Thompson Rivers University

Medical Laboratory Assistant Certificate

Start your career in health care in less than a year. This Certificate can be completed part-time (two years) or full-time (under a year; we recommend this option). Through this program, you will be trained to perform the practical components of collecting, sorting and preparing patient samples for further testing and analysis. The majority of this training can be completed online so you can study at a time and place that works for you. The program includes a five-day workshop and requires the completion of a clinical practicum at a hospital or private lab.


As a Medical Laboratory Assistant you will collect and process specimens in a variety of settings including:

  • Biotech companies
  • Community health clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Private labs
  • Specialty labs
  • University research labs
 Calendar Description

The Medical Laboratory Assistant program consists of five theory courses, a five-day workshop and a clinical practicum, which is provided by a hospital or private laboratory under criteria developed by TRU. Combined, these provide the theory and skills required for graduates to function as medical laboratory assistants in hospitals or private clinical laboratories.

A maximum of 30 weeks per course is permitted. Students have a maximum of two years to complete the entire certificate program. Students are, however, encouraged to complete the program in under a year. Extensions will not be granted for this program

The program is equivalent to 20 to 24 weeks of full-time study. It leads to rewarding employment in a health care setting.

Visit Frequently Asked Questions for more about the Medical Laboratory Assistant program and the profession.

 Program Requirements

Students who plan to complete a credential through TRU-OL must complete and submit a Program Admission form.

Admission Requirements

Proof of:

  • Grade 12 or equivalent: order BC high school transcripts online through the BC Ministry of Education. The original transcript must be sent directly from the Ministry or School District.
  • Basic computer skills with typing at 40 words per minute on a five-minute test. Applicants must set up a typing test through the Thompson Rivers University Assessment Centre. Click here for more information.
  • Confirmation of a practicum-training site (PDF, 529 KB)

Certain admission requirements may be waived upon permission from the Academic Director or designate.

Additional Requirements
  • A Criminal Record Check (PDF, 892 KB).
  • HepB vaccine (PDF, 110 KB): form and instructions supplied for those not previously vaccinated; mail original form.
  • A HepB Blood Panel test for those previously vaccinated (to ensure immunity from future infection). This test result may be faxed from the doctor's office to TRU, Open Learning, Admissions.

Residency Requirements

A minimum of 6 TRU credits (distance or on-campus).

Certificate Requirements

18 credits total, as follows:

HLTH 1981, Medical Terminology (3)

HLTH 1141, Introduction to Electrocardiography (3)

MDLB 1221, Professional Practices and Safety in Health Care (3)

MDLB 1321, Phlebotomy Procedures and Specimen Preparation (3)

MDLB 1521, Microbiology Specimen Preparation (3)

MDLB 0521, MLA Workshop (0 (complete prior to laboratory practicum) For dates, here is the Workshop Schedule.

MDLB 1721, Laboratory Practicum - Evaluation of Competencies (3)

Optional Course

MDLB 1611, Pre-Analytical Histo-Pathology (3)


It is the sole responsibility of the student to determine if current employment trends in their region meet their personal needs and, in most areas, to locate and arrange their own clinical placement for the required laboratory practicum component of this program. For clinical practicum information, contact the Program Administrator, Science before contacting a local lab about a placement.

Students are responsible for consulting with their program advisor to ensure that the courses they select are appropriate for their program of study and educational goals. Students who proceed without approval may find that a course does not meet their program requirements and their educational goals and may be subject to transcript assessment fees.

TRU does provide liability coverage for students on unpaid practicum placements; however, workplace safety insurance varies by province. For their personal protection, out-of-province students should check on this coverage in their home province or territory.


Please see Tuition and Fees for details.


Email Student Services for more information.