New language policy fast-tracks route to Canadian certification for internationally-educated lab technologists

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jul 3 13:35:40 UTC 2008

New language policy fast-tracks route to Canadian certification for
internationally-educated lab technologists

    HAMILTON, ON, July 2 /CNW/ - The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory
Science (CSMLS) has implemented a new language proficiency policy that will
fast-track the route to Canadian certification for internationally-educated
medical laboratory technologists (MLTs).

    In order to apply to write the CSMLS national certification examination,
internationally-educated MLTs must establish eligibility through a process
called Prior Learning Assessment. Before the new policy, applicants had to
achieve a score of Canadian Language Benchmark 8 (CLB 8) on a language
proficiency test before they could apply for Prior Learning Assessment.
Language proficiency tests measure English language skills in reading,
writing, speaking and listening.

    The new policy, which takes effect on July 1, 2008 adopts a two-stage
language proficiency standard. Internationally-educated MLTs will be able to
apply for Prior Learning Assessment at CLB 6 - a final score of CLB 8 will
still be required to establish eligibility to write the national certification

    A recently completed research study conducted by CSMLS and funded by the
Government of Ontario recommended implementing a two-stage language standard
to increase access to the Prior Learning Assessment process. The study
determined that while CLB 8 is an appropriate standard to write the
certification exam and is necessary for successful integration in the Canadian
workplace, CLB 6 was sufficient to start the Prior Learning Assessment

    "Adopting a two-stage language standard provides several advantages to
our internationally-educated clients. They will be able to start the PLA
process sooner and depending upon the outcome of the assessment, they will
have an opportunity to upgrade their language skills before writing the exam,"
says CSMLS Director of Certification Christine Nielsen.

    Completion of a CSMLS Prior Learning Assessment is a common requirement
for admission into 'bridging programs' - education programs that bridge gaps
in clinical and technical experience. "Enabling our clients to start the PLA
process sooner will help reduce barriers to admission to bridging programs for
those who require upgrading to bring themselves to the Canadian standard,"
says Ms. Nielsen.

    CSMLS is the national certifying body for medical laboratory
technologists and medical laboratory assistants. Four hundred and seventy-one
internationally-educated medical laboratory technologists have been certified
by CSMLS since 2000. In 2007, CSMLS completed 310 prior learning assessments.
    Detailed information about how to become certified as a medical
laboratory technologist in Canada is available on the CSMLS website,

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