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Medical Laboratory Technology

Perform lab testing and investigations related to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

Two men and a woman work at a lab bench; they're all looking through microscopes.
Start Date:
September
Typical Length:
3 Years
Credential:
Diploma

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Overview

As part of the healthcare team, Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLT) perform laboratory testing and investigations related to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in a wide variety of specimens, including blood, body fluids and tissues.

Medical Laboratory Technologists are scientific fact finders who:

  • Operate a variety of complicated instrumentation
  • Prepare tissues
  • Study cells and micro-organisms under the microscope
  • Analyze the composition of body fluids and secretions

In addition to their technical skills, Medical Laboratory Technologists require the ability to:

  • Work both alone and as part of a team
  • Manage time wisely and communicate clearly
  • Exercise close attention to detail

Clinical placement

  • Clinical placements are mandatory credit courses. They provide you with the opportunity to integrate theory with practice and understand the everyday challenges of a work environment.
    • You participate in work placements within the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre.
    • Placement opportunities are typically unpaid.
    • Students may have to relocate to other areas within the province to complete clinical placements.
    • Some evening, weekend and/or holiday shifts may be required.
    • Transportation, living accommodations and other costs related to clinical placements are the responsibility of the student.
  • For more information visit Work Experience Opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • The MLT program has been accredited by Accreditation Canada (EQual).
  • The MLT program meets the national competencies as defined by Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.
  • The MLT program has been recognized by the Canadian Armed Forces and now qualifies for a Canadian Armed Forces Paid Education program. Students who graduate from the program may receive advanced standing as a Medical Laboratory Technologist in the Canadian Armed Forces (subject to successful enrolment in the Canadian Armed Forces).
  • Develop skills to meet a growing need in the medical industry.
  • Small class sizes provide the support and attention you need to succeed.
  • Hands-on learning and work terms in real medical environments provide the experience employers look for on a résumé.

Other info

  • Before applying for this program, it’s important you review the self-assessment statements below and can answer yes to the following: 
    • I understand that this is an intensive 3-year program that requires significant commitment of time each week, often outside of the regularly scheduled classes.
    • I understand the MLT profession involves performing laboratory testing and investigations related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease in a wide variety of specimens, including blood, body fluids and tissues.
    • I understand this program requires fine motor control, good manual dexterity, and visual colour discrimination to maintain safety standards.
    • I understand excellent communication skills within the English language are required (oral, written, comprehension and direction).
    • I understand the demands of the MLT field require you to spend long periods of time in stationary positions.
    • I understand medical laboratory services are generally required on a 24-hour basis. As a result, most positions in medical labs require shift work (evenings, nights, weekends and holidays).
    • I understand I will be required to perform blood collection (venipuncture) during my program.
    • I understand that a component of my program includes patient interactions.
  • Graduates who have successfully completed the MLT program are eligible to challenge the national certification exam for Medical Laboratory Technologist (MLT).

2023-24 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

Availability

Waitlist

  • This is a high-demand program, resulting in an annual waitlist. The waitlist for this program will expire at the end of the intake. If you are not offered a seat, you are required to apply again. 

September 2023

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Ivany Campus Dartmouth Full time In person Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements. Seats available

Admission requirements

Application process

  • This program has a competitive entry process. View details on the competitive entry process
  • To be considered for Fall 2023, your application must be complete (with all required documentation) and received by May 1, 2023.
  • This program is not open to international applicants. 

Program requirements

  • A current, official criminal record check and vulnerable sector check are required to complete work placements in many programs. A conviction may impact your ability to complete program requirements.
  • All programs in Health and Human Services require First Aid/CPR as a graduation requirement. For specific program requirements, view additional Health and Human Services program requirements
  • Many Health and Human Services programs have additional requirements, including immunizations. You must submit proof that you've completed these requirements by the date provided to you at the beginning of your program. View additional Health and Human Services program requirements
    • Receiving immunizations may take up to 10 months to complete.
    • Failure to complete immunizations can result in a delayed work placement, which will impact your ability to complete program and graduation requirements.
  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.
  • Pass mark for this program is 70%.

Tuition

Tuition amounts are for the 2022-23 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional. 2023-24 tuition will be announced in the late Spring.

Tuition (Domestic):
$3,620
Tuition (International):
$11,690

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing. 

