs greatly decreased in Canada and many educational programs closed.
As well MLS is the only Canadian program whose grads are eligible to work in NZ without writing exams. They have extensive international mobility, which is how it should be.

1. Although many Canadian diploma holders have a BSc and later obtain a med lab tech diploma (to gain employment more easily), their initial BSc is seldom the equivalent of a BSc in MLS. As one example, few non-MLS BSc degrees inculcate quality assurance and quality system concepts the way that MLS degrees do. And it's tough to grasp quality concepts in short diploma program, especially when introducing so much new knowledge related to transfusion, hematology, etc.

2. An addendum stimulated by one of the blog's comments below ("the trend in Canada to "dumb down" medical science")Personal reflections on Canada's med lab technology / science scene: 
Discussing this topic is cringeworthy but I think it's necessary. Having taught 100s of medical technologists who obtained diplomas or bachelor degrees over the years and worked with dozens more, I must comment on the view that Canada has a 'dumbed down' system, particularly if it is misinterpreted to imply that Canadian clinical labs and all their staff are not world class. They are.
Because the norm in Canada has always been been diploma programs, those wanting to work as medical laboratory technologists attended 2- and 3-yr technical institutes and community colleges.
The professional society (now CSMLS) developed an internal route for laboratory technologists to progress in their careers, certification as 'Advanced Registered Technologists' (ARTs). Because subject certification was then possible in all 5 disciplines, technologists could obtain subject ARTs, as well as a general ART (encompassing 3 disciplines).
Initially, the ART was obtained by a combination of continuing education credits, writing a literature review followed by a research project, writing the paper, and defending it in a oral examination. Latterly, written examination was an option to the research project. In many ways the ART simulated a masters degree.
By tradition, supervisors, managers, and other senior personnel were ideally required to have an ART. However, one big problem existed: Sadly, no one outside the clinical laboratory recognized the ART. Eventually, fewer and fewer candidates applied for ART certification and in 2011 CSMLS began to phase them out, with the last certifications by the end of 2014.  
Another issue is how medical laboratory technologists are viewed by other health professionals. Many members of the health care team have bachelor degrees, including nurses (RNs), pharmacists, physiotherapists (where entry level is now a MSc). Since qualification prejudice continues to exist (consider how many physicians think of PhD holders), this affects how some view the credibility of diploma-holding medical laboratory technologists to be full partners on the health team.
Canada's clinical laboratories staffed by a combination of diploma-holding technologists (some with non-MLS degrees), technologists with a BSc in MLS (e.g., UA grads), ART holders, MSc and PhD level scientists, and directed by physicians, are some of the best in the world. Examples:
So, are Canada's labs 'dumbed down'? No. 
Would Canadian labs be improved by a stronger mix of more medical technologists with a BSc in MLS and diploma holders? I believe Yes. 
Would grads be better served by a BSc than a diploma, a resounding YES. They'd have more career mobility, more international mobility, and be better respected as a profession by other health care workers. 
What about job mobility for technologists trained in other English speaking countries besides the USA? Can university educated and trained UK, Oz, and NZ grads easily work in Canada as med lab techs? 

Unfortunately, no. The main reason is that programs in these countries, while providing education in the 5 basic disciplines, do not require clinical rotations in all 5 disciplines.

For example, NZ graduates of university programs  are ineligible to work in Canada because they may do a year's rotation in only 2 disciplines, e.g., 6 mth clinical rotations in their 4th year in each of 2 disciplines, e.g., hematology and transfusion science or clinical chemistry and hematology, etc., as at AUT in NZ.

In contrast, a typical Canadian grad may spend 3 mths in a hematology lab and one month in a transfusion service lab, only one-third of the total time spent by NZ grads in these labs, and in the case of transfusion science, one-sixth as much. But NZ MLS grads are not eligible to write the CSMLS general certification exam without obtaining equivalent clinical rotations in all 5 disciplines.

Is this not nuts, given that NZ MLS grads clearly have more extensive basic education than most Canadian grads (diploma holders), as well as more practical experience in at least 2 clinical laboratories?

