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The location where your NAIT courses will be held.


The type of certification (degree, diploma, certificate) you will earn after completing your program.

  • Degree - NAIT offers a number of business degrees and applied science and technology degrees accredited by Alberta Advanced Education.
    Applied degree programs offer a stronger emphasis on practical applications of the concepts learned in the classroom
  • Diplomas & Certificates - These credit programs take 1 or 2 years and lead to government approved and industry-recognized credentials.
  • Journeyman Certificate - Hands-on and expert-led apprenticeship and industry training for skilled trades and technology professionals.
  • Continuing Education/Non-Credit - NAIT offers a wide range of non-credit programs and courses for personal and professional development in a number of interesting and exciting fields. These options are great for people who may be working but are interested in studying as well.

Delivery Options

The flexible schedule options for this course including time of day and full/part-time.

  • Day - Courses taking place between Monday - Friday, before 5 PM.
  • Evening/Weekend - Courses taking place on weekdays from 5 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Online - Sometimes called "Home Study" or "Computer-Based Learning"
  • Distance - Traditional correspondence format. These courses work best if you can't get to a campus or if your schedule can't accommodate fixed class times


The average or expected time it will take to complete your program.

Open Studies

Open Studies allows you to explore credit courses without applying to a program.
It is an opportunity to get a feel for school and what program you want to be in.

International Students

Program availability may be limited for international applicants. Contact your student advisor for more information.

Advanced Credit

You may apply for advanced credit once you have been accepted into the program. Advanced Credit can be Transfer Credit (for completed post-secondary courses) or PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition).

Transfer Credit

In addition to the common guidelines outlined on the Transfer and Credit Options section and on the Transfer Credit Request Form (PDF), your program has other advanced credit requirements that are applied to each request including:

  • You must have completed the course or program no more than 2 year(s) ago unless a formalized articulation agreement is in place
  • You must have a minimum mark of C- in the course(s) or program

Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR)

If you do not qualify for transfer credit or credential recognition, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) may be an option.

Contact the program for additional information about Advanced Credit.

NAIT’s fast-tracked, 22-week Medical Laboratory Assisting certificate program will give you entry-level experience in  specimen collection and processing for analysis, basic lab procedures, performance of electrocardiograms (ECGs), phlebotomy, urinalysis, data entry and clerical/reception services. It will also provide you with opportunities for hands-on experiences with a 7-week clinical laboratory practicum with a clinical partner in Edmonton, Wainwright, Westlock, Camrose or surrounding community.

This certificate program will prepare you to be the “face of the lab” in both public and private healthcare facilities, interacting with technologists, physicians and the public. The duties of a Medical Laboratory Assistant are varied; you might find yourself acquiring patient specimens by methods such as phlebotomy (taking blood) or performing electrocardiograms (ECGs) or assisting medical laboratory technologists in chemistry, cytology, hematology, histopathology or microbiology departments.

Employment rates reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and do not guarantee future employment opportunities.

Salaries reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and are not a guarantee of future alumni income.

Hands-on, industry-relevant training 

As part of the health-care team, Medical Laboratory Assistants are trained in the collection of specimens from the patient, the initial processing and preparation of specimens for analysis, data entry, performance of phlebotomy and ECGs, urinalysis, specified basic laboratory procedures, and the laboratory information system (LIS).

In the program, students learn how to provide quality patient care by being introduced to

  • How to work safety in a level II containment laboratory
  • The process of collection of specimens for analysis
  • How to procure quality laboratory specimens for analysis
  • How to think critically, to communicate, and to collaborate professionally
  • The professional responsibility of an MLA, including scope of practice, ethics, accountability, and professional development

Semester 1 of the Medical Laboratory Assisting program begins every September and January, and consists of 15 weeks of classroom instruction with related practical laboratory sessions on NAIT Main Campus.

Semester 2 consists of 7 weeks of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) at an affiliated training site in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Wetaskiwin, Wainwright, Westlock, Camrose and surrounding areas throughout Alberta. WIL provides practical experience in a variety of clinical settings. Emphasis is placed on practical application of concepts studied at NAIT and on development of organizational and professionalism skills.

Open Studies Pathway

You now have an additional pathway to the School of Health and Life Sciences at NAIT. Complete one or more select Open Studies courses to be guaranteed a program entrance interview.

Enter the workforce with confidence 

Medical Laboratory Assistants are involved in the processing of all samples that come into the lab and ensuring these samples meet required standards for analysis, and there is high demand for employment throughout Alberta, specifically in the central and northern regions.

