Medical Laboratory Technologists

(NOC 3211)

in All Health

Medical laboratory technologists conduct medical laboratory tests, experiments, and analyses to help diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. It has been estimated that 85 percent of medical diagnostic decisions are made based on laboratory results. They work in medical laboratories in hospitals, blood banks, community and private clinics, research facilities and post-secondary educational institutions. Medical laboratory technologists who are supervisors are included in this group. Medical laboratory technologists may specialize in areas like clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, histotechnology, immunohematology, cytotechnology and cytogenetics.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 60 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 3550 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 6335 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Medical Laboratory Technologists most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

There has been a shortage of lab technologists across the country for a few years. Demand for lab technologists increased further as a result of the healthcare system's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Candidates, even including recent graduates with relatively little experience, are not expected to encounter much difficulty finding a job.

Hourly Pay

$24.00

Minimum

$35.00

Median

$39.53

Maximum

Annual Pay

$20,663

Minimum

$64,210

Median

$74,821

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.70

Minimum

$26.60

Median

$43.30

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Medical laboratory technologists conduct medical laboratory tests, experiments, and analyses to help diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. It has been estimated that 85 percent of medical diagnostic decisions are made based on laboratory results. They work in medical laboratories in hospitals, blood banks, community and private clinics, research facilities and post-secondary educational institutions. Medical laboratory technologists who are supervisors are included in this group. Medical laboratory technologists may specialize in areas like clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, histotechnology, immunohematology, cytotechnology and cytogenetics.

Job duties

Medical laboratory technologists:

  • Set up, use, and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Conduct chemical analyses of blood, urine, and other body fluids.
  • Study blood cells and other tissues to determine their relation to various conditions.
  • Prepare tissue sections for microscopic examinations using techniques to demonstrate special cellular tissue elements or other characteristics.
  • Complete blood group, type, and compatibility tests for transfusion purposes.
  • Establish procedures for the analysis of specimens and for medical laboratory experiments.
  • Conduct quality control assessment of testing techniques.
  • May supervise and train other medical laboratory technical staff, students, and helpers.
  • May help pathologists during autopsies.

Sample job titles

  • autopsy technologist - medical laboratory
  • clinical laboratory technologist
  • combined laboratory and x-ray technologist
  • immunology technologist - medical laboratory
  • medical laboratory supervisor
  • medical laboratory technologist
  • medical technologist
  • microbiology technologist - medical laboratory
  • registered medical technologist
  • tissue technologist - medical laboratory

Skills

  • This work demands accuracy and close attention to detail. You must have good manual dexterity and be comfortable working with instruments and technology, including information technology. Good communication skills and the ability to work with various health professionals are important. Although teamwork is essential, an MLT must be self-sufficient and able to work independently, be capable of critical thinking, and exercise good judgement. You must be flexible, open to change, and willing to keep pace with rapid developments in the field.

Job requirements

  • A two- or three-year college program in medical laboratory technology is required and a period of supervised practical training may be required.
  • Registration with the provincial licensing body is required to work in Nova Scotia.
  • Certification by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science is usually required by employers.

Other considerations

  • Depending on the size and type of institution, people in these jobs may be required to work evenings, weekends, or holidays.

By the numbers

Quick look

670

employed in 2016

79.3%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

85.9%
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14.1%
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46.9

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
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16.4%
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43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

51.1%

Halifax

$60,147 median annual income
19.3%

Cape Breton

$64,933 median annual income
14.1%

North Shore

$66,074 median annual income
8.1%

Southern

$64,719 median annual income
7.4%

Annapolis Valley

$65,254 median annual income

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

91.7%

Health care and social assistance

3.3%

Educational services

1.7%

Finance and insurance

1.7%

Professional, scientific and technical services

1.7%

Public administration

What is the age of Employment?

27.0%

45-54

25.0%

25-34

21.0%

55-64

20.0%

35-44

5.0%

65+

1.0%

15-24

Compared to: All Health

24.0%

25-34

23.9%

45-54

21.9%

35-44

18.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

60.7%

College Diploma

$64,202 median annual income
33.3%

Bachelor

$64,129 median annual income
3.0%

Master

N/A
2.2%

Diploma Below Bachelor

N/A
1.5%

Trade Certification

N/A

Compared to: All Health

38.4%

College Diploma

$40,033 median annual income
27.1%

Bachelor

$61,668 median annual income
8.7%

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary, Optometry

$81,191 median annual income
6.8%

High school

$24,829 median annual income
5.1%

Master

$69,296 median annual income

Education & training

Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technologist

College or University Program

These programs prepare students to conduct and supervise complex medical tests, clinical trials, and research experiments, manage clinical laboratories, and consult with physicians and clinical researchers on diagnoses, disease causation and spread, and research outcomes. They include courses in the theory and practice of hematology, clinical chemistry, microbiology, immunology, immunohematology, physiological relationships to test results, laboratory procedures and quality assurance controls, test and research design and implementation, analytic techniques, laboratory management and personnel supervision, data development and reporting, medical informatics, and professional standards and regulations.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Cytotechnology

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to work with pathologists to detect changes in body cells that may indicate, and permit diagnosis of, the early development of cancers and other diseases. They include courses in biochemistry, microbiology, applied mathematics, microscopy, slide preparation, identification of cellular structures and abnormalities, and laboratory procedures and safety.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Genetics

University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the organization, recombination, function, regulation, and transmission of heritable information in biological organisms at all levels of complexity. They include courses in Mendelian genetics, mechanisms of gene regulation, chromosome structure and replication, epigenetic phenomena, DNA repair and recombination, sex determination, genetic interactions between genomes, and molecular evolution.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Molecular Biology

University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the structure and function of biological macromolecules and the role of molecular constituents and mechanisms in supramolecular assemblies and cells. They include courses in such topics as molecular signalling and transduction, regulation of cell growth, enzyme substrates and mechanisms of enzyme action, DNA-protein interaction, and applications to fields such as biotechnology, genetics, cell biology, and physiology.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Medical Laboratory Technologist

Right to Title and Practice: This job is regulated. The job title is protected, and you may not use it without a professional licence. A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Medical Laboratory Technologists
Halifax, NS

Contacts

Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science
Hamilton, ON
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
Bedford, NS