OZ and UK grads are similarly stymied if they want to work in Canada because graduates of Australia and UK's university programs can specialize. Examples:
Why do these medical laboratory technologists face significant barriers to working in Canada? Is it all about protecting public safety by ensuring medical laboratory professionals meet Canadian standards of education and training? Yes, but it's also about protecting Canadian jobs for Canadians.

If you graduated from one of the above foreign programs and are certified by your county's professional body and have worked in one or more areas of a clinical laboratory (perhaps for for 5-15 years), why do you need to write the CSMLS general certification examination covering all 5 disciplines to work in Canada?

For interest, if the educational programs of any foreign-trained technologists include the 5 basic disciplines and rotations in all 5, i.e., are otherwise equivalent to Canadian programs (or better), foreign-trained candidates must write the CSMLS general certification exam to work in almost all Canadian medical laboratories.
Most Canadian provinces (seems now they all do) have regulatory bodies that de facto require that medical laboratory technologists be certified by the CSMLS as a condition of employment in a clinical lab that performs diagnostic tests on patients.
For lab professionals with experience (e.g., those who trained 10-15 yrs ago), and who have likely worked in one discipline (perhaps two) for years, writing an exam covering knowledge and competencies in 5 disciplines is not easy. And getting clinical rotations in Canadian labs is pretty much impossible.
I personally know NZ-, UK-, and USA-trained lab professionals who are better educated and trained than many Canadian grads, have ample current experience, and would make valuable contributions to Canadian labs and be exemplary employees. But they cannot work here, despite the fast-track BS of our governments.

True fast-tracking would allow
  • Different routes that don't require candidates to re-learn  specific disciplines (e.g., histotechnology), which they never will work in;
  • Restricted licenses to practice and work only in the area or areas for which you are well qualified.
The situation for those for whom English is a second language:
Besides becoming fluent in English, these technologists often need to upgrade their education and training to Canadian equivalency. As but one example, in transfusion science, the association of the Rh blood group system with severe hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn would not have been taught in Asian countries where almost everyone is Rh positive.
Upgrading programs are rare but exist. If candidates pass required English language competency tests, successfully complete whatever minimal upgrading is deemed necessary, write and pass the CSMLS general certification exam, they still may not be hired if their English remains weak. That's the reality of today's clinical laboratories where staff are stressed to the max, mainly due to under-staffing.  
If asked, I often advise foreign-trained grads to enroll in a Canadian medical laboratory technology program. It's a tough sell because they have to support themselves and their families. But in the end, this route can prevent much grief and frustration.

In total, not a pretty picture, but there it is.

Talk of fast-tracking foreign-trained medical laboratory technologists / medical lab scientists / biomedical scientists is largely smoke and mirrors.

As always, comments are most welcome. Thanks to all for commenting. See below.

Added 3 Dec. 2013
Reply to Anonymous (Zoë) With BSc in Molecular Biology from McGill. My feedback:

1. If you want to work in a clinical/medical laboratory in a hospital or private lab, take a diploma program in Clinical Genetics Technology to obtain CSMLS certification. 
2. As you know, if you want to work in a research lab at a university or biotech company, you do not need CSMLS certification. 
  • But jobs in university research labs are less well paid and the prof could lose funding at any time (research grants are increasingly hard to obtain in Canada), decreasing job stability.
  • Jobs at biotech companies also tend to be poorly paid with iffy job stability. 
3. Try Canadian Blood Services. They're heavily into molecular genetics these days. 

Added 6 Jan. 2014
In reply to Chineze Madu, who asked about someone with CSMLS certification working in the USA: My information is outdated and relates to the mid-1990s. I'll check if the same applies currently and update later.
  • Then, under NAFTA, you needed a Bachelor's degree plus work in a field with shortages in the USA 
  • To work as a clinical/medical lab scientist (as opposed to a clinical/medical lab technician), you needed to qualify (complicated, many paths were possible, the easiest being a BSc in MLS/CLS recognized as equivalent to American education and training)
  • USA credentialing scene was a bit of a mess, explained here:
  • In the past you would write and pass the exams of either ASCP or NCA to get certification. It's changed now. Both general certification and subject certification in some disciplines are possible.
In effect, this meant that in the 1990s when medical laboratory jobs became scarce in Canada due to government cutbacks, graduates of the MLS program at the University of Alberta, who qualified to write ASCP MT exams, and often did at graduation time, could apply for and get jobs in the USA as clinical/medical lab scientists. It was much tougher, almost impossible, for graduates of technical institutes and community colleges to cross into the States for work.

