Diagnostic Cytology

Recent Graduate?

If you are a recent graduate that has successfully completed an accredited education program in Diagnostic Cytology in the last 12 months, you will be eligible to challenge the certification examination.
We will contact your educational institution on your behalf to verify that you have completed the program requirements. If we are unable to verify program completion, you will be required to provide to us one of the following at your own cost:

  • a notarized copy of certificate and/or transcript confirming successful completion of an accredited educational institution (training program), or
  • a verification of successful program completion (transcript and/or diploma) to be sent to the CSMLS directly from your educational institution

Not a Recent Graduate?

If you are already working within the medical laboratory industry or you graduated more than 12 months ago and are interested in pursuing certification, the CSMLS will assess your prior education and experience to determine your eligibility to challenge the exam.  This process is called a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).

Read more about our Prior Learning Assessment program.


Competency Profile

The CSMLS certification examinations are competency-based exams that test what you can do rather than simply reciting knowledge you acquired in school.  It focuses on your ability to apply your knowledge in the laboratory, not simply 'textbook' learning.
In order to know how to apply the knowledge you learned, CSMLS uses a Competency Profile for each discipline. These profiles are made up of categories of general topics within the field. Within each category are a list of skills or competencies that are expected of a medical laboratory professional entering the field.

Below is the Competency Profile for Diagnostic Cytology.

Exam Blueprint

The CSMLS certification exam is based on the Competency Profile. Each category within the profile is weighted for the percentage of marks allotted on the exam. The Competency Profiles are a valuable study tool.


Preparing for the Exam

All exam candidates are required to read and complete the Exam Handbook and Application.

The Handbook contains all the information you need to prepare for writing the exam. It includes:

  • Policies and procedures that candidates need to follow
  • Explanation of how the exam is created and scored
  • Details on how to apply for exams and eligibility criteria
  • What to expect after you write the exam
  • And much more!
View the Exam Handbook

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement : We respectfully acknowledge the CSMLS office, located in Hamilton, Ontario, is situated upon the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississauga Nation, Anishinaabe Peoples, and the Neutral Peoples. This land is covered by the Dish With One Spoon wampum, which is a treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe to share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We further acknowledge that this land is covered by the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, 1792, between the Crown and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.


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