Academic Calendar 2024-25 
    Jul 13, 2024  
Academic Calendar 2024-25

Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant (Certificate)

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Total Credits: 39
Credential: Certificate in Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant
Program Code: CMLA.CERT
CIP: 51.0802


The full-time Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant (CMLA) Program is a comprehensive one-year, entry-level certificate in pre-analytic laboratory sciences. This program prepares graduates for their role as integral members of the healthcare team by providing a broad foundation in laboratory science theory integrated with authentic simulation environments and workplace clinical practicums. Students learn to incorporate exemplary patient and client-centric behaviours while mastering the techniques of blood collection (phlebotomy), analytical sample collection, and sample preparation. Students learn to collect and process data required for diagnostic investigations.

Flexible pathways for progression and a variety of approaches to educational delivery prepare students for clinical practicum opportunities in both hospital and community-based laboratories throughout Vancouver Island. Course delivery includes traditional face-to-face and blended classroom instruction, practical simulation labs, teaching clinic integrations, technology-enhanced applied learning, and on-line courses.

Students in this program need a basic understanding of human anatomy, medical terminology, and the underlying scientific principles that form the foundations of laboratory analytics. Students will build on this knowledge as they progress through the required program courses designed to develop and enhance their practical clinical skills and professional judgement.

Students who can effectively demonstrate the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Sciences (BCSLS) Practicum Guidelines will progress to clinical placements in actual workplace laboratories where they will apply their growing knowledge and skills to diverse practice situations in a collaboratively supervised clinical environment. Upon successfully completing the practicum course and competently demonstrating entry-to-practice skills and knowledge requirements for both the BCSLS and Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) graduates will be eligible for certification and employment in BC. Graduates who pass the CSMLS National Certification Exam will be eligible for employment across Canada.

Career Opportunities

Certified Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs) can first expect to find employment as phlebotomists, diagnostic assistants, technical assistants, pathology assistants, and in pre-analytical specimen preparation and management. Further professional opportunities for the certified MLA exist in management, quality control and assurance, education, informatics, and research.


One of:

One of:

One of:

  • C+ in MOA 155  
  • Completion of a Medical Terminology course consisting of a minimum of 60 hours with a letter grade of C+ or higher

And all of:

 *Grade 12 (High School) graduation is a condition of employment for the Hospital Employees Union (HEU) and the British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU) approved Medical Laboratory Assistant, Technical Assistant, and Laboratory Assistant job descriptions common to both health authority and private employers in BC.


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, the learner will be able to 

  1. Demonstrate the core attributes of a Medical Laboratory Assistant as reflected in professional, provincial, and federal policy, legislation, and regulations
  2. Collect safely and prepare optimal quality diagnostic specimens by applying their knowledge of laboratory procedures, human anatomy and physiology, pathology, professionalism, communication, and scientific principles
  3. Manage patient and client interactions proficiently with cultural humility, utilizing best practices in a competent, safe, and responsible manner observing legal and ethical workplace standard
  4. Practice appropriate, accurate, effective communication with members of the public and all members of the health care team within their role and scope as a Medical Laboratory Assistant
  5. Support and promote a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to providing high quality, patient and client-centered care and customer service while ensuring the effective functioning of self
  6. Respond independently to challenging and complex practice situations by evaluating relevant variables to make appropriate decisions or solve problems
  7. Meet the entry-to-practice capabilities of the British Columbia Society for Laboratory Science and Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science for Medical Laboratory Assistants


Year One

Academic Term One

Academic Term Two

Academic Term Three


* Students who can demonstrate that they already meet the intended outcomes of IST 120  may substitute other courses relating to Indigenous histories, health, or education and should meet with an Academic Advisor.

Program Participation Requirements

  • Students must accept assigned clinical site placements, subject to availability and capacity.
  • Students must have yearly respirator mask ‘fit-testing’ done. Students will be responsible for completing this process prior to the first clinical experience and for any associated costs.
  • Students must have completed and be current in Standard First Aid and BLS (Basic Life Support) prior to practicum. Annual recertification of BLS must be maintained throughout the program. Students will be responsible for the cost of this certification.
  • Students must provide evidence that they do not have active TB. Acceptable evidence is a negative TB skin test or a negative chest x-ray. Evidence must be dated no more than six months before practicum start. Students are responsible for the cost of testing. An additional TB test is required after each possible exposure to TB and/or travel within an area that there is a known prevalence of TB.
  • Students must provide evidence of their immunizations or immunity to preventable, communicable diseases. Students are highly recommended to maintain current immunizations as per the Practice Education Guidelines of B.C. Recommended immunizations are found on the Health Sciences Placement Network of Canada website by searching for immunization guidelines.
    • Failure to comply with immunization guidelines could result in the health care organization or the College barring the individual from the clinical/practicum setting until proof of immunity is provided and/or until a communicable disease outbreak is declared over. This could impact a student’s ability to successfully complete the clinical/practicum placement and/or a clinical/community rotation.
  • Criminal Record Check is required.
  • The Provincial Practice Education Guidelines require students to complete the BC Provincial Violence Prevention Training prior to clinical/practicum placements. This training will occur during the program. Students will be notified in sufficient time for the training to occur and this training will be provided by a third party. Students will be responsible for any associated costs. Failure to comply with this training could result in the health care organization, community partner or the college barring the individual from the clinical/practicum setting until required training is completed. This could impact a student’s ability to successfully complete the clinical/practicum placement. Violence Prevention Training from other provinces does not transfer in and meet the requirements.

Program Completion Requirements

  • Students must achieve at least a C+ or COM in all program courses.​