Will update if needed. 

Added 20 Jan. 2014
In reply to 'anonymous', Canadian programs that provides both a BSc and professional certification by the CSMLS exist:
MLS at the University of Alberta (UA) since 1961 (they also offer a post-diploma BSc).
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), which opened in 2003, offers a Bachelor of Health Science (Hons) in MLS that provides both a BSc and professional certification by CSMLS.
The CSMLS did push for the BSc to be entry level several years ago, but both provincial governments and employers did not support it. My view (no doubt biased) is that they saw it as

  1. Credential inflation, e.g., In teaching the 2-year diploma once needed to become a teacher is now a 4-year BEd. Nursing's diploma is now a 4-yr BSc, physiotherapy and occupational therapy were once undergraduate programs, but now entry level is a masters degree
  2. Salary inflation, costing them more money 
  3. Slippery slope, as happened in physiotherapy and occupational therapy
As well, the issue arose when major shortages existed (due to the ill thought out cutback in healthcare and educational institutions in the 1990s, e.g., in Alberta and elsewhere) and employers wanted med lab tech training to be a short as possible.

And technical institutes and community colleges, especially the former, more pronounced if they were 2-yr diploma programs, feared for loss of jobs for their educational staff.

Of course, politics was at work and governments like Alberta's did, and still does, see all education as worthwhile only if explicit job training, even at universities. Perhaps even a smidgen of anti-intellectualism exists in some of the MLAs across the river from UA in Edmonton.

I agree that a BSc as entry level for medical lab technologists (MLTs) would raise the status of the profession in Canada. It's hard for MLTs to participate as equals on health care teams when everyone else on the team has a BSc or higher degree as entry level. And international mobility would also be enhanced.

To me, it's more basic. Every person should be able maximize their potential in life. For example, it's so much easier to get further education if you have an undergraduate degree. And if the bottom ever falls out of your career choice, the degree helps with international mobility.

But that's not what our governments and employer want.

As always, comments are welcome.

Added 20 Jan 2014
Another anonymous comment below notes that this blog fails to mention that MLS programs at many colleges (assume Canadian ones) only accept applicants with a BSc because competition is fierce.

Not sure 'only' applies (would need real evidence) but agree that most applicants to MLT programs at Canadian technical institutes and community colleges have a BSc. The BSc could be in many areas but NOT the traditional disciplines of MLS (clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, histotechnology, transfusion science).

It's been true for years now, mainly because the BSc holders want the jobs that CSMLS certification all but guarantees and a university degree does not.

To me, this situation is an incredible waste of taxpayer money. Not a good bang for the buck. Not efficient of student time, cost, and effort.Why you ask? Here's why:

  1. Assume a BSc takes 4 years and training at a technical institute takes 2 years, perhaps 2+years, and at a community college 2-3 years. Canadian taxpayers subsidize a minimum of 6 years of education to turn out a BSc grad with a diploma and CSMLS certification.
  2. Believe me, it's subsidized because students pay only a fraction of the actual cost of their diplomas and degrees. To say nothing of the cost of their rotations in clinical labs.
  3. Instead, if they enrolled in an MLS program like the one at the University of Alberta, they'd spent 4 years and obtain the same qualifications, indeed a better one because the UA BSc is one in MLS (all disciplines). 
  4. Moreover, UA MLS grads are eligible to write ASCP (MT) exams in the USA and many do, immediately post-graduation.
So, yes, when CSMLS promoted the BSc as entry level, governments and employers nixed it. Now they pay for that shortsighted decision by subsidizing 2+ years of education for BSc holders chasing a job. And the grads are less qualified than true MLS BSc holders.

Added 14 Apr. 2014
Anonymous below asks if Canada is the best place for the profession of med lab technology / science.

About global med lab technology and Canada's relative place in it, who knows. On one level Canada is a great place to live and work in any profession. We are truly blessed with an overall fantastic quality of life, regardless of job.

