Medical laboratory technicians and assistants prepare laboratory specimens, operate lab equipment to run tests, and run manual tests under the supervision of doctors and medical laboratory technologists. Clinical medical assistants who work in the laboratory may: collect samples, run tests, sterilize equipment, or dispose of waste. Medical lab technicians must be analytical and detail-oriented and may work in a variety of areas or in one specialty. If you think you might enjoy working in a laboratory and want a career that requires two years or less training, consider becoming a medical laboratory technician.
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Preparing for a Medical Laboratory Assistant Career
If you're interested in working in a lab, choose among many medical laboratory assistant programs to help reach your goal. You won't find any specific medical laboratory assistant degrees, but you can:
- Earn a medical laboratory assistant certificate
- Earn a laboratory technician associate degree
- Complete certification
- Earn an associate's degree
- Complete a year-long training program, and pass the NCLEX-PN to be a licensed practical nurse (LPN)
All of these can lead to laboratory work, but the most direct route to a medical laboratory assistant career is certification or earning a degree to be a laboratory technician. Your salary depends on training and work specialties. The average salary for medical laboratory assistants is $29,060, while the average salary for medical lab technicians is $37,150. The average salary for an LPN is $40,110. All these fields are growing faster than average so you should find ample job opportunities if you have the right training.