Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Medical Laboratory Assistant National Certificate

This program is accredited by Accreditation Canada ( Graduates are eligible to write the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) national exam for Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLAs).

If you are a student in certain provinces outside of BC, specifically in three Atlantic provinces (NS, NL, PE), choose this program, rather than the MLA Certificate program, which is for BC students. If you are unsure of which program to take, contact the Program Administrator, Science.

Before applying to this program, please contact the Program Administrator, Science, to discuss the availability of practicum placements in your geographical area.

Be sure to read the FAQs to see if this career is right for you.


The program can lead to rewarding employment in a health care setting. Refer to Frequently Asked Questions for more about this program and the MLA profession.

Program Description

The MLA National Certificate program consists of five theory courses and a clinical practicum in a hospital or laboratory, under criteria developed by TRU. Combined, the courses and practicum provide the theory and skills required for graduates to function as MLAs in hospitals or laboratories.

You have a maximum of 30 weeks to complete each course and an overall maximum of two years to complete the entire MLA National Certificate program. However, you are encouraged to complete the program in under one year. The entire program is equivalent to 20–24 weeks of full-time study. Please note that no extensions are granted to the program timeframe.

Program Requirements

Please fill in a Program Admission Form and send it to OL Admissions.

Admission Requirements

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

Additional Requirements

Residency Requirements

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

Certificate Requirements

18 credits total, as follows:

HLTH 1981, Medical Terminology (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 1611, Pre-Analytical Procedures for Histopathology (3)
MDLB 1991, Laboratory Practicum - Evaluation of National Competencies (3)

Optional Course

HLTH 1141, Introduction to Electrocardiography (3)

Student Responsibility

it is your responsibility to locate and arrange for your clinical practicum placement. However, please contact the Program Administrator before you begin to arrange for this placement.

Consult with your Program Advisor to ensure that the courses you select are available and appropriate for your program of study and educational goals.  Otherwise, you may find that a course does not meet the requirements and cannot be applied toward the program’s credential.

You must provide your own funding, as the MLA National Certificate program is not eligible for full- or part-time loan or grant funding through the Canada Student Loan programs. However, funding may be available through other government or private sources.


Please see Frequently Asked Questions for more about the MLA National Certificate program and the MLA profession. Also, contact the Program Administrator, Science to apply to this program or with questions about it.

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