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Medical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' Assistants

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NOC:3212
Occupation:Medical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' Assistants
Category:Health

About the job

Nature of work:

Medical laboratory technicians play an important supportive role in medical labs. They assist medical laboratory technologists by conducting routine medical laboratory tests and setting up, cleaning, and maintaining medical laboratory equipment. They are employed in medical laboratories in hospitals, clinics, research facilities, post-secondary educational institutions and government research laboratories. Medical laboratory technologists who are also supervisors are included in this group.

Pathologists' assistants assist at autopsies and examinations of surgical specimens or perform autopsies under a pathologist's supervision. They are usually employed in hospitals and universities.

Job duties:
Medical laboratory technicians perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Collect blood, tissue and other samples from patients.
  • Log patient samples and prepare them for testing.
  • Set up medical laboratory equipment.
  • Conduct routine laboratory tests and sample analyses.
  • Perform quality assurance of testing techniques.
  • Clean and maintain medical laboratory and medical laboratory equipment.
Pathologists' assistants perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Prepare for autopsies by obtaining patients' medical records and arranging for radiographic examinations.
  • Assist with or perform autopsies and surgical specimen examinations under pathologists' supervision.
  • Dissect, examine, weigh and photograph organs and specimens, collect tissue samples for chemical analysis and record findings.
  • Discard specimens according to established safety procedures.
  • Clean and maintain instruments, equipment and supplies.
  • May prepare bodies for release to funeral homes following completion of autopsies.
  • May supervise and train junior resident pathologists and morgue attendants.
Sample job titles:
  • biological technician - medical laboratory
  • blood bank technician
  • clinical laboratory technician
  • community health technician - medical laboratory
  • medical laboratory aide
  • medical laboratory helper
  • medical laboratory technician
  • morgue attendant supervisor
  • pathology assistant
  • phlebotomist
Skills:

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.

Job requirements:
  • Medical laboratory technicians/assistants require completion of a college certificate program in medical laboratory science.
  • Certification by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science may be required for medical laboratory technicians/assistants.
  • Combined laboratory and X-ray technicians require completion of a combined laboratory X-ray technology program.
  • Pathologists' assistants require some post-secondary courses or a university degree in life sciences and specialized on-the-job training.
Other considerations:

None

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all 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 large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Medical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' Assistants most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 58% of Medical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' Assistants who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $47,417. 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 Technicians and Pathologists' Assistants640Moderate growth50Low
Minimum: $20.50
Median: $24.00
Maximum: $35.00
Minimum: $8,349
Median: $41,305
Maximum: $67,684
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 Technicians and Pathologists' AssistantsCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time75%77%
Percent self-employed0%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentMedical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' AssistantsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern6%x12%$30,581
Northern11%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton15%x13%$32,974
Halifax57%$36,31147%$41,209
Annapolis Valley11%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeMedical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' AssistantsCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
15-2410%1%
25-3423%15%
35-4417%28%
45-5429%31%
55-6418%20%
65+2%5%
Median Age4244
GenderMedical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' AssistantsCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
Female85%84%
Male15%16%
EducationMedical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' AssistantsCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax1.1%$27,581
High school13.3%x6.9%$24,119
Trades certificate7.0%x5.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma54.5%$64,20239.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma4.9%x4.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree18.9%$64,12927.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax2.3%$61,833
Master's degree1.4%x5.1%$87,808
DoctorateN/Ax0.7%$70,843
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax7.2%$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:
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
feedback@blood.ca
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: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.
See all institutions providing this program+
Cape Breton Business College
315 Jamieson Street PO Box 33 Whitney Pier
Sydney, NS B1N 3B1
(902) 564-2222
info@cbbc.ns.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:Epidemiology
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of disease, disability, and trauma patterns within and across populations and the development of health management mechanisms to prevent and control disease outbreaks and injurious behaviours. These programs include courses in biostatistics, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, disease and injury determinants, genetic disease and disability factors, behavioural studies, health services research, environmental disease and injury factors, and population studies.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Program Name:Pathology/experimental pathology
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 expression, initiation, maintenance and progression of tissue injury and disease, including death, and the relationship of pathogenesis to fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms. These programs include courses in immunology, microbiology, gene expression, inflammation, cell injury, apoptosis, immunopathology, molecular markers of disease and toxins, neoplasia, growth regulation, and organ- and system-specific investigations.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Additional resources: