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.

MLA Schools

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            ECPI University , Charlotte
            • Named a Best for Vets school by the Military Times in 2014.
            • Has specialized in student-centered technology, business, criminal justice, health science, and culinary education for over 45 years.
            • Makes it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years or an associate’s in 1.5 years by providing a year-round schedule.
            • Offers externships and clinical experience that help students prepare for life after they graduate.
            • Has 10 campuses across the mid-Atlantic, plus online degree programs.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
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            Fortis Institute , Online (campus option available)
            • Provides a 24/7 myCampusLink system that lets students access their records, e-mail, communicate with faculty, and more.
            • Designated a 2014 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
            • Offers career education in nursing, dental, business, information technology, and more. 
            • Has 44 campus locations across 15 states, with online options as well.
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            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
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            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media
            • Students who qualify may earn credits from relevant work, military service training, or life experience through Credit by Examination Program (CLEP)
            • Offers 5 term start dates throughout the year
            • Class sizes are small, with an average 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council or Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
            2 Program(s) Found
            Lincoln Tech , Mount Laurel
            • Encompasses the Lincoln Tech, Lincoln Culinary Institute, and Lincoln College of New England brands.
            • Lincoln schools made more than $15 million available nationally through scholarships to qualified students in 2015.
            • Designated a Military Friendly School for the 6th year in a row by Victory Media; offers exclusive scholarship for servicemen and women and their families.
            • First Lincoln Tech campus opened in 1946; now 30 campuses in 15 states across the United States.
            • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC), Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), and New England Association of Schools and Colleges – Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC)
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            • Accredited
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            • Dallas campus named 2013 School of the Year by the National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP).
            • Tuition covers course-required materials for campus students, including books, lab equipment, and class supplies.
            • Offers flat tuition rate to continuously enrolled students who are on track toward program completion.
            • Campus accreditation by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • 18 campuses across the United States, with online options as well.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid