Medical Laboratory Technology

Fall 2017 start: applications open on Oct. 19, 2016.

  • Two-year diploma
  • Fall start
  • Includes clinical practice
  • Graduates in high demand

Program Description

Watch a video about Medical Laboratory Technology studies at SAIT Polytechnic As integral members of the health care team, medical laboratory technologists are trained to perform a broad spectrum of laboratory testing and procedures, playing a vital role in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Based in large part on the national competency profile issued by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS), this program trains students to become skilled in applying the scientific, technical, and medical principles needed to perform and evaluate laboratory testing in a health care setting. As part of Canada's fourth largest group of health care professionals, medical laboratory technologists play an integral role in our health care system.

The first year of the Medical Laboratory Technology program consists of classroom instruction, laboratory training, and clinical site tours. The second year consists of theory instruction and an extensive clinical practicum at affiliated sites in Calgary, other cities in Alberta or potentially sites outside of Alberta. The practicum provides a range of clinical experiences where students are given opportunities to develop and integrate the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes in a practical setting. During the last month of the term, students will write practice competency-based exams in preparation for challenging the national CSMLS certification exam.

Certain courses are available by distance education or continuing education - ANPH 209, COMP 264, INFC 215, MEDT 211, PROF 240. The courses must be completed within the time frame shown in the Program Outline. Please be advised that full-time student status requires the student to take 60 percent of a full course load per semester. Depending on the number of courses completed by distance education or continuing education, students may be considered part-time, which may impact their financial loan status.

Students in this program require access to a personal computer and the Internet to facilitate completion of online courses.

Your Career

Graduates find work as medical laboratory technologists in hospital or high-volume laboratories, as well as in research labs and scientific supply companies. Employment in medical labs often requires shiftwork. Medical laboratory technologists work in laboratory environments where they may spend a considerable amount of time standing or sitting and performing tasks that may be repetitive. They must observe safety precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to infectious body fluids and dangerous chemicals.

Student Success

  • Students with higher secondary or post-secondary marks usually experience greater success in SAIT programs.
  • The program delivery is very intensive. To be successful students must be prepared to attend 30 hours per week of classroom activities and spend approximately 30 hours per week outside of class studying.
  • Students who experience success in this program have the following characteristics:
    • Integrity and a professional attitude,
    • An aptitude for mathematics and science and a keen interest in scientific work,
    • The ability to follow verbal and written instructions, pay close attention to detail and take precise readings,
    • The ability to work quickly and accurately,
    • Good finger and manual dexterity to handle specimens and small laboratory equipment,
    • The ability to do detailed work and maintain a high level of accuracy,
    • Good visual colour and form perception (to study blood cells, etc.),
    • Good interpersonal skills and effective communication skills in English, and
    • The ability to adapt easily and quickly to change.
  • Health care practitioners are detail oriented in the care they provide and enjoy working in a team environment.