Home Programs & Courses Medical Laboratory Assistant

Medical Laboratory Assistant

Open for Fall 2022

Closed for Winter 2022

Length: 21 Weeks Credential: Certificate Delivery: Full Time

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Next information session

There are no events scheduled for this program. Please visit the link below to see all upcoming and on-demand information sessions.

Upcoming Information Sessions

This program will be delivered in a blended format (OA, OS, OR and OF/CLAS) for the Winter 2022 semester.
Some courses will be delivered online while others occur on-campus.
Learn more about our course delivery options


Learn how to safely collect, process and prepare patient specimens and perform electrocardiograms and urinalysis to be ready for a career as a medical laboratory assistant in hospitals, high-volume laboratories, research labs, community collection sites, private insurance and home care companies.

The Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) fast-paced program trains students to collect, process, and prepare patient specimens, enter data, perform clerical and reception services, perform electrocardiograms and urinalyses and carry out basic laboratory procedures.

The first semester of the MLA program consists of classroom instruction and clinical integration which prepares students for the clinical practicum and professional job duties. The second semester involves theory on professional practice and a six-week clinical practicum arranged by SAIT which is spent in a laboratory and patient service center. The practicum provides students with opportunities to refine and apply competencies acquired at SAIT.

The program has many clinical partners located within Alberta and across Canada. Clinical placements in Calgary are limited and students must be prepared to relocate outside of Calgary for the six-week practicum. Successful candidates will be informed of the allocation of their placement by the program. There is no guarantee that students will be placed at their desired practicum location. Special considerations of personal circumstances will not be given in regard to assigning practicum placements. Students will be responsible for fees associated with their practicum such as relocation and travel costs.

Is this the right fit for me?

In order to be successful in this program, applicants must have basic computer literacy. An acceptable computer skill level would include the ability to use word processing and communication software. Educational interaction in this program depends on these basic computer skills and medical laboratory assistants work with laboratory and hospital information systems. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure adequacy of these skills prior to program admission.

Students who experience success in this program have the following characteristics:

  • the ability to follow 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
  • normal colour vision
  • good communication and problem-solving skills
  • good organizational skills
  • the interpersonal skills and effective communication skills in English required to work well with co-workers and the public.
  • in order to secure employment, graduates must be able to type at a minimum speed of 30 words per minute (WPM)

Medical laboratory assistants enjoy working with people, like direct contact with patients and do not mind shift work.


The Medical Laboratory Assistant program delivered by SAIT is accredited by Accreditation Canada and is designed so that graduates achieve clinical competence as defined by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). As an accredited institute, graduates of the Medical Laboratory Assistant program at SAIT are eligible to challenge the CSMLS certification exam.


After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT Medical Laboratory Assistant certificate.

All graduates are eligible for registration and membership with the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). Obtaining national certification as a medical laboratory assistant will allow for opportunities to work across Canada.

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Career opportunities

Graduates can pursue job opportunities in:

  • community collection sites
  • hospital rapid-response laboratories
  • high-volume medical laboratories
  • private insurance companies
  • home care companies

Related careers include:

  • pathologist assistant

Tuition and fees per year*

Year 1: $5,164

*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change

Full costs
Tuition and financial aid


You will be offered admission to this program through direct entry if you meet the admission requirements and achieve at least 50% on the scoring rubric for the School of Health and Public Safety’s Entrance Testing Process. Admission is offered on a first-qualified, first offered basis, until the program is full.

Admission requirements

When can you apply?

  • Applications for winter 2022 open March 31, to Sept. 1, 2021.
  • Applications for fall 2022 open Oct. 6, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022.
Term Year start date Year end date
Winter 2022 Jan. 10, 2022 June 30, 2022
Fall 2022 Sept. 6, 2022 Feb. 10, 2023

How to apply

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A medical laboratory assistant is an integral member of the laboratory workforce, a field that is not only growing to meet the needs of an increasing and ageing population but also changing to support medical advances.

Admission requirements

Admission selection

  • Winter 2022  start: applications for winter 2022 open March 31, 2021.
  • Fall 2022 start: application are accepted Oct 6, 2021 to Jan. 31, 2022

*This program does not accept international students

Admission requirements

Completion of the following courses or equivalents: 

        Entrance testing process

Admission is offered on a first-qualified, first-offered basis until the program is full.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission. If you don't meet the requirements, consider  Academic Upgrading.

SAIT evaluates international documents for admissions. After you've applied, consider our international document assessment service if your education is from outside of Canada. 

Direct entry: five-step process

Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.

Step 2: Review the information related to the necessary components of the School of Health and Public Safety Entrance Testing Process

Step 3:  Complete the School of Health and Public Safety Entrance Testing Process non-academic admission requirement. Ensure that you meet all of the academic admission requirements listed above.

Step 4: Apply to the Medical Laboratory Assistant program and submit your transcripts and/or anticipated final grades.

Step 5: Log in to mySAIT.ca to check your admission status. Find out how to monitor your application status.

Failure to meet anticipated final grades will result in offers being rescinded.

Communication during admission

Email is the primary source of communication during the admission process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add  clinical.supportservices@sait.ca and the sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.

Practicum requirements

The School of Health and Public Safety has many practica partners located in Alberta and across Canada. Practicum placements in Calgary are limited and students may be required to relocate outside of Calgary for practicum.