You will typically be employed by hospitals and healthcare centers, industrial process or manufacturing companies, research laboratories and insurance companies.

 As a graduate of the program, you are also eligible to challenge the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science exam to obtain national certification as a medical laboratory assistant in Canada.

Have questions? We've got answers

If you’re looking for more information or have a question about the Medical Laboratory Assisting program, we can help.

Our program advisors are here to answer your questions.

Email: mla@nait.ca

  • Tel:780.491.3040
  • Fax:780.471.8481




View courses for this program

Tuition & Fees

Get an estimate on cost to attend

How to Apply

Information on admissions process

Scholarships & Awards

Funding for students in this program

Term 1

MELA1102Introduction to Healthcare Practices
  • Open Studies: Available

Students will learn medical terminology used to communicate in the healthcare setting, as well as the structure and function of selected systems of the human body that apply to the Medical Laboratory Assisting Profession.

MELA1103Professional Practices
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Medical Laboratory Assisting program. Co-Requisites: SPAH1101, MELA1102, MELA1104, MELT1107.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Students learn the importance of maintaining professional conduct and adhering to legal and ethical standards in a healthcare setting. The diverse needs and human relations posed by healthcare clients are also explored. Simulated scenarios allow students to practice the use of effective personal and interprofessional communication, critical thinking and teamwork skills.

MELA1104Urinalysis and Quality Management
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Medical Laboratory Assisting program. Co-Requisites: SPAH1101, MELA1102, MELA1103, PHAE1105, MELT1107.
  • Course Equivalencies: QLUR1104
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Students will be introduced to quality management and quality control processes used in a medical laboratory. Theoretical concepts and laboratory techniques required for the physical, chemical and microscopic evaluation of urine will also be studied. Correlation of urinalysis results and their clinical significance will be discussed.

MELT1107Introductory Medical Laboratory Procedures
  • Open Studies: Available

Students will learn the theory and skills required to perform basic procedures in a medical laboratory. The course includes safety and infection control regulations, procedures and practices required to work in a medical laboratory. The course also includes reagent preparation with associated calculations and an introduction to the use of equipment and supplies commonly found in a laboratory, such as: Microscopes, glassware, pipettes, balances, centrifuges, thermal equipment.

PHAE1105Phlebotomy and Electrocardiography
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Medical Laboratory Assisting program. Co-requisites: SPAH1101, MELA1103, MELA1102, MELA1104, MELT1107.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Students will perform electrocardiography and phlebotomy. The theory to support performance of these skills will be provided and students will have opportunities to combine skills with theory in scenarios involving different types of patients. Students will also learn the procedures, processes and quality requirements to ensure optimal blood samples or electrocardiograms are obtained.

SPAH1101Specimen Processing and Handling
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Medical Laboratory Assisting program. Co-requisites: MELA1103, MELA1104, PHAE1105, MELA1102, MELT1107.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Students will learn about the departments in a clinical laboratory as well as the various types of specimens analyzed within these departments. Emphasis will be placed on the safe performance of basic laboratory procedures as they apply to the pre-analytical preparation of samples for various departments.

Term 2

MELA1196Clinical Placement
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Medical Laboratory Assisting program. Prerequisites: SPAH1101, MELA1102, MELA1103, MELA1104, PHAE1105, MELT1107. A completion grade of C- in all prerequisite courses is required to enroll.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The clinical placement provides an opportunity for students to apply the knowledge and techniques acquired while studying at NAIT. With direct supervision, students will practice in public and/or private healthcare settings in various laboratory departments. Students will gain experience as part of the healthcare team and will interact with patients/or clients and healthcare professionals. Successful completion of clinical placement will enable students to challenge the national CSMLS exam.


Cost Per Credit: $180
Tuition Cap: $1,940

Tuition for International Students

Cost Per Credit: $567
Tuition Cap: $6,111

Mandatory Fees

NAITSA: $129
U-Pass: $175
Health & Dental: $128
Rec. & Athletics: $70

Pay Your Tuition & Fees
How much will first year cost?

Books, Supplies & Program Fees (est.)

Level 1 Term 1: $650
Level 1 Term 2: $650

Dates & Deadlines

We recommend submitting your program application at least 90 days before the application deadline.

Application Deadline: Feb 15, 2019

Term Start Date: Sep 03, 2019

Program Availability Status:  

Domestic Applicants: CL
International Applicants: CL

Entrance Requirements

  • 65% in each of:

    • English 30-1 or 30-2
    • Math 20-2 or Applied Math 20 or Math 10-1 or Pure Math 10 or Math 10C
    • Chemistry 20
    • Biology 20
  • A proctored certified typing test with a minimum of 30 net words per minute and 90% accuracy. The typing test must be completed within the last 24 months, at the time of application. Take a look at the Typing Test Instructions to find out what's required and how to register.

