Many colleges and universities offer laboratory assistant courses as part of clinical laboratory assistant certificate and diploma programs, which typically take about one year to complete and cover a variety of different lab tests. Some schools may also offer associate's degree programs in the field, though they aren't common. Students may look for programs accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Some programs lead to voluntary clinical medical assistant certification from the American Medical Technologists. Many of the common topics in these courses include the following:
- Quality control
List of Courses
Clinical Laboratory Science Course
An introductory course in clinical laboratory science allows students to learn about lab safety procedures and laboratory sample processing. Students learn how to collect specimen samples, such as blood and urine, and operate laboratory equipment. Laboratory information systems, chemistry, laboratory math, immunology, hematology, quality control, phlebotomy and microbiology are also common topics.
Laboratory Safety Course
Individuals working in any health profession are required to learn medical safety regulations. The laboratory safety course prepares students to operate medical laboratory equipment in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. The lab safety course provides essential information about proper lab instrument operation, biohazard chemicals and materials, blood-borne pathogens and inspection methods.
Laboratory Administrative Tasks Course
Individuals enrolled in a laboratory assistant curriculum may be required to take this course in order to gain communication and administrative skills. Students learn how to check vital signs and perform electrocardiograms as well as understand medical coding. Individuals learn how to process medical data and input the information into the appropriate computer system. Some of the course topics include lab billing, health records, CPT, ICD-9 and other ethical procedures.
A pathophysiology course teaches students about the cause and treatment of diseases, as well as the nature of disease and its essential functions. Students examine various diseases, apply appropriate medical terms to the diseases and evaluate between diseases and their associated symptoms.
Medical Terminology Course
A basic course in medical terminology covers the proper language used in medical fields. Students learn definitions, pronunciation, abbreviations, spelling, word analysis, roots and suffix on various medical terms used in health occupations.
Individuals taking a phlebotomy course will learn how to collect, take and sample blood specimen. The basic course teaches students how to properly puncture skin to minimize patient discomfort and bruising as well as how to perform a venipuncture procedure. Students may complete the required coursework in a laboratory or care center.
Clinical Practice Course
Students work under the supervision of lab professionals and process urine, blood and other specimen samples, collect donor specimen samples and utilize laboratory information systems. Students do coursework in a clinical laboratory facility in order gain experience. This course may require prerequisite or concurrent laboratory assistant coursework.