 

Career options

  • Graduates are eligible to work in any medical laboratory in the province once they become licensed.
  • Graduates also have several other employment options, such as research and pharmaceutical labs, sales, technical support and education.
  • Medical Laboratory Technologists are one of the largest groups of healthcare professionals in Canada. Due to a national shortage of qualified technologists, the outlook for employment opportunities is positive.

Future study options

  • Graduates who have successfully completed the national certification exam for MLT are qualified to apply for licensing with the Nova Scotia College of Medical Laboratory Technologists. A license to practice will be granted if the applicant meets the requirements of NSCMLT Regulations section 9 and applicable policies. https://members.nscmlt.org/apply/initial
  • Continue your studies at university – This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

ANAP 1004 - Anatomy and Physiology for Med Lab Tech
This course provides an overview of the sciences of anatomy and physiology. Knowledge of the basic structure and functions of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems is essential for a variety of Health and Human Service programs. The integration of these systems will be discussed.

MLTD 1003 - Medical Terminology for Medical Laboratory Technology
This course introduces the student to the fundamentals of medical terminology including the spelling, pronunciation and meaning of medical terms and abbreviations. Greek and Latin derivatives (prefixes, suffixes and combining forms) will be introduced and analyzed.

MLTD 1006 - Human Relations for Medical Laboratory Technology
This course uses an experiential and self-reflective approach to help students develop self-awareness and understanding of how one’s own interpersonal style affects others. The student will have the opportunity to develop the skills required to communicate clearly and professionally using a variety of communication mediums to patients, clients, colleagues, students and other health care professionals. Emphasis will be placed on cultural uniqueness and diversity, empathy, courtesy while maintaining good relationships with others in a work environment and when working as part of a team. Students will prepare and deliver oral presentations and will have an introduction to Portfolio Learning.

MLTD 1103 - Clinical Microbiology I
Students will be introduced to clinical microbiology and media preparation concepts, techniques and theory including bacterial cell structure, physiology, metabolism, and genetics. Through laboratory sessions students will learn principles of sterilization, sterile technique, and quality control of media. Laboratory sessions will include the basic skills to culture selected clinical specimens, isolate bacteria, stained smears, record colonial morphology, and perform preliminary identification techniques. Students will apply the principles of safe practice. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 1105 - Medical Laboratory Practices
Students will learn the theory and skill required to perform basic procedures in a laboratory. The course includes laboratory safety, infection control practices, glassware, balances, pipettes, centrifuges, microscopes, reagent preparation with related calculations, and an introduction into clinical specimen processing. The students will learn safety including the different types of potential hazards associated with working in a clinical laboratory environment and how to protect themselves and others. As well, students will learn the Professional Conduct expectations for students health professions. NSCC Portfolio Learning is included in the course. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 1106 - Transfusion Medicine I
Students will be introduced to basic transfusion medicine practice and related immunology concepts. A comparison of the natural and adaptive immune systems and their respective cellular and humoral components including the complement system will be discussed. Patterns of inheritance (genetics) of ABO and Rh blood group systems is described, and related serological testing will be performed in the laboratory component of the course. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 1109 - Histology I
This course consists of the introduction to the human micro-anatomical structure and function of the basic tissue types and organ systems. Students will be preparing specimens for Histology procedures including processing surgical and autopsy tissue specimens through fixation, paraffin processing and routine staining. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 1110 - Introduction to Laboratory Quality
In this seminar-based course, students are introduced to common quality concepts including quality assurance, quality control assessment and Westgard rules. Basic statistical concepts are defined and applied to ensure students understand the foundational role of quality in ensuring accurate laboratory results. Concepts of the Quality System Essentials (QSEs) are introduced.

MLTD 1202 - Interprofessional Practice
This course introduces students to the history, principles, and factors affecting the Canadian health care system. It applies an experiential and self-reflective approach to help students develop self-awareness and understanding of how one’s own interpersonal style affects others. Students will have the opportunity to develop the skills required to communicate clearly and professionally using a variety of communication mediums with an emphasis placed on cultural uniqueness and diversity, empathy, courtesy. Working as part of a team, students will prepare and deliver oral presentations.

