About Alternate Careers

Who we are

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) sets the qualification standards in medical laboratory science in Canada. We conduct exams across Canada and issue certificates to candidates who meet the prescribed standard.

CSMLS provides a single point of access for prior learning assessment (PLA) to internationally educated medical laboratory technologists who are seeking Canadian certification.

The PLA process evaluates academic credentials, language proficiency, clinical training and work experience. Trained assessors from the CSMLS are responsible for evaluating work experience and clinical training. Evaluation of language proficiency and academic credentials are conducted by other agencies.

Many individuals find the PLA process to be a long and challenging journey. It requires a time commitment between 1-3 years before successfully writing the exam with significant expense.

The CSMLS has done extensive research to provide information to those individuals who would consider an alternative to the medical laboratory technology profession.

What is an “Alternate Career”?

An alternate career is a profession that requires many of the same skills and abilities as the intended career, but may involve fewer processes and /or qualifications to begin working. These careers may also be called; related careers, alternate career options or alternative careers.

A large proportion of Canadian educated individuals are currently employed in alternate careers.  Many Canadians work in other fields than they were originally trained for.

Some individuals may choose to pursue an alternate career while they are in the process of becoming a certified MLT.  Others may regard this as a permanent career option.

What are the benefits of an alternate career?

There are a number of potential benefits associated with pursuing one of the alternate careers listed on this site.

  • A professional license is not required in order to practice, so you can start working right away.
  • Very little additional training or upgrading is required for most of the careers listed.
  • The skills, knowledge and abilities you already possess are greatly valued by employers in these fields.

Why should I consider an alternate career?

For some applicants, many exam attempts may be required before a passing mark is achieved.

Recent statistics show that only 37% of international candidates pass the certification exam on their first attempt compared with 86% of those educated in Canada.  As well, the practice of medical laboratory science in Canada may be quite different for some who have practiced in other parts of the world.  As such, the job of a licensed/registered MLT may not be the most practical and fulfilling choice for these individuals.

How did we choose the alternate careers listed?

The alternate careers included on this site were selected based on their use of similar knowledge, skills and qualifications of MLTs.  Significant research was undertaken to compare the MLT core competencies and essential skills with over 40,000 national occupation codes (or NOCs).

A team of experts comprised of members of the medical laboratory science community and related fields reviewed prospective alternate careers to determine their appropriateness for internationally educated applicants.

Abilities and specific aptitudes in: numeracy, data analysis, communication, critical thinking, decision making, problem solving and working with others were also taken into account. Options in both health and non-health fields were considered. Careers were ultimately selected that required little or no additional training and are not regulated.  As a result, it is likely that you may already be qualified to work in one of the 11 alternate careers listed.

What information is provided for the alternate careers?

On the homepage you will find links to information for 11 alternate careers. We have gathered general information related to each career, including:

  • The type of work environment
  • Required qualifications expected from Canadian employers
  • Employers’ expectation of communication skills
  • Average wages
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Resources for more information

How to start the job search

We have put together a list of helpful websites that provide information on job searching, career advice and government information. As well, there are websites at the bottom of each Alternate Career page, specific to information related to that career.

View Resources