A laboratory assistant performs routine chemical and biological procedures as they relate to preparing food, water, and specimens needed for analysis or they perform phlebotomy duties along with other laboratory procedures that relate to the preparing of human biological samples for chemical, hematological, and microbiological analysis, also additional related duties may be required.
Incumbents within this classification perform routine procedures in a Public Health Department. Incumbents that are assigned to a clinical laboratory perform duties in the area of phlebotomy while water bacteriology testing is performed by those assigned to Public Health laboratories.
Certification and Diploma Programs
In order to become a certified laboratory assistant you must have formal training from a vocational program or school. The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs are nationally known agencies that accredit laboratory assistant programs. Applicants need to show documented clinical and classroom laboratory experience.
The Program Coursework
Those who desire a career as a laboratory assistant must learn how to work under pressure and develop strong analytical skills. In this program, the student is given skills and technical knowledge needed to operate lab equipment. Students learn how to interpret numerical readouts and test substances. Common topics that are taught during a laboratory assistant program are:
• Quality controls
• Laboratory mathematics
• Laboratory safety
• Medical terminology
• Basic chemistry
• Body functions and structure
• Clinical laboratory techniques
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
Employment opportunities are available though settings such as clinics, governmental agencies, hospitals, and research laboratories. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics have given increased employment projections up to 2016. Something that may have a significant impact on employment is the area of technological advances, which may encourage additional testing, increasing the need for more assistants. In 2009, according to indeed.com, the average salary for a laboratory assistant was $ 36,000 a year.