Student Medical Laboratory Technician Programme

The Student Medical Laboratory Technician (SMLT) programme is a two-year programme for which suitable candidates from within and outside of PathCare are recruited to undergo training to become Qualified Medical Laboratory Technicians in Clinical Pathology or Histology. While South Africa is experiencing a shortage of qualified medical technologists, this qualification is one means to help bridge the gap. As rapid technological advances take place, the pathology industry envisages the need for more suitably qualified laboratory technicians. PathCare provides the opportunity for individuals to enter this environment.
The programme is run along similar lines to a learnership in which the students have theory and practical study in training rooms and rotations through various PathCare training laboratories for practical work. The subjects studied by those students aims to become Clinical Pathology Technicians are Anatomy and Physiology, Safety in the Laboratory, Medical Ethics, Chemical Pathology, Haematology and Microbiology. Students wishing to pursue the Histology Technician qualification follow the same initial generic training programme before substituting Histology for the Chemistry, Haematology and Microbiology disciplines. In addition the students undergo training in the use of our Laboratory Information Systems. Life skills training programmes further equip the students for the workplace. The trainers and supervisors are all qualified registered medical practitioners.

The programme commences in February each year. Positions are advertised internally within PathCare and on the PathCare website in September/October of the year preceding commencement. Entry criteria for this Academy programme includes a grade 12 pass with mathematics and science and/or biology. Selection includes pre-interview testing and panel interviews. Successful candidates are paid an allowance and are employed on a two-year contract during their studies at the PathCare Academy. Each year, the Academy is also increasing its number of candidates recruited for/from various locations in South Africa and Namibia in order to help address the skills shortages affecting various areas.
Students write a national Board Exam set by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) during which they write two two-hour exams. The students need to achieve a 50% pass in both exams in order to pass, and a 50% average across the two papers, for each discipline in the Clinical Pathology exam. Once they have passed the exam, and completed the 24 month mandatory training period, they are required to register as Qualified Medical Laboratory Technicians with the HPCSA in order to be able to practise in their field.

As with our Phlebotomy Technicians, the Academy’s Medical Laboratory Technicians have enjoyed exceptionally high pass rates on the HPCSA’s annual Board Exams. Since commencing the Academy programme in 2006, 97% of our students have passed the exams. 2019 results saw a 100% pass rate for the fifth consecutive year. We are proud of their results and proud of our many graduates now successfully working in the field.