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Michener Institute - Med Lab Tech

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Michener Institute - Med Lab Tech

Relevant reading material (external websites):
CSMLS – Becoming a Medical Laboratory Technologist
Human Resources and Social Development Canada – NOC 3211 Medical Laboratory Technologist and Pathologists' Assistants
Simon Fraser University – Career Services Informer
jobboom – MLTs do a body good
YouTube Videos about MLT's (note that in the US, MLT's are often referred to as clinical laboratory technologists) - video 1, video 2 (thanks danny411!)
Career Voyages - Health Care - Medical Laboratory with video
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Aug 31, 2006
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Good luck to you! I'm thinking about Michener when I graduate :) MLT seems really interesting.
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i dunnoooo... doing bloodwork, ecg, urine/blood/cell analysis doesn't seem all that interesting... but thats just me!
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samm wrote: i dunnoooo... doing bloodwork, ecg, urine/blood/cell analysis doesn't seem all that interesting... but thats just me!
Yeah? I think it'll be repetitive work, but there's always new things to learn! I suppose I want it to be my way of helping other people since I don't have what it takes to be a doctor or a nurse. It's more of a behind-the-scene job and I like it like that. :cheesygri
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Definitely an in-demand job right now.

I'd even consider it if it wasn't such a long program (done PT, on nights, in my mid 30s)

I'll stick with Sleep Medicine for now! :)
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ERIKAAMORRIS wrote: Definitely an in-demand job right now.

I'd even consider it if it wasn't such a long program (done PT, on nights, in my mid 30s)

I'll stick with Sleep Medicine for now! :)
*nod* I went to their open-house and I had student tell me that they were offered a job at their clinical. It was definitely one of the aspects that drew me to the program.

Sleep Medicine sounds awesome (2 weeks!) Too bad I don't qualify the requirements. Besides the fact that the application deadline has past.
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Yup, definately in demand. Ultrasound etc are also on that list. A lot of Michener grads land jobs before they're done their clinicals.
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Dec 31, 2005
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While not a MLT, I'll give you a perspective from someone who works routinely with MLT's and Diagnostics Industry.

First, on a day to day basis, the MLT position can be very repetitive. Now, depending on the size of the institution, you could be at one bench for weeks, or months or have to perform duties at all benches...

There is a tremendous shortage of MLT's in Canada and the US. Now, in the city cores, there is more saturation, but if you are willing to relocate, you can make very nice money.

On top of this, hiring away MLTs from laboratories is a key source of our Technical Specialists (this is true many Diagnostic companies). So a MLT can be the end of the line or the start...(I also know MLTs that are running hospital laboratories (completed the MBA etc...).

Good Luck
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nalababe wrote: First, on a day to day basis, the MLT position can be very repetitive. Now, depending on the size of the institution, you could be at one bench for weeks, or months or have to perform duties at all benches...

On top of this, hiring away MLTs from laboratories is a key source of our Technical Specialists (this is true many Diagnostic companies). So a MLT can be the end of the line or the start...(I also know MLTs that are running hospital laboratories (completed the MBA etc...).
I've done a bit of research into MLT as a career so I have a vague idea (perhaps a little idealistic) of what their work is like. Thank you for being able to give me an insight into what their work is really like.

Actually, I believe that being able to handle repetitiveness is one of the major reasons they should accept me into this program. I worked in a research lab for about 2 years and I would look through 100-200 protein sequences every day then organize the results. It was very dry and very repetitive work, but being in a small lab with people I got along was made it fun. So I think the most important thing I'd like to get out of a career as a MLT would be to be able to work in a small group environment and enjoy it.

What is the difference between "Technical Specialists" at a diagnostic company and a MLT at a lab? I always thought that they were the same thing except that a diagnostic company was privately owned while a hospital lab would be publicly owned.

