Unit Group

3211 Medical Laboratory Technologists and Pathologists' Assistants

Medical laboratory technologists conduct medical laboratory tests, experiments and analyses to assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. They are employed in medical laboratories in hospitals, private clinics, research institutions and universities. Pathologists' assistants assist at autopsies and examinations of surgical specimens or perform autopsies under a pathologist's supervision. They are usually employed in hospitals. Medical laboratory technologists who are also supervisors are included in this unit group.

Example Titles

  • clinical immunology technologist
  • cytogenetics technologist – medical laboratory
  • histology technologist
  • immunohematology technologist
  • medical laboratory supervisor
  • medical laboratory technologist
  • medical technologist – medical laboratory
  • pathology assistant
View all titles

Main duties

Medical laboratory technologists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Conduct chemical analyses of blood, urine, and cerebro-spinal and other body fluids
  • Study blood cells and other tissues to determine their relation to various physiological and pathological conditions
  • Prepare tissue sections for microscopic examinations using techniques to demonstrate special cellular tissue elements or other characteristics
  • Establish procedures for the analysis of specimens and for medical laboratory experiments
  • Perform blood group, type and compatibility tests for transfusion purposes
  • May supervise and train other medical laboratory technical staff, students and helpers
  • May perform the duties of a pathologist's assistant in some hospitals.

Pathologists' assistants perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Prepare for autopsies by obtaining patients' medical records and arranging for radiographic examinations
  • Assist with or perform autopsies and surgical specimen examinations under pathologists' supervision
  • Dissect, examine, weigh and photograph organs and specimens, collect tissue specimens for chemical analysis and record findings
  • May prepare bodies for release to funeral homes following completion of autopsies
  • May train junior resident pathologists and train and supervise morgue attendants
  • May perform the duties of a medical laboratory technologist in some hospitals.
Medical laboratory technologists may specialize in areas such as clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, histotechnology, immunohematology and cytotechnology.

Employment requirements

  • Medical laboratory technologists require a bachelor of science or medical laboratory science degree
    A two- or three-year college program in medical laboratory technology
    A period of supervised practical training.
  • Registration with a regulatory body is required in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
  • Certification by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science is available for medical laboratory technologists and is usually required by employers.
  • Pathologists' assistants require a bachelor of science degree
    Training and experience as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or medical laboratory technologist
    Specialized on-the-job training.
  • Certification by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science may be required for pathologists' assistants.

Classified elsewhere

  • Medical Laboratory Technicians (3212)
  • Physical and life science technologists in non-medical laboratories (in 222 Technical Occupations in Life Sciences )
  • Physical and life science technologists in non-medical laboratories (in 221 Technical Occupations in Physical Sciences )