Lab assistants are the backbone of any laboratory. They help scientists perform experiments, run tests, and maintain equipment. They also help with all aspects of research from start to finish, such as setting up equipment, preparing samples for analysis, and recording data from tests and experiments. Their other roles include stocking supplies, cleaning up after experiments, and helping with equipment repairs. To become a lab assistant you will generally need a science-based or medical degree, although there are also other routes which we outline below.
In addition, lab assistants must be skilled in using devices such as chemistry analysers, autoclaves, haematology analysers, blood gas analysers, and aspirator pumps, like the ones manufactured by companies like KNF UK . Proper use of these tools is a must because it helps them carry out tests and experiments easily and accurately.
The job can be stressful, but it’s also rewarding. So, if you want to become a lab assistant, here’s what you need to know about getting the job:
Have The Right Skills
Being a medical lab technician means taking on many different tasks; thus, you ought to have the following skills:
- Time Management: It’s one of the most important skills a lab assistant should possess. You’ll be juggling multiple tasks at once, so learning how to manage your time effectively and efficiently is essential. You may need to prioritize specific tasks over others and delegate when necessary. Always ensure you finish everything on time before moving on to the next task.
- Technical Skills: Lab assistants need to understand the equipment they use and each tool works. You’ll need to know how to operate different types of machinery, such as centrifuges, microscopes, and x-ray machines. In addition, you may also be required to perform certain tests or experiments requiring manual dexterity, like taking blood samples from patients.
- Interpersonal Skills: You need to get along well with others, especially when working in a team environment. That said, you’ll be required to have good interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other medical professionals.
- Analytical Skills: Lab assistants are required to analyse the results of tests and experiments.
- Attention To Detail And Accuracy: Being precise and accurate are two vital factors in a lab assistant’s role. You need to know how to perform each test or experiment properly, which means you must be able to follow instructions carefully without making any mistakes.
- Written Communication Skills: Lab assistants need strong written communication skills as they’re tasked to make reports based on tests undergone by patients to shed more light on their health issues. You need to be able to explain your findings clearly and concisely, as well as talk with other medical professionals about any questions that may arise during your workday.
All these skills are necessary if you want to land a job as a lab assistant.
Obtain A High School Diploma Or GED
You don’t need a college degree to be a lab assistant; you only need a high school diploma or GED. This basic credential will help you get into the door of many entry-level jobs in the field. It indicates that you have sufficient reading comprehension skills to understand technical manuals and scientific literature and the basic math skills needed to perform experiments-related calculations
Earn An Associate’s Degree In A Science-Related Field
If you want to pursue a career as a lab assistant, earning an associate’s degree in biology, chemistry, or another scientific field will help you get the job. This credential shows you have more than just the basic knowledge needed for entry-level positions. It demonstrates that you can perform at least some of the tasks required by professionals in your field.
Such programs include Associate of Science in Clinical Lab Science, Associate of Science in Medical Lab Science, and Assistant of Science in Medical Laboratory Technician.
Complete An Internship Training
Internships are a great way to get real-world experience and knowledge, which is why many employers prefer candidates who have completed an internship in the medical laboratory field. It can be done during college or after graduation; either way, it provides an excellent opportunity to learn how things work in labs and gain insight into what it takes to become a successful medical lab technician.
Complete A Certification Program
You must also complete an accredited certification program to be a lab assistant. The American Society for Clinical Pathology offers the ASCP Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) credential. Prospective employers look at this when hiring because it shows that you have completed a standardized training program with a high degree of competency. Of course, it also serves as additional proof of your commitment to the field and its standards, as you could go on to take certification courses every year to keep up with changes in technology and best practices.
A lab assistant is a vital team member in any laboratory. They work with various equipment and materials to help doctors and other medical professionals diagnose patients’ illnesses and monitor their recovery periods. If you’re interested in this career path, you can use these tips to start your journey toward becoming a lab assistant.