School of Health

Medical Laboratory Assistant Diploma Program

Medical Laboratory Assistants play an essential role in hospitals, private and public health laboratories, clinics, research laboratories, commercial diagnostic supply companies and insurance companies.

Program Delivery


Program Overview

Learn how to safely collect and receive blood, tissue, and other samples from patients in the Medical Laboratory Assistant diploma program for International students at Robertson College.  As well, you will learn how to log samples and prepare them for testing, perform routine tests and sample analyses, and set up, clean, sterilize and maintain laboratories and equipment. 

The Medical Laboratory Assistant program is committed to:

  • Graduating students who are able to pursue a career in the rapidly growing field of Medical Lab Assistants
  • Providing a quality Medical Laboratory Assistant program that aligns with the existing Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) competencies
  • Preparing graduates to successfully pass the CSMLS Examination
  • Preparing graduates to find successful employment in hospitals, clinics, and private labs
  • Encouraging graduates to recognize the need for continuing education and professional affiliation

Robertson is proud to work in partnership with Shared Health to help meet the labour market need for certified Medical Laboratory Assistants in Manitoba. Robertson College has been designated the official testing center for the Canadian Phlebotomy Technicians Group Inc. The CPTG is the certifying body of Phlebotomy across Canada. Robertson MLA program students are eligible to write the CPTG certification exam to become certified Phlebotomy Technicians prior to graduation.

Program Delivery

International Learning

  • This program is delivered through our downtown Winnipeg campus, central to everything you need.
  • Study and collaborate with your peers on campus, with instructor support along the way.
  • Get additional support from the International Student Services Team during your time in Winnipeg.

Visit our International Students page to learn more about enroling at our Winnipeg campus.

Program Details

Quick Facts



44 Weeks (11 Months)



5 Days a Week

Admission Requirements

The MLA program has criteria by which all applicants are evaluated against for admission into the program. Students must meet all criteria in order to be admitted into the program.

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Minimum grade of 50% in Grade 12 Mathematics and English
  • Minimum grade of 50% in Grade 11 or 12 Biology OR Grade 11 or 12 Chemistry as verified by transcript. Students who do not meet the science requirement must achieve a minimum of 70% in Robertson’s Biology Assessment.
  • English Language Proficiency*
  • Clear Criminal Record Check
  • Successful interview with a Robertson Student Admissions Advisor

*English Language Requirement

For applicants whose first language is not English or for International Student Admission, proof of English proficiency is required. Completion of one of the following tests are accepted. The scores required are as listed.

  • IELTs 6.0 (no subscore lower than 6.0)
  • TOEFL 68 (no score lower than Listening 17, Speaking 16, Reading 18, Writing 18)


Please contact our International Admissions team for more information regarding admission requirements.  


Contact Admissions





The MLA program is accredited and graduates are eligible to write the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) Medical Laboratory Assistant certification exam.
Canadian Phlebotomy Technicians Group Inc.
Robertson College has been designated the official testing center for the Canadian Phlebotomy Technicians Group Inc. The CPTG is the certifying body of Phlebotomy across Canada.

Shared Health

Robertson is proud to work in partnership with Shared Health to help meet the labour market need for certified Medical Laboratory Assistants in Manitoba.

Career Opportunities

Many employment opportunities exist for Medical Laboratory Assistants in private laboratories, hospitals, community health clinics, public health facilities, university research labs, biotechnology companies, insurance companies and specialty labs (such as in vitro fertilization) labs. (Source: CSMLS Alt Careers)

Graduates can pursue careers as:

  • Medical Laboratory (Lab) Assistants
  • Lab Workers
  • Phlebotomists
  • Lab Assistants

Future job prospects are projected to be strong throughout Canada over the next 3 years, according to Canada Job Bank. This is applicable for all medical laboratory professionals (NOC 3212). 

Job prospects for NOC 3212 have been greatly impacted since 2019. Job posting analytics data from EMSI show a steady posting frequency, illustrating that employers are putting consistent effort into hiring for these positions as compared to other occupations.

Experienced medical lab assistants may move into related laboratory careers such as Medical Laboratory Technicians or in laboratories run by industrial or manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical companies, veterinary companies or in government.

You could be earning in less than a year

Lifetime Career Services

Even though you will leave Robertson once you graduate, we will support you throughout your career. Our team will help you with resume building, job hunting and interview preparation and will continue to guide you as you advance in your role. Before you graduate, you’ll be paired with a career specialist in your field who will help you find a meaningful place to start your career.

