What is a Clinical Laboratory Assistant?

A clinical laboratory assistant, also called a medical laboratory assistant, is a member of the health team who is usually under the supervision of the medical technologist and other medical staff. His responsibilities in the workplace include dealing with patients, other laboratory staff, nurses and doctors; doing phlebotomy, the process of collecting blood from the vein of the client; and handling and processing specimens such as blood, urine and other body fluids. He may also be asked to assist in some quality control operations, do billing procedures and perform basic technical laboratory testing.

Generally, the clinical laboratory assistant is a person who loves to work in the laboratory. He usually possesses technical skills, which make him a useful addition to the health team. Qualities of a good clinical laboratory assistant include reliability, knowing how to follow instructions, paying close attention to details, and multitasking. He has also earned a clinical laboratory assistant certificate after completing a three-semester training program in his chosen college or university.


To qualify for the training program, he must have a high school diploma. Included in the training are lessons about basic health care, life sciences and medical terminologies, which are often encountered in the hospital laboratory setting. Computer applications and diagnostic procedures are also essential aspects of the training program. Students are also taught how to perform proper phlebotomy and first aid. The training also includes office management such as doing correspondence, making agendas for meetings, and preparing procedure manuals.

Having earned his certificate, he is now ready for employment in various health institutions, such as hospitals, physicians' clinics, research centers, and other clinical laboratories. Working as a clinical laboratory assistant may also open new opportunities for him, such as the promotion to a higher position. He may also choose to become a member of a recognized professional association, like the American Medical Technologists. In order to do this he must present the needed requirements, pay the fees, and pass the examination given by the association.

A clinical laboratory assistant may fall into two different categories. Becoming a clinical laboratory assistant I usually requires only a high school diploma for employment. The clinical laboratory assistant II position, on the other hand, often requires a high school diploma as well as some credits as a medical assistant. Many medical institutions, however, prefer to employ people with certification, giving those holding a clinical laboratory assistant certificate an edge over those who don't.



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