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Medical Laboratory Technologists

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NOC:3211
Occupation:Medical Laboratory Technologists
Category:Health

About the job

Nature of work:

Medical laboratory technologists conduct medical laboratory tests, experiments and analyses to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. It has been estimated that 85 percent of medical diagnostic decisions are made on the basis of laboratory results. They are employed in medical laboratories in hospitals, blood banks, community and private clinics, research facilities and post-secondary educational institutions. Medical laboratory technologists who are supervisors are included in this group.

Job duties:
Medical laboratory technologists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Set up, operate and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Conduct chemical analyses of blood, urine, and cerebrospinal and other body fluids.
  • Study blood cells and other tissues to determine their relation to various physiological and pathological conditions.
  • Prepare tissue sections for microscopic examinations using techniques to demonstrate special cellular tissue elements or other characteristics.
  • Perform blood group, type and compatibility tests for transfusion purposes.
  • Establish procedures for the analysis of specimens and for medical laboratory experiments.
  • Conduct quality control assessment of testing techniques.
  • May supervise and train other medical laboratory technical staff, students and helpers.
  • May assist pathologists during autopsies.

Medical laboratory technologists may specialize in areas such as clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, histotechnology, immunohematology, cytotechnology and cytogenetics.

Sample job titles:
  • autopsy technologist - medical laboratory
  • clinical laboratory technologist
  • combined laboratory and x-ray technologist
  • immunology technologist - medical laboratory
  • medical laboratory supervisor
  • medical laboratory technologist
  • medical technologist
  • microbiology technologist - medical laboratory
  • registered medical technologist
  • tissue technologist - medical laboratory
Skills:

This work demands accuracy and close attention to detail. You must have good manual dexterity and be comfortable working with instruments and technology, including information technology. Good communication skills and the ability to work with various health professionals are important. Although teamwork is essential, an MLT must be self-sufficient and able to work independently, be capable of critical thinking, and exercise good judgement. You must be flexible, open to change, and willing to keep pace with rapid developments in the field.

Job requirements:
  • A two- or three-year college program in medical laboratory technology is required and a period of supervised practical training may be required.
  • Registration with the provincial licensing body is required to work in Nova Scotia.
  • Certification by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science is usually required by employers.
Other considerations:

Depending on the size and type of institution, people in these jobs may be required to work evenings, weekends, or holidays.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a small percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are not expected to be a major contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Medical Laboratory Technologists most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 66% of Medical Laboratory Technologists who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $67,208. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Medical Laboratory Technologists595Moderate growth70Low
Minimum: $25.00
Median: $32.50
Maximum: $39.00
Minimum: $20,663
Median: $64,210
Maximum: $74,821
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
Medical Laboratory TechnologistsCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time80%77%
Percent self-employed0%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentMedical Laboratory TechnologistsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern8%x12%$30,581
Northern14%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton19%x13%$32,974
Halifax51%x47%$41,209
Annapolis Valley7%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeMedical Laboratory TechnologistsCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
15-243%1%
25-3431%15%
35-4424%28%
45-5431%31%
55-648%20%
65+2%5%
Median Age4744
GenderMedical Laboratory TechnologistsCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
Female87%84%
Male13%16%
EducationMedical Laboratory TechnologistsCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax1.1%$27,581
High schoolN/A$24,3896.9%$24,119
Trades certificate1.5%$35,8015.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma60.9%$37,32239.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma2.3%$34,5334.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree33.8%$43,20727.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/A$55,0722.3%$61,833
Master's degreeN/A$45,8255.1%$87,808
Doctorate2.3%x0.7%$70,843
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/A$67,0997.2%$83,000
Total100%100%
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.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Medical Laboratory Technologist
Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Medical Laboratory Technologists
380 Bedford Highway, Suite 202
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
(902) 453-9605
(902) 454-3535
info@nscmlt.org
Useful contacts:
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
info@hcsc.ca

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.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
waterfront.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Cytotechnology/cytotechnologist
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to work with pathologists to detect changes in body cells that may indicate, and permit diagnosis of, the early development of cancers and other diseases. These programs include courses in biochemistry, microbiology, applied mathematics, microscopy, slide preparation, identification of cellular structures and abnormalities, and laboratory procedures and safety.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Program Name:Genetics - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the scientific study of the organization, recombination, function, regulation, and transmission of heritable information in biological organisms at all levels of complexity. These programs include courses in Mendelian genetics, mechanisms of gene regulation, chromosome structure and replication, epigenetic phenomena, DNA repair and recombination, sex determination, genetic interactions between genomes, and molecular evolution.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Program Name:Molecular biology
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the structure and function of biological macromolecules and the role of molecular constituents and mechanisms in supramolecular assemblies and cells. These programs include courses in such topics as molecular signalling and transduction, regulation of cell growth, enzyme substrates and mechanisms of enzyme action, DNA-protein interaction, and applications to fields such as biotechnology, genetics, cell biology, and physiology.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Additional resources:

Work Occupation Video(s)

Medical Laboratory Technologist