On another level, for a long time trends in clinical labs in Canada, the USA, and probably globally are towards cutting costs, which means regionalization, central testing facilities (think mega-lab assembly lines as in car manufacturing), and hiring the cheapest person for the job, i.e., those with less well educated who are trained on the job for specific tasks and don't need to know much else except when to ask for help.

In the end life is what we make of it, regardless of location and there is much more to life than our careers. Think I'll stop on that note.

Added 6 May 2014
I hope this update gives key, definitive answers to those who trained outside of Canada and want to work here as a medical laboratory technologist.

1. You must have a prior learning assessment by CSMLS.
2. Key point: If you're a general medical lab technologist, you must be competent in five disciplines: clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, histotechnology (histopathology), and transfusion science (transfusion medicine, blood banking).
3. Assuming you qualify, you must write the CSMLS General Certification exam.

This pretty much excludes candidates from Australia, NZ, UK and USA applicants because their educational system does not require a clinical rotation in all five disciplines (or any training in histotechnology for USA grads).

Personally, I think this is nuts because it prevents exceptionally qualified foreigners from working in Canada. It also hinders international mobility of skilled workers, who's perspective could bring much needed creativity. But that's the route CSMLS has chosen to go.

For interest, I know Canadian grads of MLS at the University of Alberta who can work in NZ and the UK with having their education and training assessed but do NOT need to write certification exams in those countries.

Added 21 July2014
In reply to Riti:

In general, you can't work temporarily as a med lab tech in Canada without Canadian certification. Contact CSMLS or the provincial regulatory body for where you will likely reside, e .g., in Alberta. They will have the latest information.

You're correct, as a USA grad you'll need a histotechnology course and clinical rotation.

Other options: Working as a lab assistant for less pay (short programs are available) or, from Dec. 2013 (see main blog above):

For research lab at a university or biotech company, you do not need CSMLS certification. But jobs in university research labs are less well paid and the prof could lose funding at any time, decreasing job stability. Jobs at biotech companies also tend to be poorly paid with iffy job stability.

You could also try working in industry and govt: food and water testing labs. Two examples:
Added 16 August 2014
As mentioned earlier Michener Institute in Toronto has a 16 week bridging program. Have no idea how successful graduates are on CSMLS exams


  1. Anonymous5:52 AM

    This was my program, a B.HSc and CSMLS eligible program.

  2. The lack of professional biomedical laboratory science (BMLS) standards in education and practice is of great concern not only in the more traditional applications as you have described in Canada but given the emerging and rapidly expanding global tourism market. How to address international education and practice standards is not clear, but short of demonstrating quality added in healthcare delivery by the BMLS role, I fear de-professionalization for us all as consumers, providers, and payers all seek the global market price in healthcare.

  3. Thanks, Elizabeth. Developing international agreements for 'equivalent' BMLS education and training is difficult given the range of qualification routes that exists.

    Among English speaking developed countries a roadblock to working in Canada is Canada's insistence on general certification versus other countries allowing more specialization, at least for clinical rotations. For many (not all) Canadian grads,a barrier to working elsewhere is lack of a BSc in MLS.

    You raise an interesting point about de-professionalization resulting from a global market in health care. Do you mean employers hiring less well trained staff to save costs? Or the potential for cheaper cross-border laboratory testing? Or something else entirely?

  4. I read your blog, and was interested in the trend in Canada to "dumb down" medical science. In Australia, we seem to have a similar problem.
    Although it varies a bit from state to state, we have two general levels of lab workers - Technical Officers (technicians) and Medical Scientists.
    The minimum to apply for the science jobs is obviously a science degree, the minimum to apply for a technician job is an associate diploma or certificate in med lab science.
    There has been a concerted effort, in order to save money, to replace medical scientists with technicians. As a scientist leaves, then their job is "reviewed" which generally means "downgraded" to technical level.
    The majority of applicants for the job will still have degrees, but will apply just to get a job. So, in Australia, we have a large proportion of over qualified technicians.
    They are still utilising the knowledge gained in the four year degree, but getting paid substantially less. They do this, sometimes for years, until they can get a Medical Scientist job.
    This does nothing to promote medical science as a career.
    Marco DiGirolamo

  5. Thanks, Marco.Very interesting about Australia. I suspect this happens in the USA too where there are those with MT (ASCP) / CLS (NCA) certification and others with MLT /CLT qualifications.

