BCIT celebrates National Medical Laboratory Week

BCIT joins medical laboratory professionals across Canada to celebrate National Medical Laboratory Week from April 11 to 17. During this week, multiple landmarks across Canada are lit up in indigo to celebrate medical laboratory professionals who often working behind the scenes to provide accurate and timely laboratory test results – including COVID-19 testing – to ensure doctors are able to make critical medical decisions that impact patient health. With approximately 1.2 million laboratory tests performed every day in Canada, each test is to be done by a qualified and skilled medical laboratory professional. There continues to be a demand for medical laboratory technologists and the BCIT Medical Laboratory Science program plays a large role in training the next generation of professionals to fulfill these jobs.

Our program graduates 80 students into the field of medical laboratory each year. We are proud to support every student’s journey to be a medical lab professional. Thank you to all our students, alumni, and colleagues for your unwavering compassion and commitment in providing Canadians with a high standard of care during the COVID-19 pandemic and each and every day” said Andre Caron, Program Head, BCIT Medical Laboratory Science program.

As the largest program of its kind in Canada – training 80% of British Columbia’s medical laboratory technologists – the BCIT Medical Laboratory Science program has one of the highest passing rates in the county. Graduates are known to be well-prepared and highly-skilled to support the healthcare system from day one. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, BCIT Medical Laboratory Science graduates have performed critical COVID-19 testing while students continued their clinical practicums with strict safety protocols and guidelines in place.

How do I become a medical laboratory technologist?

The role of a medical laboratory technologist is to analyze tissue samples, blood, and other body fluids. These laboratory results provide doctors with information for diagnosis and treatment. There are three medical laboratory technologist designations: General, Clinical Genetics, and Diagnostic Cytology.

At BCIT, the Medical Laboratory Science program provides theoretical, practical, and clinical learning experiences for students. Curriculum  is based on the state of practice in the BC medical laboratory community and on competencies established by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). Students are assigned to a clinical placement located in a variety of accredited laboratories throughout BC, including the Fraser Health Authority, Interior Health Authority, LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services, Providence Health Authority, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, and Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Graduates of the BCIT Medical Laboratory Science program are eligible to write the Canadian Society of Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) certification exam. Successful completion of the certification exam enables them to practice medical laboratory technology across Canada – most BCIT students find work within two months of graduation.

Many BCIT graduates start their careers in hospitals and private clinics, working in core labs performing high value, automated testing. The job of a medical laboratory technologist is one that requires precision, technical skills, and analytical thinking.

Other career opportunities for graduates may include those in research and development, pharmaceutical supply houses, and sales represented for private companies.

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Thank you to all medical laboratory science professionals for your contributions to the healthcare system. To learn more about the BCIT Medical Laboratory Science program, join School of Health Sciences in an online information session on June 15 at 12 pm.

(Note: The photo included at the top of this story was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

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