Nova Scotia College of Medical Laboratory Technologists

New Cytology Competencies

In the Fall of 2014 the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Sciences (CSMLS) and the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) endorsed new competencies for the cytology program which includes histology, limited pathology assistant duties and molecular competencies. As of 2015, the cytology student will be educated in the new competencies and the first graduates will be in 2017. These graduates will be licensed to work in cytology, histology and molecular.

NSCMLT created a working committee of stakeholders including educators from the histology, molecular and cytology programs, and supervisors from the histology and cytology labs. A review of the current and new competencies was undertaken to understand what requirements the current cytotechnologists in the workplace would require to work competently. NSCMLT believes all MLTs should embrace the opportunity to further advance their practice.


NSCMLT requires the cytotechnologist in the current workplace to have an educational and practical component for histology and or molecular to obtain a practising license in these disciplines.

This is an optional certification and it is important to note that NSCMLT is not stating the employer is required to provide the practicum, but is stating the requirements the cytotechnologist must meet to become licensed in histology and or molecular. Not every employer may have the resources to provide a clinical practicum and not every cytotechnologist may want to complete certification in histology and or molecular.

To perform the competencies without supervision the technologist and the pathologist/employer must sign a document that includes all competencies that the technologist have met to perform.


NSCMLT requires the cytotechnologist to complete a histology course and Anatomical Pathology MIS Grossing Guidelines 0-3. These courses provide in-depth knowledge to work in histology.

If the technologist wish to perform grossing at a Pathology Assistant level beyond simple submissions they will be required to complete.

ML818 Anatomical Pathology MIS Grossing Guidelines 0-3 Online Michener
ML819 Anatomical Pathology MIS Grossing Guideliens 4-5 Online Michener

If the Cyto-technoloigst wishes to perform histology duties only they will be required to complete the following:

HI901-1 Tutorial in Histology Online Michener
PHIS1074 Histology Online NBCC

Please contact NSCMLT if you are considering an alternate histology course for pre approval. Failure to have pre approval may result in not meeting the requirements for licensing in histology.

A practicum component is also required. Please contact your lab manager for approval to complete a practicum.


NSCMLT requires the cytotechnologist to complete a molecular course and the technologist and the pathologist must sign a document that includes all competencies that have been met to perform.

MB800 Basic Molecular Theory Online Michener
MB801 Basic Molecular Techniques Online Michener

Process for Certification

To begin the process please contact CSMLS to submit a prior learning assessment (PLA) application and Professional liability insurance (PLI) application. CSMLS will provide a personal competency rating booklet and an employer self directed competency bridging sign off booklet.

You may then sign up for one of the above pre-approved histology courses. Once completion of the educational component, cytotechnologists must complete the practical component. This is organized independently by the individual cytotechnologist with a Canadian accredited laboratory.

Upon completion of the education and practicum, CSMLS will perform a prior learning assessments for the MLT. If successful this will allow the MLT to practice in histology with professional liability insurance. Please see the CSMLS flow chart below. Once you have

You must submit a copy of the CSMLS PLA successful completion letter to NSCMLT to upgrade your license.

PDF Version

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Halifax, Nova Scotia B3M 2L4


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Toll Free: 888-897-4095 (NS only)

Fax: 902-454-3535