Health Career Profiles

Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT)

Career Description

Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT) is a vital member of the healthcare team. MLTs are licensed healthcare professionals who with the use of microscopes, chemical analyzers and other high-tech instruments, carefully analyzing samples of patients’ tissues and bodily fluids to aid in the diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, and prevention of diseases. MLT’s perform, develop, evaluate, correlate and assure accuracy and validity of complex laboratory testing. A major role of the MLT is to perform quality control assessment of testing techniques and analyzers to ensure accuracy of results. Strong communication skills and the ability to demonstrate professionalism and cultural awareness and safety are required as interaction with other healthcare professionals and patients is a key role.

Medical laboratory technologists should be detailed oriented, a critical thinker and be able to work independently and as a team. MLTs also play a leadership role in supervising medical laboratory assistants. The MLT professional is expected to work shift work, weekends and may be on call.

There are three main programs of medical laboratory technology studies;

  • general MLT which includes clinical biochemistry, clinical haematology, clinical histotechnology, clinical microbiology, and transfusion medicine,
  • diagnostic cytology, and
  • clinical genetic.

Approximate Salary:

$27.00 – $37.00/hour

Academic and Licensing Requirements

  • These fields of study requires an in-depth understanding of the biological, chemical sciences and math.
  • Must meet English language requirements
  • Completion of High School or equivalent with the requisite academic courses
  • Completion of a 2-3 year program in general medical laboratory technology, diagnostic cytotechnology or clinical genetics.
  • Upon completion of study, an individual is required to write the national certification exam which is administered through the Canadian Society for Laboratory

Once an individual has passed the national certification examination they must obtain a license with the Nova Scotia College of Medical Laboratory Technologists. to practice as a medical laboratory technologist in Nova Scotia.

Where to study in Nova Scotia

  • Nova Scotia Community College — 3 year program
  • Dalhousie University — Offers a post diploma program to complete a bachelor of Health Science degree. The curriculum is equivalent to two years of full-time university study. You may take these studies part time.
  • The Diagnostic Cytology and Clinical genetics programs are not offered in Nova Scotia, but are accessed at the Michener Institute in Ontario.

Interesting Fact:

“It has been estimated that 75% of medical diagnostic decisions are made on the basis of laboratory results”.