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Lab Assistant Career Education

A laboratory assistant might work in a hospital, physician’s office or research facility. An individual working in this job will test samples of blood or other body fluids to diagnose medical conditions.

Career Prospects
Within the United States, there is a growing need for laboratory assistants. The average laboratory assistant earns above minimum wage, and employees who work full-time receive additional benefits such as paid vacation and sick days. With additional experience and education, a laboratory assistant can earn much more than minimum wage.

Job Description

Strict Protocol
A laboratory assistant must use strict protocols while working to avoid contamination from pathogens. In a chemical laboratory setting, an assistant must use caution while using and mixing substances to avoid an explosion or lethal fumes.
To Maintain Certification
After graduating from a training program, a student may need to complete an achievement test to receive certification or licensure from their region. Students will also register with a government agency so that the public and employers can see their credentials. To maintain certification or licensure, laboratory assistants may need to update their education periodically by attending additional classes or conferences.
Personal Strengths
• Time management to complete tests efficiently
• Analytical skills to assist ill patients
• Able to work as a team to help patients
• Excellent oral and written communication
• Attention to detail to avoid mistakes
• Able to work on a testing procedure independently
• Understanding how to prepare specimens properly

Important Lab Assistant Certifications

Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant (CMLA) Credential

American Medical Technologists (AMT) awards the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant designation. To be eligible for this credential, a candidate must have at least 1,040 hours of laboratory technology work experience completed within the last three years. Additionally, a candidate should have graduated from a training program that included the completion of 120 clinical laboratory hours and 200 classroom hours. Once a candidate has passed the certification exam, the CMLA designation is awarded.

ASCP Board of Certification (BOC)

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification (BOC) is an independent certification agency that develops relevant standards and procedures to assure the competence of medical laboratory personnel. The ASCP Board of Certification (BOC) is a recognized leader in certification of medical laboratory professionals. By earning credentials from the ASCP BOC, laboratory professionals demonstrate their competence to carry out their responsibilities in this critical profession.

How Much Does a Trained Lab Assistant Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, lab assistant salary was $24.48 per hour or $50,930 per year. Many assistants maximize their income by working longer hours during peak seasons. As with any occupation, lab technician salary is dependent on the job, employer location, level of experience, and whether or not a union is involved. Lab assistant salary is usually implemented in the form of hourly wages, which will increase based on skill level, knowledge, and experience.