MLTD 1203 - Clinical Microbiology II
The course continues to build on the knowledge and competency in the discipline of clinical microbiology. Clinically relevant bacteria are studied, with an emphasis on the ability to isolate, identify and perform susceptibility testing on common pathogens isolated from simulated clinical specimens, using appropriate media. Performance and assessment of quality control procedures will be performed. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 1204 - Molecular Diagnostics
This course will provide students with a basic introduction to molecular diagnostics. Students will study DNA/RNA/Protein structures and chemistry as well as develop skills in molecular testing techniques. Principles and interpretation of molecular diagnostic test methods will be covered. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 1207 - Clinical Chemistry I
Students will be introduced to clinical chemistry medical laboratory concepts through theory and lab practice. The theory component of the course aligns with lab practice of manual and automated techniques. Students will perform testing on various specimen types using various analytical techniques to test common analytes used to evaluate water, electrolyte balance and renal function. Students will perform analysis and apply Quality Control and Westgard Rules to determine analytical system performance. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 1208 - Hematology I
In this course students will be introduced to medical laboratory concepts through theory and application of hematology lab practices. Manual and automated testing will be performed using foundational hematology methodologies/techniques. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 1304 - Specimen Procurement and Processing
Students will focus on the collection, receipt, and pre-analytical processing of clinical laboratory specimens. Activities will include specimen collection by venipuncture and capillary puncture. After learning the techniques on a simulated arm, students will collect specimens from one another to further develop their skill set.

MLTD 1315 - Applied Investigations
Students will continue to build on the skills and competencies learned during the first year of the program. The course incorporates all disciplines and roles within a clinical laboratory. Students will also have opportunities to build on concepts of laboratory safety, quality processes, professionalism, patient relationships and communication. During this course, students will be provided the opportunity to develop and demonstrate critical thinking skills necessary for success in the Medical Laboratory field.

MLTD 1350 - Clinical Practicum I
During this Clinical Practicum, students will develop competence in phlebotomy procedures and core lab procedures.

MLTD 2103 - Clinical Microbiology III
The course continues to build on the knowledge and competence in the discipline of clinical microbiology. Clinically relevant bacteria are further studied, with an emphasis on the ability to isolate, identify and do susceptibility testing on common pathogens, from simulated clinical specimens, using appropriate media. Performance and assessment of quality control procedures will be performed. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2106 - Transfusion Medicine II
In this course, students will continue to build on foundational transfusion medicine concepts. Other major blood group systems are explored as well as related phenotype testing and genotype predictions. Basic antibody detection and identification procedures are studied and correlation of theory with the laboratory techniques occurs. Compatibility testing is performed, and transfusion therapy is discussed. An introduction to the Canadian blood system, blood standards and guidelines are reviewed. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2107 - Clinical Chemistry II
In this course students will receive further instruction in the utilization of laboratory procedures, equipment and instrumentation to produce accurate, precise test results within established quality control parameters. Students will learn to use automated instruments to perform testing on specimens for routine analytes used to evaluate carbohydrate, acid-base balance liver, skeletal, cardiac, pancreatic, and gastrointestinal functions. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2108 - Hematology II
This course expands on previous hematology concepts learned in Hematology I. Hematology concepts, including body fluids, will be discussed and opportunity provided to apply knowledge in a laboratory setting. Students will evaluate normal and abnormal blood cells, with a focus on red blood cell abnormalities, perform a variety of manual tests, and operate automated laboratory equipment. Students will learn to interpret laboratory data from a variety of tests to aid in the clinical diagnosis of hematological diseases. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2109 - Histology II
In this lab-based course, students will process surgical and autopsy specimens and builds on skill sets learned in Histology I. It includes activities such as tissue fixation, embedding, sectioning, and processing tissue requiring special procedures and microscopic review of tissue components. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2203 - Clinical Microbiology IV
Students will continue to build their knowledge and competency in the discipline of clinical microbiology. Clinically relevant bacteria, parthenogenesis, and manifestations of disease within urinary, genital, gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, blood stream, central nervous system, joints and soft tissues will be covered. Appropriate antimicrobial susceptibility testing, and mechanisms of resistance are included. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2206 - Transfusion Medicine III
This course continues to develop students’ Transfusion Medicine skill set. Students will have opportunities to practice complex techniques such as elution, enzyme, and antibody titrations. Identification and investigation of irregular antibodies, complex patient presentation, adverse reactions to transfusions and hemolytic disease of the newborn will be covered. Autoimmune conditions, complex clinical case studies as well as evidence-based transfusion protocols will be reviewed. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2207 - Clinical Chemistry III
In this course students will enhance their knowledge of clinical chemistry by focusing on the production of accurate, precise results to evaluate lipid disorders, hormone imbalances, tumor markers, therapeutic drug monitoring and toxicology. Testing methodologies will include light measuring, electrochemistry, immunoassay, chromatography, and mass spectrometry. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2208 - Hematology III
Students will study peripheral blood and bone marrow abnormalities relating to malignancies such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. The role of the laboratory in diagnosis, classification, assessment of treatment outcomes and identifying prognostic indicators will be discussed. Hemostasis, the process of how blood coagulates, including laboratory investigations into activation, clot formation and lysis will also be studied. Bleeding and clotting disorders will be explored. Laboratory sessions are devoted to microscopic examination of blood and bone marrow slides and performing common laboratory tests by both manual and automated methods. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2209 - Histology III
In this lab-based course, students will explore the performance and interpretation of biological staining procedures such as methods for connective tissue, carbohydrates, microbiological specimens, pigments and immunohistochemical markers. Theory for enzyme histochemistry and immunohistochemistry will be covered. Application of quality practices will be emphasized. Students must successfully complete both the theory and lab components of the course.

