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Medical Laboratory Assistant Schools and Programs

Medical laboratory assistants perform crucial diagnostic tests in medical laboratories. They may also assist in preparing specimens or analyzing test results. With an associate's degree, you can begin work in this growing healthcare field.

Career as a Medical Laboratory Assistant

Career Description

Medical laboratory assistants assist in medical labs, performing a wide range of medical tests that can help identify or treat certain diseases. The clinical duties of medical laboratory assistants may include collecting laboratory specimens, examining these specimens under microscopes, running chemical tests, or preparing test results for physicians. Medical laboratory assistants often work under the supervision of more highly trained lab technologists. In small labs, both assistants and technologists may perform a wide range of functions, while in larger labs specialization in one type of testing is the norm.

Career Path and Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical laboratory technicians serve an important purpose within the health care industry, helping to diagnose diseases and evaluate treatments. The BLS predicts this field should grow by 14 percent between 2008 and 2018. About half of all clinical laboratory technicians worked in hospitals in 2008, and the BLS expects this trend to continue. Others worked in private laboratories, education, or mobile health care units.

Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical laboratory technicians earned a median annual wage of $35,380 in 2008. The lowest ten percent earned less than $23,480 while top earners took home more than $53,520.

Medical Laboratory Assistant Training Requirements

Medical laboratory assistants typically need at least an associate's degree to enter the field. Coursework often includes biology, chemistry, statistics, and mathematics. Some programs may also include coursework in computer skills. Licensure requirements vary from state to state. Medical laboratory assistants are required to prepare samples for testing in accordance with industry standards, to act safely and ethically in a laboratory setting, and analyze and input data gathered into computer programs. Upon completion of program requirements, a candidate for a medical laboratory assistant degree has received the training necessary to be able to aid medical technicians and technologists in a laboratory.