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CSMLS to help foreign trained lab professionals find work


Hamilton, ON – The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) says it has completed research aimed at helping foreign trained medical lab professionals find meaningful employment in cases where successfully attaining a license to practice in Canada is unlikely or will be a very lengthy process. The result of this research is a new website, altcareers.csmls.org, which provides information on alternate or interim careers that make use of the foreign trained professionals’ skills and abilities.

The organization says it receives over 100 applications a year from internationally educated laboratory technologists seeking licensure in Canada. It provides a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) service, which evaluates an applicant’s education and experience and compares it to the Canadian standard. Applicants that meet the standard and those who complete learning plans to address gaps identified by the PLA are eligible to write the CSMLS National Certification Examination, which is generally required to obtain a license and practice in Canada, with the exception of Quebec.

However, in many cases the gap between the applicant’s education and experience and the Canadian standard is too great. All too often, these applicants end up in a long, drawn out process, failing to meet Canadian standards. This costs these applicants significant amounts of time and money with only a faint hope of success.

A recent analysis showed that only 37% of individuals who begin the PLA process are successful in passing the Canadian certification exam. The other 63%, as well as those who never even begin the process, stand to benefit from considering alternate career options.

“We can tell early on in the process whether the road to Canadian certification for an applicant will be virtually impassable,” says Christine Nielsen, CSMLS’s chief executive officer. “Counselling applicants on alternate careers can make good use of their existing experience and help them find meaningful and gainful employment in Canada.”

The 18-month research project, funded by Health Canada, resulted in the development of the new website, which is designed to be a resource to internationally educated lab professionals who may wish to consider alternate career options while they are in the process of becoming a certified MLT or as a permanent career option.

The alternate careers included on this site were selected based on their use of similar knowledge, skills and qualifications of MLTs. Significant research was undertaken to compare the MLT core competencies and essential skills with over 40,000 national occupation codes. Users will find information on each alternate career including the type of work environment, required qualifications, employers’ expectation of communication skills, average wages, and opportunities for advancement. The site also contains information on starting a job search.

The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science is the national certifying body for medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants, and the national professional society for Canada’s medical laboratory professionals.