Medical Laboratory Technicians

Occupation:Medical Laboratory Technicians

About the job

Nature of work:

Medical laboratory technicians play an important supportive role in medical labs. Medical laboratory assistants may collect blood, tissue, or other samples from patients, log patient samples, and prepare them for testing. They also assist medical laboratory technologists by conducting routine medical laboratory tests and setting up, cleaning, and maintaining medical laboratory equipment.

Phlebotomists or blood bank technicians draw blood from patients or blood donors for medical testing and may also help prepare and process the blood for testing.


This work demands close attention to detail. You must have good manual dexterity and be comfortable working with instruments and technology. Good communication skills and the ability to cooperate with others are important. You should be responsible, dependable, and willing to keep pace with rapid developments in the field.

Other considerations:


Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “fair”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is around average. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 850, and so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next five years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With 20% of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Medical Laboratory Technicians may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common.

The median employment income for 55% of individuals in this occupational group who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 was $46,969. The median income for the occupation overall was $37,750
(Source: 2011 National Household Survey)

Estimated employment in 2011Estimated change in employment between 2011 and 2016Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2011-2016Estimated rate of unemployment in 2014 Estimated hourly earnings in 2013
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Below Average
Percent employed full-time: 52.5 %
Percent self employed:1.9 %
Where will I likely work?
Area of Employment% Employed
Southern Region16.7
Northern Region14.8
Cape Breton18.5
Industry of Employment% Employed
Other Services1.9
Rubber, Plastics & Chemical Manufacturing2.8
Public Administration4.7
Health Care and Social Assistance90.6
What are the workers like?
Age% Employed
Gender% Employed
Education% Employed
Less than high school graduation certificate3.5
High school graduation certificate or equivalent18.7
Trades certificate or diploma11.6
Non-university certificate or diploma34.4
University certificate or diploma below bachelor14.2
University bachelor's degree13.5
University post graduate degrees4.1
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Canadian Blood Services
7071 Bayers Road, Suite 252
Halifax, NS B3L 4T7
Tel: (902) 474-3765
Fax: (613) 731-1411
Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science
33 Wellington Street North
Hamilton, ON L8R 1M7
Tel: (800) 263-8277
Fax: (905) 528-4968
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Clinical laboratory science/medical technology/technologist
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to conduct and supervise complex medical tests, clinical trials, and research experiments; manage clinical laboratories; and consult with physicians and clinical researchers on diagnoses, disease causation and spread, and research outcomes. These programs include courses in the theory and practice of hematology; clinical chemistry; microbiology; immunology; immunohematology; physiological relationships to test results; laboratory procedures and quality assurance controls; test and research design and implementation; analytic techniques; laboratory management and personnel supervision; data development and reporting; medical informatics; and professional standards and regulations.
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Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
Program Name:Clinical/medical laboratory assistant
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals, under the supervision of physicians or laboratory scientists or technologists, to perform testing procedures, phlebotomy, and other duties in support of laboratory teams. These programs include courses in clinical procedures, various laboratory tests, laboratory mathematics, computer technology, equipment operation and maintenance, sterilization and safety, communications skills, and interpersonal skills.
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Cape Breton Business College
315 Jamieson Street PO Box 33 Whitney Pier
Sydney, NS B1N 3B1
(902) 564-2222