Right now at this point in life, I'm simply seeking a stable career that would let me settle down and get married. There doesn't seem to be much wiggle room in terms of career development except for management positions as you mentioned or perhaps teaching positions. It's something I understand but cannot foresee as a problem. Maybe I'll remember your words when I start having a middle-life crisis. :cheesygri

Only problem that I see is if I don't get accepted into the program since I don't have much of a back up plan other than to find a half-decent administration job. I feel like I should be able to do better than administration work with a B. Sc, but it's just such a useless degree. :|
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kayoko wrote: I've done a bit of research into MLT as a career so I have a vague idea (perhaps a little idealistic) of what their work is like. Thank you for being able to give me an insight into what their work is really like.

Actually, I believe that being able to handle repetitiveness is one of the major reasons they should accept me into this program. I worked in a research lab for about 2 years and I would look through 100-200 protein sequences every day then organize the results. It was very dry and very repetitive work, but being in a small lab with people I got along was made it fun. So I think the most important thing I'd like to get out of a career as a MLT would be to be able to work in a small group environment and enjoy it.

What is the difference between "Technical Specialists" at a diagnostic company and a MLT at a lab? I always thought that they were the same thing except that a diagnostic company was privately owned while a hospital lab would be publicly owned.

Right now at this point in life, I'm simply seeking a stable career that would let me settle down and get married. There doesn't seem to be much wiggle room in terms of career development except for management positions as you mentioned or perhaps teaching positions. It's something I understand but cannot foresee as a problem. Maybe I'll remember your words when I start having a middle-life crisis. :cheesygri

Only problem that I see is if I don't get accepted into the program since I don't have much of a back up plan other than to find a half-decent administration job. I feel like I should be able to do better than administration work with a B. Sc, but it's just such a useless degree. :|
Why don't you try sleep medicine? Nights? The B.Sc. was the important part of the pre-reqs.

Of course, it's pretty repetitive too (and noisy - darned SNORERS ;) )
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as a technician, you have no autonomy. are you always working under someone, and will not have say in what you do. you are basically told what to do and you must do it.
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kayoko wrote: I've done a bit of research into MLT as a career so I have a vague idea (perhaps a little idealistic) of what their work is like. Thank you for being able to give me an insight into what their work is really like.

Actually, I believe that being able to handle repetitiveness is one of the major reasons they should accept me into this program. I worked in a research lab for about 2 years and I would look through 100-200 protein sequences every day then organize the results. It was very dry and very repetitive work, but being in a small lab with people I got along was made it fun. So I think the most important thing I'd like to get out of a career as a MLT would be to be able to work in a small group environment and enjoy it.

What is the difference between "Technical Specialists" at a diagnostic company and a MLT at a lab? I always thought that they were the same thing except that a diagnostic company was privately owned while a hospital lab would be publicly owned.

Right now at this point in life, I'm simply seeking a stable career that would let me settle down and get married. There doesn't seem to be much wiggle room in terms of career development except for management positions as you mentioned or perhaps teaching positions. It's something I understand but cannot foresee as a problem. Maybe I'll remember your words when I start having a middle-life crisis. :cheesygri

Only problem that I see is if I don't get accepted into the program since I don't have much of a back up plan other than to find a half-decent administration job. I feel like I should be able to do better than administration work with a B. Sc, but it's just such a useless degree. :|
A Technical/Application Specialist at a Diagnostic Company (think instrument manufacturers) need not be a MLT, though since it takes a lot of time to train people, it is easier for Siemens, Roche, Abbott etc to hire a MLT who already has the background...you can train the about the specifics of your equipment (a bonus if they are already using your equipment).

I was a Technical Sales Specialist, Applications Specialist, Technical Support Representative...call it what you will. It was a great first step. And no, I did not have a MLT. Now, that was rare, though since I came via the Molecular/Genetics route, it is not as surprising.

