A lab assistant is responsible for testing patient tissue, blood, and/or fluid samples for physicians. He or she runs diagnostic tests to determine illnesses, diseases, or imbalances. Lab assistants are also responsible for maintaining laboratory equipment, troubleshooting lab problems, calibrating laboratory equipment, keeping accurate records, filing reports, compiling data into charts or graphs, and ensuring compliance with lab and scientific testing procedures. Lab assistants may be required to deal directly with patients and insurance companies to report findings.
Entry-level lab assistant positions typically require only a high school diploma or Associate’s degree. Higher-ranking lab positions, such as supervisor or those within prominent institutions, typically require a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in chemistry, biology, or other science related area. A minimum of two years of laboratory experience is preferred. Other recommended skills include: computer skills, research skills, reporting skills, communication skills, staffing skills, basic math skills, analytical skills, and training skills.
The typical average salary of an experienced lab assistant is about $30,850 per year. Higher salary levels are possible with further training. This field is expanding and the need for lab assistants is growing due to the fact that more laws are being passed that require more regulation of clinical laboratories, and more detailed lab procedures to be followed.