Term 1: Becoming MLT

For those readers who know, I am currently pursuing a career as a Medical Laboratory Technologist or Clinical Laboratory Scientist. I posted an general outline regarding this career – click here to be referred to that post.

I have just completed my Term 1 of Year 1 on becoming an MLT. There are lots of experiences to share – but I will try to best to break up to make it easy to read.

Here are some quick breakdowns:

  • Average age of the program is around 24-25; ranging from 19-29
  • 48% Males | 52% Females
  • More interactions with Professors
  • Content Difficulty: Average
  • Application-based and Critical Thinking-based

Get Ready with Me: Day to Week to Month
The program requires a strong commitment; the curriculum are made up of lectures, labs, assignments and midterms.
A typical week reminds me of what full-time work is: Monday to Friday | 9AM – 5PM | +/- commute time
However, I think it is more difficult because within those hours – you are learning new materials and once you get home; in order to stay on top of the material – constant studying and ‘homework’ needs to be done.
Like any school program, there will be weeks where there are less things to do but there are also certain weeks that is just packed with assessments. What makes this program more difficult is that within those weeks of multiple assessments (assignments, tests); practical assessments are also performed within those weeks.

Is it possible to have a job while being in this program?  No. but you can try.
Majority of the individuals in my program are not working but their are a few that have part-time jobs or casual positions. Those who do have jobs live in the area, and do find that it is very energy-draining. It is a double ended sword – it is great to make money but you risk falling behind in school, added pressure of not understanding material.

How was the environment different than that of University?
It is clear that an advanced diploma program from a college or institution (that is not an university) is industrialized. What I mean is that in university there was a sense of youth of free spirit and fun. In this program, it does not feel like school (other than the tests and exams) but it feels more like a training program.

‘The company that you are working for needs you to pass this training program’

I think the students in this program is similar to University with a touch of maturity. As they are older, there is a sense of maturity and focus – everyone wants to learn and be ready for the work force. It is not that much different than your average work or school politics.

In the hematology department, automated systems are used - but traditional preparation of peripheral blood smears were learned. Disclaimer: stimulated patient's blood Property of Hemtecks

In the hematology department, automated systems are used – but traditional preparation of peripheral blood smears were learned. Disclaimer: stimulated patient’s blood Property of Hemtecks

Course Material & Teaching Environment
People come from different undergraduate backgrounds and so a biochemistry undergraduate will have a stronger understanding in clinical chemistry than someone who did physiology who will have a stronger histology understanding.  All in all the content of the material is not extremely difficult – the material is straight – forward and requires either constant reviewing or practice. The teaching environment is very hands-on; professors are willing to help you understand and learn. There are many assessments in each course that allows room for improvement. Compared to university – you only have your passing mark banked on a midterm and final exam. There was never a time during the term where I thought I would not pass the course – which is a good sign.

Overall Experience of T1
I really enjoy this program – although I didn’t expect it to require me to live and breathe this program. There are weeks that is extremely exhausting but I wouldn’t change it one bit. Well one thing, my appearance (pimples, eyebags) could have greatly improved. It is tough but its preparing me for the workforce – in hospitals, MLTs is shift works as lab are 24 hours. In terms of course materials, there are certain disciplines where I am stronger and more passionate about but I have also appreciated my least favourite ones. Next term, will be more challenging as there are more labs and the amount of critical thinking required for us to apply will be greater. Let’s hope I make it to the end of T2.

Thanks for reading!


One thought on “Term 1: Becoming MLT

  1. rchemtecks says:

    The great thing about these diploma programs is (as you said) that they include a lot of work that is very hands-on and straightforward, and thus, will prepare you appropriately in the MLT field. Too bad universities don’t necessarily have too many hands-on opportunities for their undergraduate students like those that are offered in these programs (at least in my major), which are great skills to have developed by the time one graduates, to prepare them either for future higher education (i.e. graduate school) or right into the workforce.

    All the best to you and your future career endeavours towards an MLT, smahemtecks!


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