Thompson Rivers University, Vancouver Community College and SAIT Polytechnic offer medical lab assistant courses in Canada. The courses offered by these schools differ in their length, structure, and requirements, but in each variant, students learn how to collect, process and perform tests on biological materials such as blood.
MLA courses are only offered by Canadian universities; in American English the equivalent job title would be "clinical laboratory assistant. Thompson Rivers University's medical lab assistant course is an online course equivalent to between 20 and 24 weeks of study. Students take the majority of the course online, attend a five-day workshop and visit a participating hospital or clinical laboratory to complete the necessary practicum. Students are required to complete the course within two years of beginning it; Thompson Rivers University does not grant course extensions for its online MLA certification course.
Vancouver Community College offers a six-month full-time medical lab assistant course between the months of May and September of each year. Students that successfully complete the course obtain an certificate that shows the student meets the entry-level MLA competencies set forth by the British Columbia Society of Laboratory Science.
At SAIT Polytechnic, students can engage in a twelve-week classroom instruction program followed by a seven-week practicum. Students begin the practicum segment in a simulated laboratory environment, but finish in a clinical laboratory.