|Also Known As|
|Medical Laboratory (lab) Assistants||Medical Lab Technical (tech) Assistants|
|Lab Workers||Lab Assistants|
Medical lab assistants receive and collect samples and work directly with patients. They sort, prepare, and process samples that will be tested and analyzed by a medical laboratory technologist or other health professional.
For a complete listing of skills and duties of a medical lab assistant and to identify transferable skills from the lab assistant’s education or work experience, refer to the CSMLS Personal Competency Rating Booklet to complete a self-assessment.
Medical lab assistants should be able to:
Medical lab assistants should possess:
They work in the following types of organizations:
Their responsibilities vary depending on the type and size of organization they work for and where it is located, for example, large city or small town.
Medical lab assistants generally work in clean, bright, well-ventilated medical laboratories and facilities. During a shift, they may perform a variety of tasks, or they may repeat the same tasks throughout the day. Medical lab assistants use solutions and reagents that may cause unpleasant odours. They might have to work with infectious patients or samples or hazardous chemicals, so they must take safety precautions to reduce risks. The work requires spending a lot of time standing or sitting.
The work schedule for a medical lab assistant may be full or part time, and seasonal or year-round work. They might work regular hours, for example 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday, shift work, or on-call hours.
Canadian employers want to hire someone with a diploma from a CMA-accredited medical laboratory assistant program (or equivalent as determined by employer). The CMA or Canadian Medical Association has a list of professional bodies and accredited, registered educational programs for medical lab assistants.
Although certification is not required for medical laboratory assistants, some employers give preference to job candidates who have been certified by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). See www.csmls.org for more information about how to become certified.
Employers may test for language ability because it is important for workers to understand instructions and share information to complete tasks properly and work safely.
Medical lab assistants use communication skills on the job in many ways:
To review examples of how other Essential Skills are used by medical lab assistants in the workplace go to Explore Careers by Essential Skills on the Working in Canada website.
The ability to speak and write in multiple languages can be an advantage in Canada’s multicultural environment.
Wages are affected by the workers’ level of education, work experience, and job responsibilities, plus the job location and conditions, and whether the employees are unionized. The numbers provided below represent a national average for low, median (mid-point), and high wages (before taxes).
|$15 per hour||$24 per hour||$37.50 per hour|
|$31,200 per year||$49,920 per year||$78,000 per year|
For wage information in specific parts of Canada, go to Explore Careers by Wages on the Working in Canada website.
Medical lab assistants may seek work in these areas of specialization:
Experienced medical lab assistants may move into related jobs in laboratories run by industrial or manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical companies, veterinary companies, or government.
Chances for advancement depend on a medical lab assistant’s abilities, experience, and education. For example, with additional education and experience, individuals may progress to work as a supervisor or instructor of medical lab assistants.
Refer to the Introductory Page for general career information and job search ideas.
More details about medical lab assistants are available at the web sites described below:
The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is the national certifying body for medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants. It is the national society for Canada’s medical laboratory professionals.
The Canadian Medical Association provides a list of professional bodies and accredited, registered educational programs for medical lab assistants.
Health Canada is the Canadian federal department that helps Canadians maintain and improve their health. For a description of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments’ roles, see the Health Care System Delivery.
Many health jobs in Canada are with provincial and territorial government health services. Some of the provincial organizations that post job openings or career opportunities are listed below:
Note: These websites tend to change frequently.