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Medical Lab Assistant Salary

What is the average lab assistant salary?

Pay will vary by location, experience and even certification, but Payscale.com reports that a medical lab assistant (MLA) living in Atlanta, Georgia, a major hub in the health care industry, earned an hourly wage of $13.27 per hour as of June 2015. However, pay could be higher elsewhere, as Payscale.com also shows that, as of June 2015, the median hourly pay across the country was $18 per hour and overtime and bonuses brought annual pay to between $28,712 and $50,574. San Antonio, Nashville, Dallas and Richmond are some of the U.S. cities that had the highest pay.

Is the job of a medical lab assistant in high demand?

The National Healthcare Workers Association (NHCWA) reports that certified medical lab assistants are the same thing as clinical laboratory technicians, a profession that is expected to see 30 percent growth from 2012 to 2022, according to January 2014 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This growth, considered much faster than average, will be driven by an increasing need to treat the aging baby boomer population that will seek out testing and diagnostic procedures. Some 47,900 new positions could become available specifically for medical and clinical laboratory technicians between 2012 and 2022, according to the BLS.

Is there room for advancement in this field?

Medical lab assistants oftentimes chose to further their education with an associate's degree to become a medical technician, which allows them to become more hands on with running and analyzing tests. Medical lab assistants can also earn a bachelor's degree in medical technology, allowing them to perform more advanced tests and analysis in the lab. Becoming a medical lab assistant is a common gateway into other allied health professions because it provides a solid foundation of the workings of a lab. Certification for medical lab assistants is available through the National Healthcare Workers Association or American Medical Technologists (AMT). In fact, the AMT reports that studies show that certified professionals have higher pay and better opportunities for promotion.

How to Become a Lab Assistant

While there are a variety of methods to land a job as a medical lab assistant, the below steps provide the most direct route to increase one's marketability and credibility.

  1. Take high school courses in chemistry and biology.
  2. Graduate from high school.
  3. Enroll in a formal medical lab assistant training program.
  4. Upon graduating from a formal program, sit for the AMT Medical Lab Assistant Certification or the NHCWA certification.
  5. Look for a job as a medical lab assistant.
  6. Obtain necessary continuing education to renew the medical lab assistant certification credential every three years.
  7. Join a related association, such as a state AMT organization.

Sources:

  1. Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Jan. 8, 2014. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm#tab-6
  2. Medical Laboratory Assistant, National Healthcare Workers Association. http://nationalhealthcareworkersassociation.com/medical-laboratory-assistant/
  3. Medical Laboratory Technicians Salary, Payscale.com, June 2015. http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Medical_Laboratory_Technician/Hourly_Rate
  4. State Societies, American Medical Technologists. http://www.americanmedtech.org/BeInvolved.aspx#177434-recognition

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