As for roles of a Technical/Applications Specialist. This can include installations, training, troubleshooting, selling assay additions, presentations, lunch and learns...it depends on the company. The base pay is normally better than in a lab, though no overtime. A company car is included and typically equal benefits (though stock options are possible depending on the company). Travel can be frequent, but again could include fun places (I personally went to South America, Carribean, Latin America, Japan and throughout the US).
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samm wrote: as a technician, you have no autonomy. are you always working under someone, and will not have say in what you do. you are basically told what to do and you must do it.
But isn't it like that at most jobs? Though, I'm planning to become a technologist rather than a technician.

As long as what they ask of me doesn't betray my personal ethics, it's all good.
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nalababe wrote: A Technical/Application Specialist at a Diagnostic Company (think instrument manufacturers) need not be a MLT, though since it takes a lot of time to train people, it is easier for Siemens, Roche, Abbott etc to hire a MLT who already has the background...you can train the about the specifics of your equipment (a bonus if they are already using your equipment).

I was a Technical Sales Specialist, Applications Specialist, Technical Support Representative...call it what you will. It was a great first step. And no, I did not have a MLT. Now, that was rare, though since I came via the Molecular/Genetics route, it is not as surprising.

As for roles of a Technical/Applications Specialist. This can include installations, training, troubleshooting, selling assay additions, presentations, lunch and learns...it depends on the company. The base pay is normally better than in a lab, though no overtime. A company car is included and typically equal benefits (though stock options are possible depending on the company). Travel can be frequent, but again could include fun places (I personally went to South America, Carribean, Latin America, Japan and throughout the US).
Oh, that is a rather interesting route you took in your career! Traveling around the world does sound rather fun. Though, I'm sure it's a little different to be there for business purposes rather than leisure.

I remember a lady from an instrument company visiting the lab I worked at every so often to check on us and see if we would be interested in any of their new products. Having to sell things like that isn't my thing. I'm not very good at convincing people that they *need* this product so I would not do very well if it was a commission-based salary. But if it were more technical support based, then I would be interested in that especially since I consider myself tech savy so technology makes me curious. Though, I don't think I've been around enough instrumentation to qualify for a job like that.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and showing me that there are different ways to develop a career.
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Jun 25, 2007
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After a quick search on Google, I found three schools offering medical lab tech programs, but all of them are different in lengths:

Mohawk - distance education (aren't there any labs requiring fancy equipment/chemicals that you just can't do from home??!)

Centennial - 2 sem. of courses + 1 sem of internship (done in 12 months)

Michener - 4 sem. of courses + 3 sem. of intership (done in 2.5 years)

And there are probably other schools offering MLT programs that I haven't looked at yet...

So obviously going with Michener you get more training with more time and tuition, but are there heavy consequences of going with a shorter program with the other colleges? For example, will Michener grads typically get positions with higher starting salary? Or will an employer look at a Mohawk MLT diploma and think "garbage"?
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cyrene wrote: After a quick search on Google, I found three schools offering medical lab tech programs, but all of them are different in lengths:

Mohawk - distance education (aren't there any labs requiring fancy equipment/chemicals that you just can't do from home??!)

Centennial - 2 sem. of courses + 1 sem of internship (done in 12 months)

Michener - 4 sem. of courses + 3 sem. of intership (done in 2.5 years)

And there are probably other schools offering MLT programs that I haven't looked at yet...

So obviously going with Michener you get more training with more time and tuition, but are there heavy consequences of going with a shorter program with the other colleges? For example, will Michener grads typically get positions with higher starting salary? Or will an employer look at a Mohawk MLT diploma and think "garbage"?
Well, first and foremost, there is a difference between medical laboratory technologist and medical laboratory technician/assistant. The Centennial and Mohawk fall under the assistant/technician category while Michener's program is the technologist category.

Technologists are a regulated profession requiring registration with a professional program in order to work as MLT. Technicians/assistants are not regulated. As a result, technologists have better starting pay.

