Medical Laboratory Assistant Dartmouth Campus |

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Start a Career in Healthcare with the Medical Laboratory Assistant program!

The Medical Laboratory Assistant program offered at our Dartmouth campus comprises 25 weeks of practical and theoretical studies in order to prepare graduates for the work environment. Students are introduced to technical areas of medical terminology, clinical laboratory, and laboratory mathematics. You will also earn your First Aid & CPR from St. John’s Ambulance. Fundamental instruction of chemistry and biology is delivered through laboratory microbiology, cytology and histology, and hematology. This is taught through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on experimentation. Anatomy, physiology, quality assurance, and safety procedures are also components of the program. A six-week clinical practicum is a mandatory requirement of the program.

Graduates may seek employment in Private Diagnostic Testing Laboratories, Public Health Laboratories, Hospital Labs, Quality Control Labs, Physician’s Office or Clinic, and Veterinary Laboratories.

Total program length: 19 weeks theory, 5 weeks practicum

admission requirements

Standard Admissions Policy:

  •  Academic Grade 12
  • Grade 11 or 12 Biology (min 60%), OR, Grade 11 or 12 Chemistry (min 60%)
  • Grade 11 or 12 Math considered an asset

In addition to the above, applicants also need to provide:

  • Vulnerable Sector Check
  • Immunization Agreement Waiver
  • Admissions Interview

Program Outline

  • Anatomy & Physiology

    This course covers the structure and function of the human body, beginning with the smallest unit, the cell, and proceeding through the various organ systems. The student learns how the organ systems work together to support the body as a whole, and gains an understanding of where various diseases, specimen origins, and specific tests fit in the context of the MLA laboratory role.

  • Career Management

    The Career Management course introduces students to and teaches them how to apply, the most effective strategies to achieve employment in the career of their choice. Topics covered: effective job search strategies, cover letter and strategic resume writing, interview preparation and effective interviewing skills.

  • Clinical Laboratory Practicum

    The clinical laboratory practicum is experiential education that allows the student to link campus learning with the real-life laboratory. During this period, learners draw on their communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills as they integrate into the world of medical laboratory science. They have the hands-on opportunity to apply knowledge and fine-tune skills while working as part of the healthcare team. The clinical experience is the final step in preparing the student for a smooth transition into the working lab.

  • First Aid & CPR

    Students will complete the objectives outlined in the curriculum for the courses offered by St. John Ambulance for the Standard Level First Aid and Level C CPR. Students will be certified in Standard First Aid and Level C Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation.

  • Introduction to the MLA Profession

    This brief introductory module illuminates the professional world of medical laboratory assistants (MLA), both as individuals and as members of a team. It locates the MLA in the Canadian healthcare system and identifies the organizations and professionals who oversee and uphold the high standards of education and performance expected of MLAs in Canada. Students also learn how personal habits such as professional integrity and healthy self-care practices can support a successful career in healthcare.

  • Medical Terminology for the MLA

    Students will be able to relate to the medical terms used in the healthcare field, analyze and identify each, and their relations to the human anatomy and physiology. Proper spelling, pronunciation and usage are of utmost importance.

  • Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S)

    This module provides background knowledge of legislation governing workplace health hazards, and the responsibilities of employers and workers in controlling and managing them. Students learn to identify conditions in the workplace that can negatively affect their health, take responsibility for safe practice, and respond appropriately in accordance with occupational health and safety guidelines. This module provides a certificate in occupational health and safety training.

  • Non-Violent Crisis Intervention

    Healthcare professionals frequently experience aggressiveness and threats to their physical safety in the workplace. This module teaches skills in maintaining calm while recognizing and responding to a potentially disruptive or violent situation. Participants learn how to deescalate a situation while protecting themselves physically, and how to use non-violent means of avoiding personal injury.

  • Pre-Analytical Clinical Chemistry

    This course covers aspects of pre-analytical clinical chemistry including common specimen types, tests, equipment, and instruments. Students gain practical skills with laboratory glassware, and other equipment, and apply mathematical concepts to prepare reagents, with an emphasis on safe and competent practice. Point-of-care testing is also addressed.

  • Pre-Analytical Hematology

    This course explores the components of blood and the principles of blood testing, as well as blood transfusion medicine. Content covers aspects of pre-analytical hematology including common specimen types, tests, equipment, and instruments. Students gain practical skills with preparation and staining of blood films, commercial testing kits, and point-of-care testing, with an emphasis on safe and competent practice.

  • Pre-Analytical Histology and Cytology

    This module introduces laboratory analysis that focuses on cells and tissues, and the detection of malignancy and other cellular abnormalities. Students will learn the pre and post-analytical steps used for tissue and fluid histology and cytology specimens, including specimen collection guidelines, specimen receipt, processing, staining methods, storage, and disposal.

  • Pre-Analytical Microbiology

    Pre-Analytical Microbiology introduces the organisms that cause disease in humans and the specimens and laboratory procedures currently used to detect and isolate them in the clinical laboratory. Students learn how to work safely with bio-hazardous microbiology specimens and prevent contamination of the environment inside and outside the lab while acquiring practical skills in specimen processing and culture methods.

  • Professional Practice in the Laboratory

    This course describes the healthcare industry and examines what we mean by health and wellness. Students learn key elements of professionalism in the healthcare industry, explore elements of law, ethics, and integrity as they relate to the medical laboratory assistant (MLA), and gain an understanding of the importance of hard and soft skills such as adaptability, time management, communication and teamwork in a healthcare setting.

  • Quality Management in the Clinical Laboratory

    This module introduces students to the importance of quality in all aspects of the clinical laboratory, and the programs designed to monitor, evaluate, and continuously improve laboratory processes, performance, and results. Both external organizations and internal processes are discussed, as well as the critical role that each healthcare professional has in the achievement of excellence.

  • Safety in the Clinical and Laboratory Setting

    This course teaches students about the hazards and risks inherent in the clinical laboratory environment. Content addresses physical, chemical, and biological risks, examining not only the nature of individual risks, but also the means of recognizing and assessing risk, and ways to mitigate risk and protect yourself from harm.

  • Specimen Collection and Processing

    This module covers safe and proper collection techniques for common specimen types with particular emphasis on current phlebotomy procedures and the development of phlebotomy skills. Course content explores the necessity for rigorous attention to detail: patient identification, collection of relevant clinical information, proper specimen handling, the role of laboratory information systems, and the implications for patient care when these requirements are not met.

  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)

    This course provides certificate training in the transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) by ground, with customized content on safe handling of infectious substances, biological substances, liquid nitrogen and dry ice. Course content covers Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, classification of infectious substances, and requirements for packaging, labelling, documentation, and response to a spill that could endanger the public. Students earn a valid certificate in TDG training.

  • Welcome to MLA

    This course provides a detailed preview of the Medical Laboratory Assistant program (modules, laboratory component, and clinical practicum) and the path to a career as a CSMLS-certified medical laboratory assistant. It also introduces CBBC Career College campus resources and policies, and online resources, to ensure student satisfaction and success.

  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)

    The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) is a standardized system that aligns with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS), focused on safety where hazardous materials are in use. Education and training in WHMIS allow workers to understand the system and the hazard, and take appropriate measures to reduce the risk to themselves and others. This module provides a certificate in WHMIS training.

This program prepared me and gave me the confidence to enter the real business world. The close knit atmosphere CBBC has, made me very comfortable. Each and every staff member at CBBC was extraordinarily helpful on my journey in obtaining a full-time Administrative Assistant position in Cape Breton. Courtney MacPhail Administrative Assistant / Offshore Technical Services

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