    About dumbing down, I've written an addition to the blog that addresses this issue.

  6. Thank, anonymous.

    I was aware of the UOIT program but mistakenly assumed it was a post-diploma program. I've corrected the error in the blog proper.

  7. Anonymous12:04 AM

    Hello, I have graduated from a Bachelors of Science program in Molecular Biology from McGill University and I am now becoming interested in working in medical laboratory science. I've applied for jobs in labs, but most require certification as a registered technologist as a mandatory requirement. Do you know of any loopholes in terms of post-graduate education that can give me that certification without having to enter into a diploma program?
    Thank you for your advice,

    1. Hi Anonymous, thanks for inquiry. See the main blog for my reply.

      *If you include your e-mail address in a comment, I'll write you privately so that we can discuss more fully. Comments are moderated, so I won't post it for others to see.

  8. Please can you tell me what the possibilities are for someone with a CSMLS certification working in the US?

  9. Thanks for asking. See main blog for my reply.

  10. Anonymous1:40 AM

    The Canadian program is very sound and in many ways is far superior to the USA. The problem is the Canadian insistence on using its community college for certain professions. Many Canadian programs are at the BS level (I have studied in both countries) and would earn a BS in the States. The goal should be for Canada's community colleges to adopt the 3+1 model and give BS degree after the 1 year internship. This would raise the value of the profession in Canada and also make for more international mobility. CSMLS should push for that.

  11. Hi Anonymous. Many thanks for your comment. I'll reply in main body of the blog.

  12. Anonymous5:32 PM

    This article fails to mention that the MLS program at many colleges now will only accept applicants who currently possess a BSc. Competition is fierce to get in as they are limited enrolement programs. I am currently enrolled in a MLS program and every single person has a BSc in either biology or health science.

  13. Thanks, anonymous. See main blog for reply.

  14. Anonymous9:50 PM

    How difficult would it be for a Medical Laboratory Technologist from Canada to get a job in the U.S.? Would probably only qualify for a technician job....?

  15. Thanks, Anonymous. See Jan. 6th response.

    Canadian MLTs working as technicians in USA is possible, but first you need to get OK from US immigration to cross border.

    In the past some have gotten work 'under the radar' with employers who are desperate. But this is an iffy route to take. Makes sense if spouse gets work in USA & you're there anyway.

    Best to ask prospective American employers in advance.

  16. Anonymous11:56 PM

    Can foereign grasuates from the Philippines get certified by CMLS? I am currently working as lab technilogist here in the US. I have a BSc degree from the Phils which is equivalent to the US degree, as evaluated by CGFNS and another education evaluator. We have histopathology and has 12 months clinical rotation as part of the program.

  17. Anonymous1:16 PM

    I am pursuing my application for FSW as Medical Laboratory Technologist, is Canada the best choice for our profession?

    1. Hi Anonymous. Sorry but I don't know what FSW is or where you live. See main blog for rest of my reply.

  18. Hi, i hope you reply. How difficult is it to get a seat (for an international high school student) in an MLT program at an institute in canada?

  19. Hi, i hope you reply. How difficult is it for an international high school student to get a seat in an mlt program in canada?

  20. Anonymous6:17 PM

    im from the phillpine, rmt. imt(aspi) but im intersted to work in canada, is acpi certification allowed in canada to qualify to work as medtch?

  21. Anonymous6:31 PM

    Hi my name is Pam, currently working in Australia as a multi-skilled scientist in areas of biochemistry haematology transfusion medicine and microbiology.

    I have 4 years experience in these areas and graduated in a 4 year degree Bachelor medical laboratory science at James Cook University.

    I would like to move to Canada to work as a medical technologist. How would I go about getting there?

  22. Anonymous4:16 AM

    Hi every one. Its great to have people from same profession with diverse skills, well I am Medical Technologist, also passed Professional AIMS Exam from Australia, Now I want to work & Live in Canada, what possible route of certification do I need? apart from this does ASCP(MT) from USA is acceptable in Canadian job market. Abid Saeed, Pakistan

  23. There is a french program offered by the Université de Moncton in New-Brunswick that also provides both a BSc and professional certification by the CSMLS.
    See link:

    I, myself, am a graduate from this University.

