What Does a Medical Laboratory Assistant Do?
A medical lab assistant is a skilled individual trained to perform laboratory tests and operate lab equipment. They take tissue samples, blood and other bodily fluids from patients. They ensure that all specimens are labelled correctly and prepare them for examination by a physician or medical laboratory technologist.
The samples are taken to detect harmful bacteria, parasites and other types of microorganisms that could be causing health problems and to measure other health indicators.
As a medical lab assistant, you need to be team-oriented. You will work with scientists, physicians and others as part of a larger healthcare team. Medical lab assistants can find employment in:
- Physicians' offices
- Health Clinics
- Research laboratories
- Medical diagnostic laboratories
- Pharmaceutical laboratories
- Biotechnology company
Your work environment will be clean, well-lit and sanitized. When handling equipment or specimens, you will wear protective clothing such as a lab coat, mask, goggles and gloves. Depending on the location, you may be required to work odd shifts and be on-call in case of emergencies.
In this profession, it’s important to be detail-oriented and analytical. You need to be good at dealing with people, including children, teens, adults and seniors. So patience is an important trait as well. You must follow the Data Protection Act and practice patient confidentiality at all times. Job duties vary depending on where you work, but may include:
- Keeping the laboratory and equipment clean
- Preparing laboratory equipment and specimens for tests
- Collecting patient’s body fluids for lab tests and analysis
- Labelling and sorting tissue samples and specimens
- Preparing slides of blood and other fluids for examination under a microscope
- Making chemical solutions and stocks of culture media
- Using computers to input and analyze data
- Disposing of hazardous waste
- Maintaining stock levels of laboratory supplies
Employment Outlook and Average Salary
According to the Alberta Learning Information Service, the outlook for this line of work is very good. As Baby Boomers begin to retire, the profession is expected to have an annual above-average growth rate of 3.5% in Alberta. Salaries vary depending on where you work, your educational background and specializations. Medical lab assistants can earn anywhere between $40,000 and $80,000+ per year.
Getting the Best Training for the Job
Your career as a medical lab assistant begins by taking an accredited course in Calgary. At Alberta Business and Educational Services Ltd., we will arm you with the skills and experience you need to excel in this healthcare field.