The Biomedical Laboratory Technology program is a three-year program designed to give students the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of a medical technologist. As healthcare professionals, medical technologists contribute to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease by providing laboratory services to physicians and other clients.
This rewarding career allows conscientious students to work in a large variety of laboratories encompassing six major medical specialties: hematology and hemostasis, the study of blood and blood coagulation; clinical biochemistry, the study of body functions; histology, the study of body tissues; clinical microbiology, the study of microorganisms; and transfusion science, the study of blood transfusions. Students are also trained in other emerging areas that are growing in importance, such as molecular biology (DNA technologies) and immunology.
Technologists use highly specialized instruments and techniques to analyze body tissues and fluids and identify microorganisms to help in the diagnosis of patients’ diseases and in research into medical conditions and treatments. Their broad based training prepares them to be able to work in many different venues including clinical, research and pharmaceutical settings. Plus, students develop interpersonal skills that allow them to interact as team members and communicate with patients during the procurement of laboratory specimens.
In the first and second years, students acquire a broad theoretical knowledge in the classroom and complement this knowledge with specific skills developed and practiced in the laboratory component of their courses in the College. In the third year, students continue with on-the-job training while they intern full time for 26 weeks in accredited hospitals and rotate through the major clinical laboratories.
Graduates of the program can become nationally certified, upon successfully passing the certification examinations of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS). As well, graduating students can join the Ordre Professionnel des Technologistes Médicaux du Québec (OPTMQ). For American certification, graduating students may write the exams for the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) or the National Certification Agency (NCA) for Medical Laboratory Personnel.
Some important points about the Program:
National Recognition and Mobility: Graduates can become certified nationally, which means that they can work anywhere in Canada as a medical technologist.
Summer Employment: In the summer between the second and third year, students can experience the workplace and get jobs working in hospital clinical labs.
Procurement (Blood-taking) Internship at the end of second year: Students learn the techniques of taking blood specimens from patients in an intensive internship in the hospital at the end of the second year, which helps to prepare them for summer employment in the hospital labs.
On-line Pharmacology Course: The Pharmacology course in the third year is given “on-line”, while students are in their internship.
Seminar course in third year: A Seminar course in third year covers new competencies in the profession, such as critical thinking, research skills, and management, using interactive methods to explore areas of professional ethics, team building, communication and professionalism.
Jobs: A multitude of jobs exist in both the public sector (clinical diagnostic labs) as well as in the private sector (pharmaceutical labs, biotechnology labs, research labs, private labs, government labs). There is a critical demand which will increase as many medical technologists are expected to retire over the next 5 to 10 years.
University Programs: Graduates can continue their education and obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Many universities across Canada accept Biomedical Laboratory Technology Program graduates into their degree programs. In some cases, advance credit is given to students for their DEC. Also, many programs now offer their courses “on-line”, which means you can take them while working here in Montreal.
The broad training in many specialties results in very good employment opportunities locally and all over Canada. Many jobs are available in hospitals, research centres, clinics and private laboratories. Other areas in which there are a growing number of employment opportunities include pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology research laboratories.
Objectives of Program
Upon completion of the program, the graduate will have acquired the professional knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to fulfill the job requirements of an entry-level medical laboratory technologist in a clinical diagnostic laboratory. Specifically, graduates will be able to:
- procure specimens from a variety of sources
- perform a broad spectrum of laboratory analyses in different laboratory environments (clinical, research, point-of-care)
- perform delegated acts according to the regulations governing the profession
- use knowledge, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
- apply health and safety practices to protect themselves, patients, co-workers and the environment
- interact and communicate effectively and professionally, both orally and in writing
- demonstrate attitudes and ethical behaviour essential to professional practice that promote excellence in healthcare and maintain principles of quality assurance
- transfer acquired skills and knowledge across disciplines
Dr. Julie St. Cyr, Pathologist / Director of Biochemistry, St. Mary's Hospital Centre
Dr. George Chong, Molecular Genetics, Department of Pathology, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital
Dr. Yury Monczak, Molecular Genetics, Department of Pathology, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital
Ms. Kalyani Desai, Coordinator of Clinical Laboratories, McGill University Health Center
Dr. Jane McDonald, Director of Microbiology, Montreal Children’s Hospital (MUHC)
Ms. Regina Zver, Chef de service de laboratoire biomedical, St. Mary’s Hospital Centre
Ms. Gale Stratton, Chief Technologist, Transfusion Service, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital
Mr. Ray Bourgeois, Dean of Science, Medical Studies & Engineering, Dawson College
Chairperson, Dawson College Biomedical Laboratory Technology Program
The Biomedical Laboratory Technology Program is accredited by the Canadian Medical Association through the Conjoint Accreditation Services. The accreditation process strives for high quality patient care throughout Canada by maintaining national educational standards for designated health professionals. This process ensures that the Biomedical Laboratory Technology Program at Dawson College adheres to national standards through a periodic assessment of the quality of the training and the competence of its graduates.
Ordre professionnel des technologistes medicaux du Quebec:
Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science:
McGill University Health Center
-Montreal General Hospital
-Royal Victoria Hospital
-Montreal Children's Hospital
-Montreal Neurological Hospital
Jewish General Hospital
St. Mary's Hospital Centre
Lakeshore General Hospital
Health and Safety
As health care professionals, medical technologists have a professional responsibility to follow the protocol established by the Department of Public Health for health care workers regarding the prevention of infections. The protocol includes recommendations for immunization against transmissible infections as well screening for tuberculosis. This protocol is extended to students interning in a health care establishment. Information is given to students at the time of their admission into the Program. These vaccinations are provided free of charge by the CLSC for students in health care fields.
As well, students will be handling potentially infectious materials during the course of the program and throughout their career. Although not compulsory, students should be immunized against Hepatitis B. This is also free of charge through the CLSC.
There may be some health related conditions that may have an impact on, or possibly prevent, future employment in this profession. It is important for students to discuss this with their doctor before beginning the program.
Any student who becomes pregnant during the course of the program should inform the program coordinator/chairperson. According to Program policy, there may be some lab activities or courses which pregnant students should avoid for their own safety.
Language Skills: English and French
The ability to communicate both orally and in writing in both English and French are essential skills for students and future health professionals. All students are required to pass an English Exit Exam as a DEC requirement. As well, students who have been educated outside of Quebec will have to pass a French exam by l’Office de la langue française in order to become a member of the professional order and to be eligible to work as a medical technologist in the province of Quebec. Students who have placed below the College level in either French or English must take additional non-credit courses in order to upgrade their language skills before taking any credit courses.
Tuition is free for Canadian citizens or landed immigrants with permanent residence in Quebec taking at least four courses per semester. A non-refundable $30.00 application fee and about $200.00 in student fees are charged. Books and supplies cost between $400.00 and $600.00 per year. Student membership with the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is $75.00 and l'Ordre professionnel des technologistes médicaux du Québec is approximately $60.00 The fee to write the General Certification exam of the CSMLS upon completion of the Program is $499.00.
Financial aid is available; contact (514) 931-8731 ext. 1186 for more information. All fees are subject to change without notice.