  24. Merci, Marie-France. Here's the link to the NB program:
    Baccalauréat appliqué en sciences de laboratoire médical

    Cheers, Pat

  25. Anonymous6:37 PM

    I am a laboratory technician currently working with a mission hospital in Ghana and with four years work experience. I am good in phlebotomy and want to apply to work in the USA as a phlebotomist in any medical facility. How do i apply and is it feasible?

    1. Suspect you 1st need to investigate getting USA work visa & immigration basics.

  26. Anonymous9:55 PM

    I'm a foriegn-trained MLT, have a MSc in Medical Science. I worked in microbiology and medical genetics for 8 years in Israel. In Quebec I applied and entered MLT program in college. The program is 3 years long. I just finished my first year. The program is very concentrated and tough. Heroic sacrifice for "dumb down" MLT future... It's sad.

  27. Degrees mean nil when it comes to protecting patient safety. In Canada (& elsewhere) you need to get qualifications that show you are equivalent to nation's grads.

  28. Hi... ;) I have a 4-year Bachelor degree in MLS from the Philippines. I got my education assessed in World Education Service in Canada and according to them, my degree is only equivalent to a 2-year diploma. Am I eligible to apply for the PLA? I do have rotations to the 5 areas mentioned.

    Another question. Is ASCP honored in Canada? Would being certified to that suffice? The Canadian certification sounds soo complicated.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Lia. Best to ask about the PLA. Some Canadians have the equivalent of a 2-yr diploma and become registered as med lab techs.

      You will likely need to take some refresher courses, though.

      ASCP is not honoured in Canada because of the lack of histotechnology.

      I know it's discouraging. Also see my reply to Riti in the main blog.

  29. I'm a US graduate with four year degree in Medical Technologist. I know Canada requires us to have histotechnology course completed along with internship to qualify to challenge the board( correct me if I'm wrong).
    Is it worth the wait for twice a year exam ?(considering you already have ASCP certificate)
    Can US degree in Med Tech work temporarily until we do qualify to sit for exam?
    Any other jobs that Med Tech can chip in?? or would be able to with any certificate?

    Sorry to bombard you with questions, but this is my only shot to move to Canada.,I'd appreciate any help!

    1. Hi Riti,

      Sorry, I replied 21 July, 2014 in main text of blog.

  30. Anonymous3:50 AM

    HI, Blut

    I studied four years of medical technology from Pakistan, but according to WES it is equivalent to 3 years..Now iam confused what to do?should go for any kind of advanced diploma in Canada Or what else subject should which does not have so lengthy certification and procedures

  31. Please see blog and earlier replies. If you qualify, you could try Michener Institute's 16-week bridging program

  32. Anonymous10:36 PM

    Hi ma'am Blut.
    I am a graduate of a 4-year course Bs Medical Technology(a.k.a MLS/CLS) in the Philippines and am now holding a Registered MedTech Certificate also from the Philippines. Do you know if I can work in the UK with my RMT and ASCPi Certificate? Your reply will be highly appreciated.

  33. Anonymous10:29 PM

    Hey there,

    First of all, I would like to say thank you for all the information provided. There are a few very helpful tips,

    I went through a 3 Year MLT training in Germany and applied recently for accreditation with the CSMLS. It does not look promising (just in the process to apply for an appeal right now, because my PLA had been found not equivalent to Canadian Standards). I was wondering if anybody has any information available for people in similar situations (trained in Germany)?

    Thank you :)

    1. Thanks for your comment. Best advice I can offer is, once in Canada, if you don't have a med lab background from the UK, Australia, NZ, typically an MLS BSc, take the shortest MLT program you can, typically 2-3 years. Brutal, but there it is.

