Medical Lab Technician/Assistant to Technologist in Canada

Jan 16, 2019
1 posts

Medical Lab Technician/Assistant to Technologist in Canada

Hi there,

I was wondering if there is anyone out there who started out as a medical lab technician after going to school for the certificate program and later decided to become a medical lab technologist? I'm interested in going to Centennial College Morningside campus for the Medical Laboratory Technician program but I also understand that technicians can make as little as half of the technologists even with experience. Did any of the courses transfer? Do you regret not starting with MLT, or did the MLA help you in the long run? Would starting as an MLA be a good idea to test the waters?

Knowing myself, I can become a pretty lazy student (I dropped out of my bachelors a few years ago), which is why I want to start as a technician first and if I find that I really enjoy it, I can later upgrade. The certification program and the diploma program are one and three years respectively so for me that's quite significant (and tuition is almost 3x as much total).

Also I live in Toronto so I don't really want to go to schools as far away as Kingston and Windsor, and I don't think I'll be able to get into Michener which is another factor to consider for me.

Has anyone gone to Centennial for this program? I haven't really found many reviews or testimonies of students' experiences. How was your experience?

Thanks :)
4 replies
Feb 7, 2018
43 posts
Hey OP, I never took any MLA program because I got into the MLT program at Michener. However, I just wanted to share my opinions with you. If you are unsure about this profession or if money is an issue then taking the MLA program will definitely help you “test the waters”. However, in the long run, if you do end up liking this profession then you’ll most likely have to take a MLT program if you want to advance on in this career. Staying in Toronto was my main concern too, which is why Michener was my top choice but their tuition is 3x more than St.Lawrence or St. Clair. Right now in my program there are a couple of MLAs and the only transfer course that I know they got is “Speciem Procurement” which is a hands on course on how to draw blood from patients.

I know a bachelor it’s probably the last thing on your mind but have you considered UOIT? It’s the closest one to Toronto aside from Michener and even though you dropped out, maybe some of your credits can transfer over.
Jan 15, 2015
20 posts
North York, ON
Hey! Your question seems perfectly suited for me.
I've attended centennial for the technician program couple years back and I can say I've enjoyed it. Can't say for others. Profs were mostly experienced MLTs, coordinator was a lab manager so they are equipped with knowledge to teach. The program can get intensive as you have to keep up with exams, practicals along with other required courses. Second semester you will get more hands on with lab work.
I would definitely reach out to the coordinator to get more up to date info of the program and also check out OSMT pass rates which is the provincial exam needed for a license.
Most jobs as an MLA only utilizes ~10% of what you learned at school which was a disappointment for me. Usually they do specimen collection (phlebotomy), receiving (accessioning) and specimen prep (centrifuging, aliquoting). Rarely do they get to do any sort of analytical testing. Pay rate has increased over the years to roughly 25/hr which is certainly not half of what a MLT makes.
As for me, I'm currently in my last year of the MLT program at St. Clair and did not regret taking the MLA program at all. In fact, I'm glad I did. Not only did it help me decide to take this road, it built fundamental knowledge of the clinical lab useful throughout all 3 years. Think of it as the Pre health Science program but better and more specialized.
So to directly answer your questions: Yes 3 of my courses did transfer but more general ones. english, communication, ethics
Yes it would be a good idea to test the waters first, especially in your situation where starting with MLT first would be more detrimental if you were to drop out (rent lease etc.)
May 8, 2018
16 posts
Same for me. Graduated from Centennial's MLA program a few years ago. Currently at Michener's MLT program.
Pretty much the same sentiments - MLA program helped segue and cement my interest/expectations in the field.
Nov 8, 2019
1 posts
Is it possible to get admission in Michener or any other govt college for medical technologist program if I did medical technicians course from some private college.
Will it be same if I registered with the regulatory body