Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Medical Laboratory Assistant Certificate

Interested in a career in health care? The Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) Certificate program can help you get there.

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

If you are a student in BC, AB or SK please choose this program, rather than the MLA National Certificate program. If you are unsure of which one to choose, contact the Program Administrator, Science.

In the MLA Certificate program, you are trained to perform the practical components of collecting, sorting and preparing patient samples for further testing and analysis. The majority of this training is completed online, so you can study at a time and place that works for you.

The program consists of five theory courses, a five-day workshop and a clinical practicum, conducted in a hospital or laboratory under criteria developed by TRU. Combined, these provide the theory and skills required for you to function as an MLA.

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


This program can lead to rewarding employment in a health care setting.

As a MLA, you will collect patient samples in a variety of settings, including:

  • Canadian blood services
  • Community health clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Insurance companies
  • Private labs

 Program Requirements

When applying to this program, please complete a Program Admission Form.

Admission Requirements

Certain admission requirements may be waived upon permission from the Academic Director or 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)
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); see the Workshop Schedule
MDLB 1721, Laboratory Practicum - Evaluation of Competencies (3)

Optional Course

MDLB 1611, Pre-Analytical Procedures for Histopathology (3)

Student Responsibility

It is your responsibility to determine if current employment trends in your region meet your needs and, in most areas, to locate and arrange for your clinical practicum placement. However, make sure that you contact the Program Administrator, Science, before you begin to arrange this placement.

Consult with your Program Advisor to ensure that the courses you select are appropriate for your program of study and educational goals. If you proceed otherwise, you may find that a course does not meet program requirements and its credits may not applied toward your chosen credential, or you may be required to pay an additional transcript assessment fee.

TRU provides liability coverage for students on unpaid practicum placements. Note that workplace safety insurance varies by province/territory. If you are a non-BC student, check regarding this coverage in your home province/territory.


Please see Tuition and Fees for details.

 Contact Us

See Frequently Asked Questions about the MLA Certificate program and the profession. Or contact the Program Administrator, Science.

You can also contact Enrolment Services.