Becoming a Clinical Laboratory Assistant

Clinical Laboratory Assistants play a supporting role in routine laboratory testing for diagnosis and prevention of diseases. They work directly under the supervision of a clinical laboratory technologist or lab manager. Their responsibilities include preparing biological specimens, such as blood and tissues for medical examinations; examining bodily fluids using automated lab equipments; recording and reporting the findings to the supervisors; managing the medical devices; maintaining safety and infection control procedures etc. In addition, they also perform administrative tasks involving patient care.

These skilled professionals work at variety of environments such as public or private hospitals, clinics, pathology laboratories, research facilities, educational institutions so on and so forth. They often work full-time. They may have to work in the night shifts and even during weekend. They may be required to wear protective goggles, masks and gloves in the lab.

Educational Requirements

To become a Clinical Laboratory Assistant, the aspiring candidates need to complete at least two-year associate degree in medical laboratory technology. The candidates also earn on-the-job training after completing a high school diploma or equivalent. The students can pursue a degree program in a related field for better job prospects.

Clinical Laboratory Assistants study the syllabus includes clinical microbiology, anatomy, hematology, physiology, chemistry, serology and blood Banking, clinical laboratory techniques etc.

Certification and Licensure

Since Clinical Laboratory Assistants are required to be licensed in many states of USA, the aspiring candidates need to earn a license by passing the required examination. These professionals can obtain exam based certification from different credentialing bodies, like the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel.

Skill Set

Apart from clinical knowledge, Clinical Laboratory Assistants possess various traits such as attention to detail, manual dexterity, good analytical abilities, sound physical strength to work long hours either in sitting or standing, ability to work under pressure, high level of team spirit, good color vision, excellent communication skills, competence in computer skills etc

Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for a Clinical Laboratory Assistant remains excellent in USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 30% from 2012 to 2022. The average annual salary of a Clinical Laboratory Assistant was $37,240 in 2012.