Phlebotomy is the puncturing of a vein to either extract blood or to introduce an intravenous (IV) fluid. Those who receive phlebotomy training say there is more of an art to puncturing a vein, than it is a science, as phlebotomists find it much easier to do if they can keep patients relaxed while inserting a needle.
Some labs provide phlebotomy training, but most give preference to people who have training as a Medical Laboratory Assistant or Laboratory Technician from a career college or community college. Review the colleges and their Medical Lab Assistant programs below:
Colleges where you can train to become a Medical Laboratory Assistant
- CDI's Medical Laboratory Assistant program consists of both practical and theoretical studies, including a practicum under the supervision of a Medical Laboratory Technologist.
Vancouver Career College
- Vancouver Career College’s Medical Laboratory Assistant diploma program covers hematology, the fundamentals of cytology and histology,cardiovascular systems and ECG, urinalysis and body fluids, and also includes a practicum.
- Medix has been providing industry leading health care career training for those looking to become medical professionals for over 40 years. Currently Medix College has three campuses across Ontario with each of them featuring state-of-the-art facilities.
- Westervelt is a leading Southern Ontario college providing career education in a variety of healthcare areas and offers a Medical Laboratory Assistant Technician program. Westervelt College help their students through every step of their education, beginning with first contact and following through to graduation and employment.
CTS Canadian Career College
- The MLAT program consists of theory, practical skills application, and practicum components. Upon successful completion, you will receive a diploma from the College, which will allow you to write the CSMLS/MLPAO Certification Exams.
- Graduates of Oxford College's Medical Lab Technician program are eligible to write the Ontario Society of Medical Technologists Certification Exam (MLA/T)
- Robertson is committed to their students’ success in their new chosen careers through quality instruction, tailored curriculums, and dedicated Career Counsellors, Student Services, Financial Advisors and Career Services teams that are committed to helping each student achieve their goals. Robertson College offers a broad range of in demand career-focused programs in Business, Health Care and IT and offers the Medical Lab Assist program at its Winnipeg, Manitoba campus.
How long are MLA Programs?
Medical Laboratory Assistant programs can vary in length from 6 months to 11 months.
What National and Provincial Certifications are important for MLAs?
One of the major functions of the national society CSMLS (Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science), is to set qualification standards in medical laboratory science. To achieve this, they conduct exams across Canada and issue certificates to candidates who meet the prescribed standard. Certification is offered for medical laboratory assistants.
When you graduate from one of these college programs in British Columbia shown above, you are automatically certified by the provincial society BCSLS (British Columbia Society for Laboratory Science). Currently, there is no exam; you just have to apply.
In Ontario, upon successful completion of one of the MLAT diploma programs, graduates are qualified to write a third party examination and achieve their “Certified Lab Assistant” designation through CSMLS (Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science) as well as OSMT (Ontario Society of Medical Technologists).
Likewise in Manitoba MLAs are certified by writing a national exam that is provided by CSMLS.
Information About Medical Lab Assistants
What are Medical Laboratory Assistants?
Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs) work under the supervision of Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs) and other health care professionals, and perform the practical components of sample analysis.
MLAs sort, prepare, and sometimes process samples that will be tested and analyzed by a MLT. MLAs collect samples such as blood, and will often be the laboratory professional that interacts directly with patients. The MLA is an integral member of the health care team who shares knowledge, promotes learning, and collaborates with other professionals in providing effective patient care.
What duties do MLAs perform?
A medical laboratory assistant can perform a wide variety of tasks, depending upon the needs of the institute that is doing the testing. Some of the major duties include the following:
- Performing phlebotomy (collect blood)
- Collecting, handling distributing and processing various biological specimens (blood and body fluids) for analysis according to standard operating procedures in the medical laboratory
- Performing electrocardiograms (ECGs) monitoring tests
- Performing basic pre-analytical procedures such as preparing slides of blood samples for microscopic examination
- Interacting directly with patients
- Working with other health care professionals to provide effective patient care
- Using equipment applicable to the medical laboratory
- Performing administrative functions to support the operation of the medical laboratory
- Assisting with quality assurance programs in the medical laboratory
Where do MLAs work?
Medical Lab Assistants find employment in a wide range of clinical or other settings which can include hospital labs, physicians’ offices, community and private diagnostic testing laboratories, public health laboratories, walk-in clinics, pharmaceutical laboratories and private health insurance companies.