As a graduate, if you choose to stay in Canada, you will have lifelong access to student services that are committed to your success and helping you thrive.

Learn more about Lifetime Career Services.

Next Start Dates

January 30, 2023
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April 24, 2023
Apply Today

New start dates are being released all the time. Contact us for more dates.

Topics of Study

Laboratory Office Procedures - 24 hours

Reviews basic medical laboratory administration skills, including communication skills needed in a culturally diverse workforce; communication process and its elements; ways to improve listening skills; developing effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills and using workplace collaboration tools such as e-mail and fax machines. Students also learn about patient data, entry test requisitioning, results retrieval and laboratory reports using a computerized system.

Introduction to Medical Technology - 48 hours

Introduces students to medical technology within the healthcare field, including required knowledge and skills; professional associations; the certification process and career opportunities; medical legalities, terminology, specialties and ethics; communicating effectively with patients and colleagues in a multicultural environment and medical asepsis.

Clinical Laboratory Basics - 112 hours

Reviews the basic information needed to work in any medical lab environment. The unit is divided into 3 major topic areas – laboratory safety including WHMIS and TDG; laboratory mathematics and quality control; and laboratory instruments and equipment.

Anatomy and Physiology - 100 hours

Introduces students to the basic concepts of medical terminology, physiology, and pathophysiology of the human body as well as common drug therapeutic classifications and common laboratory procedures.

Clinical Chemistry and Pharmacology - 48 hours

Examines the plasma components in peripheral blood and describes their function and significance. Students learn to describe the proper specimen collection for various chemistry tests; explain the basic principles of glucose and fat metabolism; match various chemistry panels with tests performed and identify the reason why each panel is ordered. This course also covers how to identify and inform physicians when laboratory results show chemistry values out of the expected range.

MLA Techniques I - 124 hours

Examines the following subject areas; guidelines for patient preparation, including collecting, handling and transporting specimens; collection requirements of blood specimens by venipuncture and capillary puncture; serum and plasma separation; collection of non-blood specimens; and collection of urine specimen and analysis. This course also includes practical laboratory sessions.

MLA Techniques II - 124 hours

Provides a thorough study of the following subject areas: the heart and the circulatory system; basic electrocardiography; the respiratory system and related diagnostic tests; pulmonary function testing; the lymphatic system; immunology and associated slide agglutination tests and basic microbiology
theory and procedures. This course includes practical laboratory sessions where students apply a hands-on approach.

MLA Techniques III - 92 hours

Examines the fundamentals of anatomical pathology (cytology and histology). This course also includes practical laboratory sessions where students practice all skills learned to date. The purpose of these labs is to ensure that the MLA skill base remains current.

Computer Fundamentals - 25 hours

Provides a basic understanding of common computer applications and keyboarding skills as well as an introduction to the Windows operating system. Office applications include spreadsheets, presentations, emails, online research and general management of files and folders.

CPR / First Aid - 10 hours

As a part of this program, students attain First Aid/CPR certification.

Employment & Career Management - 25 hours

Provides guidance in preparing for a job interview, including preparation of a resume and cover letter, as well as job-hunting and interview techniques and assessing strengths and weaknesses.

Practicum - 6 weeks

The practicum is a full time, unpaid committment that is an essential part of a learner’s program. It is both a graduation requirement and an extension of in-class learning.  The practicum provides learners with the opportunity to apply the skills, theories, and concepts that they learned in  classes within a lab setting.

Robertson works in collaboration with partners such as Dynacare and Shared Health to provide an enriching practicum experience. Students will be assigned to a host site arranged by Robertson.

Learning Experience

Have the flexibility to live your life while going to school with our half-day classes. Our flexible start dates and small class sizes give you plenty of opportunities to learn when it’s best for you and gain the hands-on skills to succeed in any industry.

Industry-Leading Instructors
Learn from industry professionals who bring real-life experience into the classroom. You can book office hours or get virtual support from your instructors through Brightspace, where you can schedule video appointments and use instant messenger to ask questions.

Lifelong Career Services
Connect with a career specialist in your field who will help you find a meaningful place to start your career. As a graduate, you’ll have lifelong access to student services that will help you with resume building, interview preparation and networking.

Online Application

Start your application now as an International Student by ensuring you meet the admission requirements for this program and ensuring you have everything you need  to apply.

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If you require assistance or have questions, please the form below to connect with a Student Admissions Advisor.

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Program Availability

This program is neither available on campus or via Robertson Online.

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