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Become A Laboratory Assistant

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Working As A Laboratory Assistant

  • Processing Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Repetitive

  • $37,925

    Average Salary

What Does A Laboratory Assistant Do

Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

Duties

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Analyze body fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue samples, and record normal or abnormal findings
  • Study blood samples for use in transfusions by identifying the number of cells, the cell morphology or the blood group, blood type, and compatibility with other blood types
  • Operate sophisticated laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and cell counters
  • Use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time
  • Log data from medical tests and enter results into a patient’s medical record
  • Discuss results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians
  • Supervise or train medical laboratory technicians

Both technicians and technologists perform tests and procedures that physicians and surgeons or other healthcare personnel order. However, technologists perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians do. For example, technologists may prepare specimens and perform detailed manual tests, whereas technicians perform routine tests that may be more automated. Medical laboratory technicians usually work under the general supervision of medical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers.

Technologists in small laboratories perform many types of tests; in large laboratories, they sometimes specialize. The following are examples of types of specialized medical laboratory technologists:

Blood bank technologists, or immunohematology technologists, collect blood, classify it by type, and prepare blood and its components for transfusions. 

Clinical chemistry technologists prepare specimens and analyze the chemical and hormonal contents of body fluids. 

Cytotechnologists prepare slides of body cells and examine these cells with a microscope for abnormalities that may signal the beginning of a cancerous growth. 

Immunology technologists examine elements of the human immune system and its response to foreign bodies. 

Microbiology technologists examine and identify bacteria and other microorganisms. 

Molecular biology technologists perform complex protein and nucleic acid tests on cell samples.

Like technologists, medical laboratory technicians may work in several areas of the laboratory or specialize in one particular area. For example, histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for pathologists, who are doctors who study the cause and development of diseases at a microscopic level.

Technologists and technicians often specialize after they have worked in a particular area for a long time or have received advanced education or training in that area.

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How To Become A Laboratory Assistant

Medical laboratory technologists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Technicians usually need an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Some states require technologists and technicians to be licensed.

Education

An entry-level job for technologists usually requires a bachelor's degree in medical technology or life sciences.

A bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory technology, also known as a medical laboratory scientist degree, includes courses in chemistry, biology, microbiology, math, and statistics. Coursework emphasizes laboratory skills, including safety procedures and lab management.

The courses may be offered through a university or hospital-based program that students attend during their senior year of college. College graduates who major in other sciences and meet a program’s prerequisites, such as having completed required courses in biology and chemistry or maintaining a certain GPA, also may apply to a medical laboratory science program.

Medical laboratory technicians often complete an associate’s degree program in clinical laboratory science. A limited number of 1-year certificate programs are available from hospitals, and admission requirements vary. The Armed Forces and vocational or technical schools also may offer certificate programs for medical laboratory technicians. Technician coursework addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of each of the major laboratory disciplines.

High school students who are interested in pursuing a career in the medical laboratory sciences should take classes in chemistry, biology, and math.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed. Requirements vary by state and specialty. For specific requirements, contact state departments of health, state boards of occupational licensing, or visit The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.

Certification of medical laboratory technologists and technicians is required for licensure in some states. Although certification is not required to enter the occupation in all cases, employers typically prefer to hire certified technologists and technicians.

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians can obtain a general certification as a medical laboratory technologist or technician, respectively, or a certification in a specialty, such as cytotechnology or medical biology. Most credentialing institutions require that technologists complete an accredited education program in order to qualify to sit for an exam. For more credentialing information, visit the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must understand how to operate complex machinery.

Detail oriented. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must follow exact instructions in order to perform tests or procedures correctly.

Dexterity. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians need to be skilled with their hands. They work closely with needles and precise laboratory instruments and must handle these tools effectively.

Physical stamina. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians may work on their feet for long periods while collecting samples. They may need to lift or turn disabled patients to collect samples for testing.

Advancement

After additional education, work experience, or certification, technologists and technicians may specialize in one of many areas of laboratory science, such as immunology, histotechnology, or clinical chemistry. Some medical laboratory technicians advance to technologist positions after gaining experience and additional education.

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Laboratory Assistant Jobs

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Laboratory Assistant Career Paths

Laboratory Assistant
Medical Assistant Office Manager
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Assistant/Phlebotomist Medical Laboratory Technician Medical Technologist
Clinical Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Specialist Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Assistant/Phlebotomist Phlebotomist Medical Technologist
Director Of Laboratory Services
13 Yearsyrs
Technician Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
10 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Medical Technologist
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Laboratory Technician Medical Technologist
Laboratory Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor Program Manager General Manager
Owner
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Technician Quality Assurance Technician Production Supervisor
Quality Control Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Technician Production Supervisor Quality Engineer
Quality Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor General Manager Account Executive
Sales/Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Pharmacist Technician Phlebotomist Medical Technologist
Senior Medical Technologist
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Technician
Senior Technologist
5 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Technician Service Technician
Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Researcher Instructor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Researcher Fellow Research Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Pharmacist Technician Office Manager Technician
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Laboratory Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Laboratory Aide 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 15.8%
Volunteer 8.5%
Cashier 6.7%
Tutor 3.7%
Assistant 3.7%
Server 2.4%
Researcher 2.0%
Top Employers After
Internship 12.1%
Volunteer 6.2%
Cashier 3.5%
Tutor 3.4%
Assistant 3.0%
Technician 2.7%
Teacher 2.4%
Researcher 2.4%

Do you work as a Laboratory Assistant?