  34. Hi, your blog is very useful like people who are interested to come and work in canada in the field of medical lab technology.I have a BSc (3 years) in Microbiology and MSc ( 2 years) in Bio-informatics, my field of interest was in Immunology and thus i am working in the field of Transfusion Medicine. Now i am working as a medical technologist in a AABB accredited Blood Bank ,I am working mainly in the Immunohematology lab of the Blood Bank (5 years) , which is now an International Referance Lab( IRL),approved by AABB.I am totaly confused on what course should i take if i want to work in canada as a Medical Technologist, is there any certification courses that i can take prior to come to Canada. I am already waiting for my immigration procees with my family to come to canada as my wife is a Nurse by proffession and we have applied through her. I am waiting for a reply from u. is my mail id

  35. Hi,
    This is an update for my previous question, i studied in india and now working in middle east. Thank you ..

  36. Unfortunately, Canada no longer offers subject certification in individual med lab specialties (except for genetics and cytotechnology). That means you will need to write the CSML general exam covering 5 disciplines (clin chem, clin micro, hematology, histotechnology, transfusion science).

    Suspect it's best for you t try to get employment at a university or govt. related to your MSc in bio-informatics.

  37. Anonymous6:59 PM

    Hi dear,
    I would like to get certificate from csmls.I have Diploma in Pathology from Pakistan with 3 years experience in 5 sections of laboratory. How to apply for test and any pre-assessment course in Canada.

  38. Hi, I graduated as MT (4yrs) PHilippines with 6yrs experience butand currently working in US for 5years now and I do have Ascp (mls) license. Is there a big possibility that I can land a job in Canada without goingto school?

  39. Likely answer is no. Contact CSMLS for details.,


  40. Hi ma'am... ;) I really need your expertise regarding my situation. I have a pending immigration in Canada and by early next year, I'd probably be granted my immigration status. I have a 4-year Bachelor degree in MLS from the Philippines but when my education was assessed by WES (World Education Service), my degree is only equivalent to a 2-year diploma. I'm a new graduate as well so I don't have a work experience yet but I do have internship rotations to the 5 areas in the lab mentioned. My question is, should I still try to be assessed thru the PLA? I mean, do I stand the chance to have the eligibility? Do I have a choice if I want to work as an MLS there? Or should I just apply to a bridging education program directly like the Michener's that you mentioned. If the payment for PLA is not that expensive, I would totally go for it without blinking but that is too much money. I'm also thinking whether I should just apply as an medical lab assistant. Do I still need a PLA for that? Any reply would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! ;)

    1. Contact CSMLS. Yes, you can likely work as med lab assistant without going through all the CSMLS hoops but you need to investigate that.

  41. Anonymous5:19 PM

    hi mum

    thank you for help ful info

    As I am requiested by CSMLS to take Histotechnology course inorder to write the exam, is there possibility to take clinical rotation on histotechnology lab ? if so where in Alberta

    second question, how many percent of those who wrotw the exam and registered with Alberta Regulatory body found jobs on medical laboratories.

  42. Why do you address comment to "Mum'?

    Getting clinical rotation anywhere in Canada is next to impossible. Go through proper channels.

  43. Hi ma'am!

    Can I apply directly to a bridging education program like the Micheners' 4 months thing without going through PLA?

  44. Hi

    Can I apply to work as an MLS in Canada with a UK BSc (3 years) in Biomedical Sciences? I am not trained yet in any of the specialisations..Thank you in advance.

    1. No.

      And Canada requires clinical rotations in 5 disciplines (clin chemistry, clin microbiology, transfusion science, hematology, histotechnology).

  45. Anonymous4:00 PM

    Hello, I have a bachelors degree in medical technology. Im working as a medical technologist but I've applied for jobs in labs in canada, but most require certification as a registered technologist as a mandatory requirement. Do you know of any loopholes in terms of post-graduate education that can give me that certification without having to enter into a diploma program or any other program?
    Thank you!

    1. Depends where you were trained but note requirement for clinical rotations in 5 disciplines. Today that generally excludes NZ, UK, USA.

      Loopholes? No, there are none. Completing diploma program will ensure success.

      Best advice is ask CSMLS or regulatory college in province of choice.

  46. Hi Blut

    Your blog is indeed very informative.

    My question is this. I will be migrating to Canada with my family in August. My wife has Bsc and Msc in Medical Microbiology. She has 5yrs working experience in the lab.

    What do you advise we do ahead of time to get her certified to work in Canada? We intend to settle in Ontario.

  47. Without knowing your country of origin, but regardless, if your wife has university degrees in med micro, but not theoretical and practical training in a clinical laboratory, she is in tough to work in a clinical lab in Canada.