MLTD 2210 - Quality Systems and Professional Practice
This course builds on quality concepts previously introduced. Students will study Quality Management Systems and the relationship of these quality practices to clinical laboratory safety. The course focuses on how quality and patient safety interact as the cornerstones of clinical laboratory practice. An important component of quality systems is certification and regulation of the profession; as such, students will learn about the relevant provincial and national organizations governing the profession of medical laboratory science. Reinforcement of professional conduct expectations for students in health professions continues in this course.

MLTD 2315 - Simulation Practicum
This practicum will be provided in a MLT program laboratory environment and provide an opportunity for students to continue to build on their laboratory and professional skills. The simulation will incorporate all disciplines and roles within a clinical laboratory and be led by faculty and supported by program assistants. In addition to discipline-specific technical skills, students will have opportunities to build on concepts of laboratory safety, quality processes, communication, and professionalism. During the 8-week simulation, opportunity for competency assessment and evaluation will be provided.

MLTD 3033 - Clinical Microbiology Practicum
This practicum is spent in the clinical laboratory where students will have the opportunity to continue to build on the skills learned in their previous training in Clinical Microbiology. They will set up, identify and report cultures set up from the various body sites. The students will also have further opportunities to build on concepts of laboratory safety, professionalism, patient relationships and communication.

MLTD 3035 - Transfusion Medicine Practicum
This practicum is spent in the clinical laboratory where students will have the opportunity to continue to build on the skills learned in the classroom and laboratory sessions. They will gain experience in grouping and Rh typing of blood specimens and will perform compatibility testing, antibody investigation and other special topics. Students will also have further opportunities to build on concepts of laboratory safety, quality processes, professionalism, patient relationships and communication.

MLTD 3037 - Clinical Chemistry Practicum
This practicum is spent in the clinical laboratory where students will have the opportunity to continue to build on the skills learned in their previous training in clinical chemistry. They will rotate though routine and specialized sections where they will perform analyses for hormones, tumour markers, therapeutic drugs, drugs of abuse, acid base balance and oxygenation status. Students will have further opportunities to build on the concepts of laboratory safety, quality, professionalism, patient relationships and communication.

MLTD 3038 - Hematology Practicum
This practicum is spent in the clinical laboratory where students will have the opportunity to continue to build on the skills learned in their previous training in Hematology. They will gain experience in coagulation studies, practice reading differentials, operating hematology CBC analyzers and perform other Hematology tests as required in the laboratory setting. Students will also have further opportunities to build on concepts of laboratory safety, quality processes, professionalism, patient relationships and communication.

MLTD 3039 - Histology Practicum
This practicum is spent in the clinical laboratory where students will have the opportunity to continue to build on the skills learned in their previous training in Histology. They will gain experience in processing, fixing, embedding and cutting tissue as well as cutting tissue blocks and preparing the tissue slides for staining. The focus of this practicum will be on staining procedures, using a variety of special stains. Students will also have further opportunities to build on concepts of laboratory safety, professionalism, patient relationships and communication.

MLTD 3215 - Integrated Medical Laboratory Technology Studies
Students will be provided with an opportunity to continue building on skills and competencies developed earlier in the MLT program and clinical practicums. The course will incorporate all disciplines within the clinical laboratory. Students will integrate theoretical concepts and analytical process. Concepts specific to laboratory safety, quality processes, communication, professional and patient relationships will be reviewed. Assessment and evaluation are requirements of the course.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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