A clinical lab assistant certificate may be earned in less than two years. Training programs for lab assistants require a high school diploma or GED certificate for admission and some schools may require assessment testing before admittance. Schools may also test the math, reading and writing skills of incoming students to assess their capability for completing coursework. Students will be introduced to healthcare, lab practices and medical terminology.
Certification Programs for Clinical Lab Assistant
Students learn to interpret terminology and abbreviations, process and test specimens, record test results, maintain quality control and assist colleagues, physicians and patients. Practicum courses provide direct work experience in a lab. Lab assistant programs may divide the coverage of some themes across several levels of courses. In such instances, introductory material is addressed at the first level and more advanced material at the second and third level. Certificate program topics may include:
- Diagnostic procedures
- Laboratory administration
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of a certificate program are qualified to become clinical lab assistants. Hospitals, private physicians' offices and medical labs are the primary employers of lab technicians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 11% growth in employment of clinical lab technicians, including clinical lab assistants, from 2018-2028. Advances in diagnostic testing technology will result in increased use of tests, which will in turn contribute to higher demand for lab workers. As of May 2018, the median annual salary of medical and clinical lab technicians was $52,330, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Clinical lab assistants can improve their employment prospects by obtaining certification. The American Society for Clinical Pathology and the Board of Registry of the American Association of Bioanalysts offer certification examinations for lab workers with different levels of education and experience, starting with those who hold a certificate.
Clinical lab assistant certification programs prepare individuals to work in a number of different environments with a combination of coursework and hands-on experience. Certifications may be specialized and can influence future employment.