“What we do in the Medical Laboratory Technician program, is we practice the practical aspects of being in a medical lab,” says Daniel Pasternack, a student of Centennial College’s undertaking. “We practice taking blood from each other and doing microbiology plates and taking part in all of the aspects of what you would be doing in a medical lab.” Meanwhile, for student Ava Herichmiller one of the most exciting parts of the medical lab technician undertaking is having professors who have worked in the field and who have their own experiences, which are shared with the students. “It gives you a very good idea of what you will be doing in the field,” sums up Ava.
These two students do a great job of summarizing the most special aspects of Centennial College’s Medical Laboratory Technician undertaking: practical experience and knowledgeable faculty. But there is much more the program has to offer. First and foremost, to apply, students must have completed at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Also required are: compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent; math 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent; Biology 11C or U or equivalent.
Once students are accepted, they train for three semesters and graduate with an Ontario College Certificate. As this is a collaborative program taught by Centennial’s School of Community and Health Studies and School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science, representatives from hospitals, private laboratories and the Ministry of Health provide curriculum input. This input has resulted in a medical lab technician offering that sees students becoming familiar with essential functions such as collecting blood, processing clinical specimens, performing ECGs, setting up Holter monitors, and performing a variety of lab responsibilities. In order to do this, the medical laboratory technician courses teach students the use of laboratory equipment, medical terminology, transcultural health, applied chemistry for the medical laboratory, clinical data management, and much more.
To round out the theoretical and practical knowledge students of the Medical Laboratory Technician program obtain on campus, they participate in a Clinical Internship, during which they apply theoretical knowledge in a clinical practice setting under the direction of a medical laboratory assistant. This focus of this course is to allow for easy transition into the workplace environment. Students will be given the opportunity to become proficient at specimen collection and handling and be able to function as an effective member of a medical laboratory team. Lastly, students of this offering have eligibility for certification as a Medical Laboratory Assistant/ Technician with the Ontario Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists and the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.
Upon graduation from the Medical Laboratory Technician program, students work in hospital laboratories, public health laboratories, reference laboratories, biomedical companies, universities, industrial medical laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, forensic medicine, governments, veterinary labs and the armed forces. Medical laboratory technicians can specialize in one of five different areas: blood banking, chemistry, hematology, immunology, or microbiology.