If it is your career goal to work in a medical laboratory then you will most likely need to pursue your Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in clinical laboratory science. It is very common for individuals working in this field to have an associate's degree or a certificate when they decide to begin working on their bachelor's degree. While having real world experience is not mandatory for you to enter a bachelors program, it may give you an edge as you work to absorb all of the necessary information in this field. Furthermore, if you do not have any background in the area of medical laboratory science the college or university that you choose to attend will most likely require you to successfully complete a few prerequisite classes in this field of study.
You will want to be sure that as you complete these prerequisite classes that you maintain a satisfactory GPA in order to ensure admittance into a medical laboratory assisting degree program. Although course work for this bachelor's degree program varies from one college or university to another, you can expect to be required to take classes like: heredity science, bodily fluid analysis, medical laboratory science statistics, immune system studies, and parasite studies. Typically, in conjunction with the classes that have to be completed, students are required to finish a capstone project and an extensive clinical practicum just prior to graduation. The ultimate goal of the practicum is to allow students the opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge that were learned in the classroom to a real world setting.
How you perform on the clinical practicum is equally as important as how you perform in the classroom, since employers will be interested in your work abilities and how they transition into the work place. Depending upon the college or university you choose to attend you may also be expected to attend seminars related to health administration and occupational safety methods. Upon completion of your bachelors degree you will also need to complete a certification exam. You must earn a passing score on this exam before you will be able to actively use your degree. What is required in order to sit for this certification exam varies from one state to another, so you will want to check into the requirements that are specified by your state.
In the work place you will spend the majority of your time gathering and processing data and physical materials in a variety of different types of labs. Clinical labs and research labs are the two most common employment choices of individuals who have a bachelors degree in medical laboratory assisting. If you choose to work in a clinical lab you will be responsible for analyzing medical specimens at a health testing site or a hospital. Should you choose to be employed in a research lab, then you will be conducting research for a specific industry, the government, or a university.
The first step is to find a college that offers a Bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory assisting. Courses that the curriculum will cover will include those in:
Learn how to analyze and test specimens such as blood.
- Human Anatomy and Psychology
- Blood Analysis
- Urinalysis and Parasitology
When you earn your bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory assistant you’ll qualify for positions in the below industries as well as titles.
- Clinics and Physicians’ Offices
- Pharmaceutical Company
- Research Foundations
- Transfusion Services
- Veterinary Clinics
- Fertility Clinics
- Government Agencies
- Public health Labs
Although you’ll have a lot of different duties as a lab assistant your main ones will center around the following responsibilities:
Clean and calibrate the medical equipment: Making sure the machines are ready for the next patient as you won’t be the only lab assistant to use the equipment.
Collect samples for the laboratory: One of your main duties will be to collect samples. These samples will be used by nurses and doctors to further run tests on the patient. It is important that these tests are ran according to protocol so that they are not contaminated.
Review medical records and log data results: As a lab assistant you’ll need to record and log all of the data that is found when you run lab work on a patient. This data will help doctors come up with the correct and appropriate treatment based on those lab results.
Perform blood tests: One of your more common responsibilities will be to run blood work through numerous tests. Often blood work is all that is needed to diagnose a patient.
The top 10% of earners as a medical lab assistant will earn $76,880 and on average $56,000 nationwide. Those that work for federal government make the highest salary at $62,900 on average and get the best benefits.