Medical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' Assistants

(NOC 3212)

in All Health

Medical laboratory technicians play an important supportive role in medical labs. They help medical laboratory technologists by doing routine medical laboratory tests and setting up, cleaning, and maintaining medical laboratory equipment. They work in medical laboratories in hospitals, clinics, research facilities, post-secondary educational institutions, and government research laboratories. Medical laboratory technologists who are also supervisors are included in this group. Pathologists' assistants help at autopsies and examinations of surgical specimens or perform autopsies under a pathologist's supervision. They usually work at hospitals and universities.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Decline sharply employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate -50 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Health

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 3180 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all 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 decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. 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 Technicians and Pathologists' Assistants most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 58% of Medical Laboratory Technicians and Pathologists' Assistants who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $47,417. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$23.95

Median

$34.34

Maximum

Annual Pay

$8,349

Minimum

$41,305

Median

$67,684

Maximum

Compared to: All Health

Hourly Pay

$16.38

Minimum

$30.45

Median

$41.35

Maximum

Annual Pay

$10,740

Minimum

$43,853

Median

$88,944

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Medical laboratory technicians play an important supportive role in medical labs. They help medical laboratory technologists by doing routine medical laboratory tests and setting up, cleaning, and maintaining medical laboratory equipment. They work in medical laboratories in hospitals, clinics, research facilities, post-secondary educational institutions, and government research laboratories. Medical laboratory technologists who are also supervisors are included in this group. Pathologists' assistants help at autopsies and examinations of surgical specimens or perform autopsies under a pathologist's supervision. They usually work at hospitals and universities.

Job duties

Medical laboratory technicians:

  • Collect blood, tissue, and other samples from patients.
  • Log patient samples and prepare them for testing.
  • Set up medical laboratory equipment.
  • Conduct routine laboratory tests and sample analyses.
  • Perform quality assurance of testing techniques.
  • Clean and maintain medical laboratory and medical laboratory equipment.

Pathologists' assistants:

  • Prepare for autopsies by locating patients' medical records and arranging for radiographic examinations.
  • Help with or perform autopsies and surgical specimen examinations under pathologists' supervision.
  • Dissect, examine, weigh, and photograph organs and specimens, collect tissue samples for chemical analysis and record findings.
  • Discard specimens according to established safety procedures.
  • Clean and maintain instruments, equipment, and supplies.
  • May prepare bodies for release to funeral homes following completion of autopsies.
  • May supervise and train junior resident pathologists and morgue attendants.

Sample job titles

  • biological technician - medical laboratory
  • blood bank technician
  • clinical laboratory technician
  • community health technician - medical laboratory
  • medical laboratory aide
  • medical laboratory helper
  • medical laboratory technician
  • morgue attendant supervisor
  • pathology assistant
  • phlebotomist

Skills

This work demands close attention to detail. You must have good manual dexterity and be comfortable working with instruments and technology. Good communication skills and the ability to cooperate with others are important. You should be responsible, dependable, and willing to keep pace with rapid developments in the field.

Job requirements

  • Medical laboratory technicians/assistants require completion of a college certificate program in medical laboratory science.
  • Certification by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science may be required for medical laboratory technicians/assistants.
  • Combined laboratory and X-ray technicians require completion of a combined laboratory X-ray technology program.
  • Pathologists' assistants require some post-secondary courses or a university degree in life sciences and specialized on-the-job training.

Other considerations

Hours of work may vary. Assistants may work full-time, part-time, or casual relief hours. Standard weekday hours are common, but evening and night shifts may be required. Assistants mainly work in laboratory environments where they may have to spend a lot of time standing and performing repetitive tasks. Safety measures must be followed to reduce the risk to infectious body fluids, dangerous chemicals, or hazardous radiation.

By the numbers

Quick look

720

employed in 2016

73.6%

employed full-time

1.4%

self employed

85.4%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
14.6%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
42.1

median age

Compared to: All Health

36,515

employed in 2016

75.7%

employed full-time

9.6%

self employed

83.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
16.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.5

median age

Where will I likely work?

57.3%

Halifax

14.7%

Cape Breton

11.2%

North Shore

11.2%

Annapolis Valley

5.6%

Southern

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

92.9%

Health care and social assistance

2.4%

Manufacturing

1.6%

Public administration

1.6%

Wholesale trade

1.6%

Educational services

What is the age of Employment?

26.0%

25-34

25.0%

45-54

20.0%

35-44

18.0%

55-64

8.0%

15-24

3.0%

65+

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

54.2%

College Diploma

$45,082 median annual income
19.4%

Bachelor

$35,325 median annual income
13.2%

High school

$28,108 median annual income
6.3%

Apprenticeship

$47,158 median annual income
4.9%

Diploma Below Bachelor

$39,737 median annual income

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 technology/technologist

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that prepares individuals 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. These programs 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

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Ivany Campus

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Clinical/medical laboratory assistant

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class includes any program that prepares individuals, under the supervision of physicians or laboratory scientists or technologists, to perform testing procedures, phlebotomy, and other duties in support of laboratory teams. These programs include courses in clinical procedures, various laboratory tests, laboratory mathematics, computer technology, equipment operation and maintenance, sterilization and safety, communications skills, and interpersonal skills.

Institutions providing this program

CBBC Career College Inc. - Sydney Campus

315 Jamieson Street

Sydney, NS B1N 2P7

(902) 564-2222

CBBC Career College Inc. - Dartmouth Campus

45 Alderney Drive

Dartmouth, NS B1N 2P7

(902) 706-5529

Cytotechnology/cytotechnologist

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class includes any program that prepares individuals 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. These programs 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

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Epidemiology

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that focuses on the scientific study of disease, disability, and trauma patterns within and across populations and the development of health management mechanisms to prevent and control disease outbreaks and injurious behaviours. These programs include courses in biostatistics, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, disease and injury determinants, genetic disease and disability factors, behavioural studies, health services research, environmental disease and injury factors, and population studies.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Pathology/experimental pathology

This program is typically offered at the university level.

This instructional program class includes any program that focuses on the scientific study of the expression, initiation, maintenance and progression of tissue injury and disease, including death, and the relationship of pathogenesis to fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms. These programs include courses in immunology, microbiology, gene expression, inflammation, cell injury, apoptosis, immunopathology, molecular markers of disease and toxins, neoplasia, growth regulation, and organ- and system-specific investigations.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Canadian Blood Services
7071 Bayers Road, Suite 252
Halifax, NS B3L 4T7
Tel: (902) 474-3765
Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science
33 Wellington Street North
Hamilton, ON L8R 1M7
Tel: (800) 263-8277
Fax: (905) 528-4968
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.