Successful candidates will be informed of the allocation of their practicum placement by the program. There is no guarantee that students will be placed at their desired practicum location. Special considerations of personal circumstances will not be given in regards to assigning practicum placements. Students will be responsible for fees associated with practica such as entrance requirements, relocation and travel costs. 

In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, successful candidates will be requested to provide proof of the following requirements:

  • Updated immunization records
  • Security clearance - Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check
  • N95 respiratory mask fitting
  • Health and wellness status

Learn more


Program outline

This program is a 21-week certificate offered over the fall/winter semesters or the winter/spring semesters

Looking for course descriptions and requisites? Visit the course catalogue

Semester 1

Course code Course name Credit
INFC-215* Infection Prevention and Control 1.5
MEDL-200 Clinical Laboratory Foundations 3.0
MEDL-201 Patient Services 3.0
MEDL-202 Clinical Integration 1.5
MEDL-203 Clinical Laboratory Testing 3.0
PROF-201* Professional Practice I 3.0
Semester 1 total 15.0

Semester 2

Course code Course name Credit
PROF-202 Professional Practice 1.5
PRAC-271 Clinical Placement 3.0
Semester 2 total 4.5
Program total 19.5

*Available by correspondence and/or online learning. The courses must be completed within the time frame shown in the program outline. Please contact the Academic Chair prior to enrolling in any online or correspondence courses.


Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Transfer Options

The opportunity to advance your education through transfer in, within or on from SAIT is available. Visit transfer options to learn more.


2021/22 Domestic Tuition and Fees*

Year Tuition fees SAIT fees Saitsa fees Health & Dental Plan 2021/22 total
1 $3,831 $793.20 $288.77 $252 $5,164

*Fees and tuition are based on a two-semester full course load structure. There may be additional fees for practicums and terms held outside this time frame. 


Campus athletic and recreation Fee: $183.20
Universal transit pass (UPass): $310 - Check eligibility here.
Student support fee: $150
Student technology fee: $150

Health and Dental Fees

Domestic Students 

  • Health Plan: $122
  • Dental Plan: $130
  • For students with existing health and/or dental plans, please refer to the Saitsa website for information on opting out.

Books and supplies*

  • Books and supplies are approximately $700.
  • Students are responsible for any additional expenses related to their practica (i.e. relocation costs if placed outside of Calgary, food, housing, transportation, etc.)
  • Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) national exam fee is approximately $250
  • CSMLS national association dues for students are approximately $85.
  • There is a fee associated with obtaining a Police Information Check including Vulnerable Sector Check, payable to the Police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  • Students must have their immunizations reviewed by the SAIT Health Clinic. There is a $75 charge to review vaccine and medical history. Any vaccines to be administered will result in additional charges.
  • For an estimate of the costs associated with purchasing a device that meets the standard hardware and software requirements, see our computers and laptops page.
  • There is a fee, approximately $50-$100, associated with an Electronic Student Permit Checking submission which is required for clinical practicum placements, payable to Synergy Gateway through the Verified software platform.

Find out about tuition and financial aid.

* Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.

Next steps for incoming students

Have you been accepted to this program? Here's what you'll need for your first day of classes.

✅ Plan ahead ❗️

You are required to complete several health, confidentiality and consent forms before starting your program. All completed and signed paperwork is needed on orientation day. 

Ensure you complete all three steps below ahead of orientation.

Get started on pre-orientation requirements

Winter 2022


Your program orientation will take place online. You will receive further details shortly from your academic chair or program coordinator.

Learn more about your orientation.

How to register for classes

You'll follow a fixed block registration process to enrol in your classes. Learn how to register on our registration and schedules page.

Computers and laptops

This is a bring your own device program with a standard hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page

Required personal protective equipment (PPE)

The industry-approved PPE you'll need will be discussed during your first few days of classes. 

Your required uniform can be purchased prior to orientation from any place that sells medical uniforms. Your uniform should consist of,

  • a scrub top and bottom
  • safety glasses 
  • comfortable closed-toe and heel shoes. They should also be water impervious and slip resistant. 

Other requirements

  • N95 respiratory mask fit-testing
  • Police Information Clearance with Vulnerable Sector Check
  • Immunization record 
  • Health and Wellness Status

Preparation courses

To support your success, you’ll be automatically registered in two short courses to prepare you for the academic year: 

PERS 050: Student Rights and Responsibilities

This course is designed to introduce you to student rights and responsibilities at SAIT. You will learn about SAIT's rich and diverse community, become familiar with guidelines and procedures that create a safe, respectful learning experience for you, and gain practical tips for how you can engage in the SAIT community in a positive and responsible way. PRES-050 must be completed within 30 days from the start of the semester.

PREP 100: The SAIT Experience

Get tips and insider information on time management, exam preparation, effective notetaking and more through this free, online short course for new students. Plus, learn about discussion boards, online communication and submitting assignments online. Course completion is recommended by the end of your first semester.

Both courses can be accessed through Brightspace (D2L) before the first day of classes.

Required textbooks

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore's website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date.

Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck, no textbook purchase required this term.


Phone: 403.284.8481
Email: hps.info@sait.ca

Next steps for all students

Here's what else you'll need to do to get ready!

Next steps for accepted students

Important dates and deadlines

Find important dates applicable to all students, including your transcript and tuition payment deadlines on our Important Dates page.

Important Dates

Have questions about this program?

Contact us at

School of Health and Public Safety

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