Working in a BC Lab

Working in BC as a Lab Professional


Working in BC as a Medical Laboratory Technologist or as a Medical Laboratory Assistant

Health Match BC is a free health professional recruitment service funded by the government of British Columbia, Canada. Their role is to provide preliminary information that will steer you in the right direction; ensuring you have the employment requirements necessary for eligibility to practice in British Columbia. They will also assist you by providing information regarding prospective employers within the Health Authorities.  For more information contact: Tracie Galbraith – Lead Consultant, Allied Health Services at Health Match BC – 604-742-5504

MOSAIC Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants Program Brochure .  MOSAIC Career Paths Program provides free career planning and support for re-credential services to new immigrants

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Medical Laboratory Technologist

*** The BC Ministry of Health and the BCSLS are moving towards a new self-regulating college for the approximately 8,500 diagnostic and therapeutic health professionals in British Columbia, including Medical Laboratory Technologists and will become fully functional by 2019.

The Canadian system is quite different from that of many other countries.  

  • If your goal is to work in a public hospital laboratory as an Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT) you need to be certified as an MLT with the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). www.csmls.org/Certification/Certification-Process.aspx. For more information about CSMLS certification, contact Lorna Zilic: Manager, Certification & Prior Learning Assessment, 905-528-8642 ext. 8681

    • There are two ways to become MLT CSMLS certified.

      • Graduate from an MLT program in a Canadian recognized college.

        • In BC that is BCIT (BC Institute of Technology) or CNC (College of New Caledonia)

      • Write the challenge exam through CSMLS which includes applying for PLA (Prior Learning Assessment).

  • If your goal is to work in a University Research Laboratory then your degree(s) may be enough. But that is a discussion you would need to have with each individual potential employer.

You can become an MLT member of BCSLS, regardless of your MLT Certification process. 

MLT Mentoring Programs

1. JVS  Become an Online Mentor:  How good would it be for you, a person with expertise in the medical laboratory industry, to be the one person who could make a difference in the life of an internationally trained individual?  Imagine what must it be like to be a skilled MLT, new to Canada, looking for work and not be connected?  

2. S.U.C.C.E.S.SMake a difference in your profession for only a few hours a year.  Consider being a Mentor to help foreign-trained professional immigrants in the same field understand the local market of their original profession and develop their local professional local network.  For more information on SUCCESS click here.

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medical laboratory assistant

*** The BC Ministry of Health and the BCSLS are moving towards a new self-regulating college for the approximately 8,500 diagnostic and therapeutic health professionals in British Columbia, Once the new college has been substantially implemented (2019), the ministry will continue its work on regulatory options for a number of other diagnostic and therapeutic health care occupations, including Medical Laboratory Assistants.

BCSLS certification: To work as an MLA in BC right now (things will change as we are moving forward to create a regulatory college), it is not regulated that you have to be certified through us, BCSLS.  This means that you could go out and find a job without BCSLS certification (education is up to the employer)…BUT…in reality many employers do ask that you are provincially certified.  To apply for BCSLS certification click here.

BCSLS membership (different from certification) is easily received by just registering.  You can do so from the membership webpage

Current BCSLS Members who are also BCSLS certified: Current BCSLS members (annual renewal; no exams) who are also BCSLS certified (one-time fee) are entitled to professional liability insurance.   BCSLS and the MLPAO have partnered with LMS PROLINK to deliver an enhanced Professional Liability Insurance program for BCSLS certified members.  Some level of uncertainty is present in all lab work. But your professional status is NOT dependent on random variables.  To apply for BCSLS certification click here.

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY - As a Medical Laboratory Assistant, you’re aware that contamination, experimental errors, random errors or even human errors can happen at any time during sample processing or analysis. And that’s despite taking all of the proper precautions. Unfortunately, in your profession, a mistake can pose a great risk. That’s because a doctor’s treatment plan relies on your findings.  This type of coverage protects you against liability or damages due to allegations of a negligent act, error, omission or malpractice arising from your profession as a Medical Laboratory Assistant and within your scope of practice including delegated acts communicated by a Laboratory or Medical Practitioner. For more information, click here

BCSLS reviews applications from public and private colleges, to determine whether their MLA programs meet BCSLS Competency Guidelines.  Graduates of approved programs can apply for BCSLS certification after graduation.

To obtain certification through us, you have two options.

  1. Attend an MLA program at one of the below recognized colleges


2. Successfully write the MLA certification exam with the Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario – MLPAO.   Once you have this, you can apply for BCSLS certification.  If you are interested in writing the MLPAO Medical laboratory assistant exam you would have to qualify through the ‘Special Consideration’application process. More information about MLPAO can be found here.

  • Please note that the exams are in English so it is your responsibility to ensure that your English Language abilities are good enough to write the exam. There is no English test for you to take to ensure your Language Standards for this exam.

 BCSLS certification:  Once you have a diploma from one of the above colleges or an MLPAO certificate then apply for BCSLS Certification.   

Note:  CSMLS certification for MLA’s does not have an ECG component that BC requires to work - so anyone wanting BC certification should consider getting certified through BCSLS instead of or as well as CSMLS.  

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medical laboratory technician

Medical Laboratory Technicians (not Technologist) - We are aware that in Eastern Canada there are medical lab technicians.  BC does not recognize this designation.  You will need to upgrade to a Medical Lab Technologist or find work as an Medical Lab Assistant.