Laboratory Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

54.5%

Male

41.7%

Unknown

3.8%
Ethnicity

White

56.0%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Asian

14.0%

Black or African American

10.0%

Unknown

4.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

42.8%

French

10.6%

Chinese

7.9%

Mandarin

6.6%

German

4.9%

Japanese

3.1%

Cantonese

3.0%

Arabic

3.0%

Hindi

2.8%

Vietnamese

2.5%

Russian

2.4%

Korean

2.3%

Italian

1.8%

Portuguese

1.4%

Urdu

1.2%

Hebrew

1.0%

Tagalog

0.8%

Gujarati

0.7%

Greek

0.6%

Bengali

0.6%
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Laboratory Assistant Education

Schools

University of California - Davis

7.9%

Iowa State University

7.2%

University of California - San Diego

7.2%

Pennsylvania State University

5.9%

University of California - Berkeley

5.7%

Michigan State University

5.7%

University of Phoenix

5.3%

Purdue University

5.2%

University of Florida

4.7%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.6%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

University of Iowa

4.2%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

4.2%

Oregon State University

4.0%

Cornell University

4.0%

University of Georgia

3.9%

Northeastern University

3.9%

Boston University

3.8%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.7%
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Majors

Biology

22.6%

Chemistry

8.4%

Business

7.0%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

5.5%

Nursing

5.4%

Psychology

5.4%

Medical Assisting Services

4.6%

Mechanical Engineering

4.4%

Computer Science

4.1%

Electrical Engineering

3.9%

Environmental Science

3.5%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

3.4%

Chemical Engineering

3.2%

Geology

3.0%

Health Care Administration

2.8%

Medical Technician

2.7%

Microbiology

2.7%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.4%

Biomedical Engineering

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

50.9%

Masters

18.0%

Other

15.4%

Associate

7.6%

Doctorate

3.6%

Certificate

3.2%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Laboratory Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Laboratory Assistant (Process Development) ACRO Service Corporation Monmouth Junction, NJ Sep 20, 2016 $54,080
Laboratory Assistant Lehigh Valley Hospital, Inc. Allentown, PA Aug 04, 2011 $43,000 -
$53,000
Lab Assistant II Regents of The University of California at Riversi Riverside, CA Jul 01, 2013 $36,582
Lab Assistant The University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Jan 01, 2012 $35,479
Lab Assistant The University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Oct 01, 2011 $35,479
Health Lab Assistant Lynchburg College Lynchburg, VA Jan 08, 2016 $34,895
Laboratory Assistant III Regents of The University of California at Riversi Riverside, CA Jan 01, 2011 $34,368
Laboratory Assistant Temple University--A Commonwealth University Philadelphia, PA Jul 15, 2009 $32,995
Laboratory Assistant The Florida State University Tallahassee, FL Jul 18, 2014 $32,349
Laboratory Assistant 1 Regents of The University of California at Riversi Riverside, CA Dec 13, 2012 $31,952
Laboratory Assistant Marshall University Research Corp. Huntington, WV Nov 01, 2012 $30,000
Laboratory Assistant Tetra Discovery Partners LLC Grand Rapids, MI Sep 03, 2014 $29,218
Laboratory Assistant Regents of The University of California at Riversi Riverside, CA Jul 01, 2010 $29,080
Adjunct Instructor/Lab Assistant Ivy Tech Community College Muncie, IN Jul 02, 2009 $27,778
Laboratory Assistant Ponzi Vineyards, LLC Sherwood, OR Sep 15, 2010 $27,131
Winery Laboratory Assistant Ponzi Vineyards, LLC Sherwood, OR Sep 15, 2010 $27,131
Dental Laboratory Assistant Jae Dental Studio Inc. Little Ferry, NJ Mar 18, 2015 $27,123
Dental Laboratory Assistant Jae Dental Studio Inc. Little Ferry, NJ Dec 04, 2014 $27,123

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Top Skills for A Laboratory Assistant

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  1. Computer
  2. Biology
  3. Safety Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted mentally handicapped adults in learning computer skills during weekly sessions.
  • Performed preparatory work for laboratory demonstrations and experiments conducted in biology and chemistry courses.
  • Prepared reagents required for undergraduate chemistry, ensuring all safety procedures were strictly followed.
  • Monitored on-campus computer labs Informed lab technicians of malfunctioning computers and printers
  • Maintained undergraduate organic chemistry teaching lab, including materials preparation and inventory management.

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Top 10 Best States for Laboratory Assistants

  1. Alaska
  2. New Hampshire
  3. New York
  4. Montana
  5. New Jersey
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Minnesota
  9. Connecticut
  10. Oregon
  • (55 jobs)
  • (81 jobs)
  • (660 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)
  • (292 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (431 jobs)
  • (293 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)

Top Laboratory Assistant Employers

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