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Non-academic standards, qualities expected by employers and working conditions

1. Non-academic standards

Biomedical laboratory technologists are uniquely qualified to work in medical laboratories, and, as such, are an integral part of the medical team. As a biomedical laboratory technologist you will be required to analyze specimens quickly and accurately, in order to provide physicians with information essential for patient care. Due to the critical nature of the profession, students in the Biomedical Laboratory Technology program are expected to meet a number of non-academic standards. These standards are essential not only for completion of the Biomedical Laboratory Technology DEC, but also for future employability.

The non-academic standards that students are expected to meet are described below. These standards are based on information contained in the Rapport d’analyse de profession for Technologiste médicale ou technologiste médical (technicienne ou technicien de laboratoire médical), produced by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (2011).

If you are not sure that you will be able to meet these essential requirements, please consult the Program Coordinator to discuss your individual situation.

Non-academic standards that students are expected to meet in order to practice the profession


  • sufficient endurance to work while standing or sitting for extensive periods
  • sufficient endurance to perform a large number of successive analyses
  • sufficient fine motor dexterity to perform repetitive and precise manipulation using manual techniques  (i.e. good eye hand coordination)
  • ability to differentiate colors, and distinguish between clear and cloudy

Intellectual and behavioral:

  • ability to manage time and prioritize work
  • ability to work under pressure quickly and accurately to complete tasks within pre-established time constraints
  • ability to make decisions and exercise proper judgment in complex situations (for example: validate results, detect errors and carry out quality control)
  • strong work ethic, intellectual curiosity and intuition
  • ability and willingness to adapt to changing technologies and to update knowledge when necessary (adaptation to professional and technical change, including pursuit of continuing education as required by the OPTMQ)

Interpersonal: ability to work with other medical technologists and health care professionals

  • ability to work with different people, in different situations, and as part of a team
  • tolerance for different behaviors and ways of doing things
  • open to criticism (accepts constructive criticism and looks for ways to improve)
  • good communication skills (ability to communicate with other professionals and co-workers as well as patients)

Interpersonal: contact with patients (while procuring specimens):

  • ability to listen, sense non-verbal reactions and  discern psychological state
  • show discretion (maintain patient confidentiality)
  • maintain a professional relationship
  • display respect and willingness to help


  • behave and dress in an appropriate manner
  • manage stress inherent to the profession
  • recognize one’s physical and intellectual limits (be able to admit that a task is beyond your abilities, or that you do not know the answer to a question)
  • display honesty, especially in relation to acknowledging errors

2. Qualities expected by employers

When you apply for a job as a biomedical laboratory technologist, your employer will be looking for qualities beyond good grades. Some of these qualities, according to the Rapport d’analyse de profession for Technologiste médicale ou technologiste médical (technicienne ou technicien de laboratoire médical), produced by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (2011), are:

  • ability to work in many sectors/disciplines (polyvalent)
  • willingness to work in different shifts
  • open minded with good interpersonal skills
  • ability to work in teams
  • autonomous and dynamic
  • shows initiative and is resourceful
  • careful/vigilant (pays attention to detail)
  • good critical thinking skills and good judgment
  • dexterity
  • ability to work quickly (manage time and prioritize work, maintain a work pace appropriate to a given workload, work quickly and accurately in stressful situations)

3. Working conditions

Work hours

Biomedical laboratory technologists are an essential part of the medical team. In a hospital setting medical laboratories run 24 hours a day. Biomedical laboratory technologists therefore work day, evening and night shifts during the week and on weekends.The workweek is normally 35 hours.

Health and safety issues in the workplace

There are a number of workplace risks inherent to medical laboratories. Biomedical laboratory technologists must have the ability to recognize potentially hazardous materials, equipment and situations, and to take the appropriate steps to minimize risk.

Workplace risks include:

  • injuries such as cuts, needle stick injuries, and chaffing/cracks from constant hand washing
  • back aches
  • risk of contamination from contact with infectious agents
  • lesions from contact with chemical and biological products (exposure to strong chemicals, biological hazards)
  • respiratory problems, allergies and dermatitis caused by wearing gloves or contact with certain products, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome

Challenging and stressful situations

The work that you will do as a biomedical laboratory technologist will have a direct impact on patient care, and you may sometimes have to work under non-ideal conditions. As a result you will likely encounter challenging and stressful situations, for example:

  • having to work quickly and accurately in order to make decisions that directly affect the diagnosis and treatment of disease
  • working in time critical emergency situations
  • high work volume
  • non-ideal working conditions including: noise, distractions, staffing shortages, equipment malfunctions, new demands
  • having to provide professional and technical services while experiencing the stresses of task-related uncertainty (i.e. ambiguous test orders, equivocal test results), emergent demands (i.e. STAT test orders), and a distracting environment (i.e. high noise levels, crowding, complex visual stimuli).

Last Modified: April 8, 2015