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Medical Lab Assistant

The behind-the-scenes work of a medical lab assistant (MLA) may involve preparing specimens for lab tests and analysis. This job may help to ensure that the correct test is being run on a specimen and allows medical technicians and medical technologists to have everything in place to perform the test.

What is the job of a medical lab assistant?

Medical lab assistants, commonly referred to as MLAs and clinical lab assistants, may be responsible mainly for specimen preparation

What types of employment settings are medical lab assistants employed?

Medical lab assistants may be employed in hospitals, diagnostic and medical laboratories, clinics, and even large doctor’s offices. MLAs employed in doctors’ offices mainly run urine specimens and rapid tests like pregnancy or strep tests. By employing an MLA in their office, a doctor is able to receive test results quickly and treat the patient without having to send them to an outpatient hospital or lab. This expedites the process for doctors and is more convenient for patients.

What are other titles for this profession?

Medical lab assistants (MLAs) are also commonly referred to as clinical lab assistants, or lab assistants. Oftentimes phlebotomists serve a dual role of medical lab assistant too. Other times, when these two job functions are separate, those trained in phlebotomy move into a medical lab assistant role. Generally a medical lab assistant with formal training is able to perform the duties of a phlebotomist.

Medical technologists and medical technicians are completely different occupations within the lab setting. Medical lab assistants prepare specimens for these professionals to run the actual tests. Medical technicians are responsible for testing and analyzing specimens and must graduate with an associate’s degree and become certified in order to practice. Medical technologists are involved in running and analyzing more of the complex tests and must have a bachelor’s degree and certification to practice.

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