At Centennial College’s Medical Laboratory Technician program, the focus is on training students, in three semesters, for a career that sees them working in areas such as phlebotomy, ECGs and holter monitoring, specimen processing as well as assisting in clinical or veterinary labs, physicians’ offices, private and public health labs, research labs and diagnostic supply companies.

It also equips students with an Ontario College Certificate and the eligibility for certification as a Medical Laboratory Assistant/ Technician (MLA/ T) with the Ontario Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists and the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.

But how exactly does the Medical Laboratory Technician program successfully do this in such as short amount of time? Each semester of Medical Laboratory Technician courses contains a strict focus on ensuring students become proficient in the collection of blood samples, performing ECGs and the use of laboratory equipment and fluency in medical terminology, while developing the professional attitude and demeanor needed for close patient contact. Let’s take a more detailed look at all three semesters of this Medical Laboratory Technician program.

Semester 1: The first semester of the Medical Laboratory Technician program launches right into courses directly related to the field such as Applied Anatomy & Physiology, Transcultural Health: Sociological Exploration of How Race, Class and Gender Inform Health; Clinical Laboratory Techniques, Applied Chemistry for the Medical Laboratory and Clinical Data Management. Throwing students into such vital courses also introduces them to the facilities at Morningside Campus, which include state-of-the-art laboratories where students apply the theory they learn in the Medical Laboratory Technician courses.

Semester 2: Semester two of the Medical Laboratory Technician focuses on hands-on application, which gives students the advantage of being fully comfortable in a lab setting. This is achieved through Medical Laboratory Technician courses that include: Practical Haematology & Immunohaematology (students learn the underlying principles, use and care of the equipment found in the haematology and blood bank departments as well as how to prepare and stain a peripheral blood film and examine it for proper staining); Specimen Collection and Processing (covers the processing of specimens for the various tests and the importance of storage to ensure valid test results; using standard precautions in handling biological specimens; performing ECGs and setting up Holter monitors); Clinical Chemistry and Urinalysis (laboratory practice is used to setup/load both automated and manual instrumentation including QC samples for initial analysis is provided); and more.

Semester 3: The final semester of the Medical Laboratory Technician program is spent entirely in the field as students partake in a Clinical Internship. This allows students put their knowledge into use in a clinical practice setting under the direction of a medical laboratory assistant. Students are also given a final opportunity to become proficient at specimen collection and handling and be able to function as an effective member of a medical laboratory team.

To apply for Centennial College’s Medical Laboratory Technician program, a minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent being 19 years of age or older; the compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent; math 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent; Biology 11C or U or equivalent are all required.