Laboratory assistants play an important role in the diagnosis and prevention of diseases. They can work under the guidance of a doctor, laboratory manager or technologist in a variety of medical or scientific environments, but the primary duties they perform typically encompass maintaining equipment, processing specimens, preparing experiments for lab technicians, and then cleaning up once the experiments are completed.
Duties of a Laboratory Assistant
Key skills medical lab assistants are expected to have can include attention to detail, being very thorough when conducting research, good critical thinking abilities and being a problem-solver. Listening, clearly communicating and good time management also are prized in lab assistants.
As a medical laboratory assistant, you may be asked to perform basic lab procedures and run such tests as urinalyses, analyze cultures and tissue samples, and mix chemical solutions. And, since most medical records are generated and stored on computers, lab assistant often work with computers and high-tech equipment, such as electrocardiogram machines, microscopes and centrifuges, possibly even using hand tools to make minor equipment repairs.
Laboratory assistants wear protective clothing, including goggles and gloves, to prevent the transfer of infectious diseases while performing their duties. They also must be schooled in the proper disposal of testing materials, including syringes and needles, in order to prevent any cross-contamination of the samples being tested.
Lab Assistant Education Requirements
While some lab assistants learn their trade on-the-job, the position requires accuracy and skill. Most lab assistant need, as a minimum, an associate’s degree to ensure they are properly trained to meet the challenges of the job. Once they’ve gained additional on-the-job experience, some lab assistants may go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree so they qualify for upper-level positions, such as lab managers.
Working in a hospital, doctor’s office, or medical lab can be exciting work. If being a laboratory assistant sounds like a good fit for you, Fortis Institute can get you started on the right path through its ECG/Phlebotomy/Lab Assistant program at the Forty Fort, PA campus. Visit our site for more information.