  • Online Interview:

    • Interviews for eligible applicants are scheduled following the application deadline
    • Please refer to the Online Interview handout for more information
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency

Competitive Entrance Requirements:

Applicants are shortlisted for the interview based on their academic average for the required high school courses. Last year, applicants successful in receiving an interview had a minimum average of 80%.

Applicants with prior NAIT Health and Life Sciences credentials or who have successfully completed at least one approved Open Studies course in the School of Health and Life Sciences with a minimum of 75% may be given special consideration for the interview shortlist.

Final selection is based strictly on the interview scores. Applicants who are offered conditional acceptance need to maintain the academic average presented in phase 1 in order to secure final acceptance. Please refer to the Student Selection Criteria and Process for more information.

Additional Requirements and Considerations

The following activities are encouraged to ensure an adequate understanding of the expectations and duties of the program and profession:

  • Review of program website
  • Open House information sessions
  • Program Preview
  • Tour one or two medical laboratories* and/or speak to a Medical Laboratory Assistant.

*Selected dates for visits at one of the medical laboratories listed below are available:

  • DynaLIFE, Edmonton - Clinical Support Team Administrative Assistant: 780-451-3702 Ext 3235
  • Grande Prairie - Judy Braun: 780-830-2856
  • Red Deer Regional Hospital - Bev Krysko: 403-309-2894
  • Northern Lights Health Regional Centre, Fort McMurray - Deb Geldart: 780-791-6160
  • Medicine Hat Regional Hospital Laboratory - 403-529-8830
  • Victoria General Hospital - Ann Megan Berg: 250-727-4334

Immunization Requirements: Students are required to be immunized against vaccine preventable diseases, as determined by Alberta Health. After acceptance into the program, students will be given further information on immunization requirements. Prior to starting the program, it is expected a minimum of the first doses of all required immunizations are received. If you do not meet the immunization requirements, your work integrated learning experience (clinical training) may be refused by a clinical site, and there may be restrictions to campus lab and clinic experience, which may ultimately impede your progress in the program.

Police Information Check: Students are required to provide a current Police Information Check (also referred to as a Security Clearance or Criminal Record Check) which must include a Vulnerable Sector Search. Please do not proceed with the Police Information Check until an offer of acceptance and follow-up instructions have been issued by the program. The Police Information Check is only considered valid when reviewed by a NAIT official within 90 days of completion. If you do not meet the police information check requirements, your work integrated learning experience (clinical training) may be refused by a clinical site, which may ultimately impede your progress in the program.

Biosafety Course Requirement: Biosafety is mandatory for all students in the Medical Laboratory Assisting program to ensure compliance with the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act. A biosafety course will be delivered online using Moodle. Students will be directed on deadlines and completion requirements during program specific orientation. If this requirement is not met, access to designated labs may be denied.

  • All costs associated with the following requirements, CPR (Basic Life Support - BLS), Immunization Requirements and Police Information Check are the responsibility of the student and are not reflected in the Tuition & Fees (Cost per semester) above. Students can expect to spend between $110 - $500 to cover the costs of these requirements.

Apply to Program

Apply to the program with step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application process. Please note, processing time may vary for applicants, so we recommend starting early.

Apply nowHow to apply checklist

Open Studies

A great option to get started or take a few courses without committing to a full program. Learn more

International Students

This program is open to international applicants. For more detailed information about applying, visit our admissions page. Learn more


Term Definition
Open Program still has seats available.
Waitlisting Program is full and qualified applicants are being placed on a waitlist. For information about waitlists, please visit the Waitlist FAQs.

If you’re on a non-competitive waitlist, you should consider NAIT’s Academic Upgrading program or NAIT Equivalency Tests to become a more competitive applicant.

There is no guarantee that waitlisted applicants will be offered a seat, however it is common for seats to become available until the start of class. As seats become available, they are filled from the waitlist.
Closed Program is no longer accepting applications.
N/A Not available for this term.

*Program availabilty is subject to change without notice.

Scholarships & Awards

NAIT supports over 4,000 students with over $6 million in scholarships and bursaries each year. Many are available for students across a wide range of programs.

Explore our available Scholarships and Bursaries

Apply to NAIT

Learn how to register through Alberta Post-Secondary Application System (APAS) or begin the application process.

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