School of Health and Life Sciences

Medical Laboratory Assisting

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NAIT’s Medical Laboratory Assisting certificate program is offered in both full-time and part-time pathways. The full -time program runs 22 weeks which includes a 7 week clinical laboratory practicum. The part-time pathway runs evenings and weekends over 30 weeks followed by full-time 7 week clinical laboratory practicum. The Medical Laboratory Assisting 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.

Medical Laboratory Assisting is also available as a structured part-time offering.

Quick Facts

Credential: Certificate

Diplomas and Certificates are credit programs that take 1 or 2 years and lead to government approved and industry-recognized credentials.

Campus: Main

Any in-person components of your courses will be delivered at NAIT's Main Campus in Edmonton. View map

Delivery Options:

  • Both On-Campus and Virtual - Some of your coursework will be in-person, on campus and some will be done online.

Length: 22 Weeks

With a typical full-time course load, this program will take 22 Weeks to complete.

Open Studies: Available

This program has courses that are available for 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. View courses

International Students: Not Accepted

This program is not accepting international students for this intake.

Grad Employment Rate

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

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Median Starting Salary

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

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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

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.

Semester 1

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

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.

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 centres, 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.

Please refer to the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) website to learn more about their requirements for licensing/mandatory registration and declaration of conduct, which may include disclosure of information related to criminal convictions and professional misconduct or incompetence as well as any personal factors that could impact the ability to practice safely.

MLA student

International Applicants

Some NAIT programs are unavailable to international students because they do not meet eligibility for a study permit or Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). 

  • Study Permit: This program is a credit certificate and meets the criteria for a study permit and a co-op work permit. 
  • Co-Op Permit: International students enrolled in this program must complete a Clinical Placement. As such, you must apply for a co-op work permit and receive approval before the start of your work placement.
  • Post-Graduation Work Permit: This program is too short to meet the requirements for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Completion of this program will not make you eligible for a PGWP.

International applicants seeking permissions to take this program can contact a NAIT Academic Advisor – International to discuss options.

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, 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

Read more about advanced credit or contact us about applying for credit for this program.

Courses

Expand each course below to see details about credits, requisites, scheduling, and more.

Tuition & Fees

Scholarships & Awards

The following scholarships and/or bursaries are available to you as a student in this program. To access your opportunities, visit the Student Portal.

How to Apply

Want to learn more about this program?

Thank you for your interest! We want to get you in contact with the right person to answer your questions.

Please contact the Student Service Centre for general inquiries such as:

  • Student application support
  • Program entrance requirements, tuition & fees, and how to apply
  • Program admissions process
  • Enrolment support
  • Student funding options
  • Fee and refund inquiries
  • General program and course withdrawal procedures
  • Navigating nait.ca and MyNAITPortal

Contact Student Service Centre

Please fill out the form below if you have any program-specific questions relating to:

  • Program details
  • Work-integrated learning and cooperative education
  • Advance credit and Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition (PLAR)
  • Program and course withdrawal



The personal information on this form is being collected under the authority of the Post-secondary Learning Act and section 33(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP). The information will be protected by the provisions of FOIP, and will be used for the purpose of registration and administration of the event. If you have any questions or concerns about the collection, use, security or disclosure of the personal information, please contact General Council at 780.471.7664 or legal@nait.ca.

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