    Ontario has licensure, so best to contact CSMLS and CMLTO

    She can seek non-clinical jobs as discussed elsewhere in the blog

  48. Also CSML no longer offers subject certification in any of the main clin lab disciplines. Makes it impossible for a specialist to work in Canada without taking a full med lab tech program of 2-3 yrs.

  49. Hi, I need your help to work in Canada Ontario , My wife is going to join PhD programme in macmaster univerity and iam planing to go with her on open work permit. I am doing PhD in medical immunology and had completed Phil in medical immunology, MSc in Microbiology, and BSc in Medical laboratory technology...Please suggest me something that could help me to secure a job in Ontario.

  50. Anonymous10:16 AM

    Hi ma,am...I am a Bsc medical laboratory technologist graduate from india..and I want to pursue my masters in medical laboratory science in Canada can I be able to get job there(Canada) after graduation..what are the possible procedures...thanks

  51. Thanks for your question. First, about pursuing a Master's in Med Lab Sci in Canada, only place to do that is MLS at University of Alberta & even there, not in MLS per se.

    Second, to work in Canada as a med lab technologist, contact CSMLS.

    Please read blog carefully. It's very difficult to work in clinical labs without Canadian CSMLS certification.

  52. Hello, I am a canadian trained technologist with 30 yrs experience in a small rural lab. I am currently applying to the Health Care Professionals Council HCPC in the UK. I want to work there for a few years taking locum positions. The process is quite arduous. Does anyone have experience with this transfer of credentials?

  53. Anonymous9:00 AM

    I hold masters in clinical microbiology and ASCPi certification. I am currently a lecturer in a national university teaching BSc MLT. I would like to relocate to Canada to work in a clinical lab or teach in a medical lab school in Canada. Your advice will be very much appreacited.

  54. Anonymous7:48 PM

    I am a US citizen and a recent PhD graduate from a US biomedical science program. I would really like to work in a clinical lab or a lab at a hospital. I've been considering the MLT program at UAlberta (I want to live/work in Canada, ideally Edmonton) but from what I saw it is another 3 years of school. I have 8+ years of basic science lab experience, not clinical lab you think going back to school for this is a good idea? Would my education end up counting against me on an application?

    1. PhD might work against you. 3 more yrs to work in entry-level med lab tech position in hospital lab, many highly automated, competing against eager 20-somethings? If me, I opt for something else.

  55. Anonymous6:25 AM

    Thanks much for this detailed information. I am an American citizen, currently living in France and teaching English to chemistry students at the community college level(for whatever that is worth). I have a US Bachelor's of Arts in Environmental studies including a year of chemistry and biology. I have aunts, uncles and cousins in Canada, so am interested in ultimately immigrating there. I was looking at the Diploma programs at New Brunswick Community College and the College of the North Atlantic as they seem to be more affordable than where my family live, in BC. My thought is to possibly move to BC after graduating as they seem to have a need for MLTs there. However, I wasn't sure if these programs allowed foreign students. I'm waiting to hear from them as well, but thought that you might be able to shed light on this. Additionally, would I seem to be a competitive applicant? (It appears I would fit the minimum requirements but in the thread above, it sounded like many had BSc degrees in Chem or Bio which I do not). Many thanks! -nkp

    1. Don't know answer to your specific questions but can discuss in general. BC is very environment conscious, a place where you could perhaps use your BA. I'd think carefully about how you want to spend your working life, day in, day out.

      Med Lab Sci is highly automated these days & work in clinical labs requires rigid adherence to SOPs. There's decreased upward mobility because folks tend to stay in jobs forever.

      If I were 20-25 & wanted a program to give me a relatively secure job, med lab sci fits the bill. Some fields are more hands-on & problem solving than others.

      Recommend you consider big pic before settling on future career.

  56. hi dears i am adnan ahmad from a asian continent pakistan first of all is there any chance for me to appear on the path of PLA processing ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,after this is the loan can be given to pakistani students or not ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,3rd question is there any possibility to immigrate simply on the base of study not other that

  57. Adnan, see CSMLS website for PLA assessment. It's really hard to emigrate to Canada and takes a long time. See Canadian govt website