As for any consequences of choosing one over the other, I would say career advancement. If you were an employer trying to find a supervisor, would you hire a technologist or a technician/assistant?
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Thanks kayoko...I'm in similar boat as you - have a degree already and thinking of doing more school. But I graduated a few years back, so I've already spent several years drifting and not having a desirable career. I read your other post...wish you the best of luck of getting into Michener.

Anyways I was confused about the term "medical lab tech" - tech being short for technologist or technician...but I see which schools actually offer the "technologist" program now: http://www.csmls.org/english/career/programs.htm
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cyrene wrote: Thanks kayoko...I'm in similar boat as you - have a degree already and thinking of doing more school. But I graduated a few years back, so I've already spent several years drifting and not having a desirable career. I read your other post...wish you the best of luck of getting into Michener.
Ah, I think there are many of us out there in this situation. I think Michener offers some incredible programs that offer you a profession. The only problem is that a lot of their programs take 2-3+ years full time to complete.

Although, if you find your qualifying for their graduate programs, they're great cause they're much shorter, but they still provide you with a good stepping stone into a career. Examples like sleep medicine, diagnostic cytology, genetics technology, etc.

One non-Michener program I applied to was "PHARMACEUTICAL REGULATORY AFFAIRS AND QUALITY OPERATIONS" from Seneca. It's an awesome program since it runs only for 1 year and you get a co-op opportunity. I have a friend from high school who's in the program right now and she's really enjoying it. She told me that the top supervisor in her department only has a B. Sc so there's not that much pressure to go back for a M.Sc or PhD.

I didn't bother writing Seneca's English assessment test for the program cause in the end, I like health care a whole lot more than pharmaceutical industry. Personal choice mostly, cause I'm sure I have a heck of a better chance getting into Seneca than Michener.

It's been a crazy process for me deciding what career to choose and by the first week of May, I'll know my fate (that's when acceptances will be sent out). Wish you good luck in this process and hopefully, you'll be able to find something that you like as I did. :cheesygri
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Jun 25, 2007
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kayoko - from your posts, I'm assuming Michener admission is quite competitive? Since the med lab tech program only needs high school courses requirements, wouldn't you have an advantage since you already have a B.Sc and more mature? Or does it actually hurt to be not coming straight from high school...

Yeah, another 2-3 years...seems like lots of ppl have the bachelor-degree-is-not-enough issue. I have also been looking into the pharmacist option (yes, not your cup of tea) - my GPA has a shot (not too long of a shot, but not a sure thing either), but another 4 years plus ridiculous tuition - I'll be a very broke thirty-something after I graduate.
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cyrene wrote: kayoko - from your posts, I'm assuming Michener admission is quite competitive? Since the med lab tech program only needs high school courses requirements, wouldn't you have an advantage since you already have a B.Sc and more mature? Or does it actually hurt to be not coming straight from high school...

Yeah, another 2-3 years...seems like lots of ppl have the bachelor-degree-is-not-enough issue. I have also been looking into the pharmacist option (yes, not your cup of tea) - my GPA has a shot (not too long of a shot, but not a sure thing either), but another 4 years plus ridiculous tuition - I'll be a very broke thirty-something after I graduate.
Med Lab Tech program is competitive, but not so bad. I'm pretty sure I have a good chance of getting into it. Most of the students in the program that I've talked to through open house and what not actually have B.Sc. The number of students straight from high school is usually in the single digits. I was comforted by a student who told me not to worry about being old in the program! *laughs*

Diagnostic Cytology is another story since they only take in 12 people out of the 250 that apply. Genetics Technology is even tougher to get into (there are lots of genetics students out there).

Pharmacy would be awesome! Starting salary is good enough that loans shouldn't be a problem. As long as they lend you enough for you to make it through school, I think it'd be worth it if that's what you want to do. Though, I do admit that $12,000/year of tuition is ridiculous.

Personally, I wouldn't let age be an issue unless you've got a family to feed/raise. Career changes are normal. I think the most important part is being proud of what you're doing. Of course, this is my young idealistic self talking. Wishful, but nice.

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