3212 Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists' assistants

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Lead statement

Medical laboratory technicians conduct routine medical laboratory tests and set up, clean and maintain medical laboratory equipment. They are employed in medical laboratories in hospitals, clinics, research facilities, post-secondary educational institutions and government research laboratories. Pathologists' assistants assist at autopsies and examinations of surgical specimens or perform autopsies under a pathologist's supervision. They are usually employed in hospitals and universities.

Example Titles

  • medical laboratory aide
  • medical laboratory assistant
  • medical laboratory technician
  • pathology assistant
  • phlebotomist
  • phlebotomy aide

Inclusion(s)

  • blood bank technician
  • renal technician

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

Medical laboratory technicians

  • Collect, sort and prepare blood, tissue and other samples from patients
  • Log and validate 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 obtaining patients' medical records and arranging for radiographic examinations
  • Prepare, assist with or perform autopsies and surgical specimen examinations under pathologists' supervision
  • Dissect, examine, weigh, photograph and X-ray 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
  • Develop and maintain processes for laboratory quality control
  • May prepare bodies for release to funeral homes following completion of autopsies
  • May supervise and train junior resident pathologists and morgue attendants.

Employment 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 is usually required by employers 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.
  • Certification by the American Society for Clinical Pathology – Board of Certification or Pathologists’ Assistant Certification Examination is usually required by employers.

Exclusions