Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA)
High school diploma
Medical laboratory assistant certificate
Laboratory assistants work under the supervision of pathologists, medical laboratory technologists or combined laboratory and x-ray technologists. The responsibilities of the medical laboratory assistant can vary from one position to another. Some of the responsibilities include collecting blood specimens, using macro and micro phlebotomy techniques, sorting specimens, transporting and receiving specimens, and performing limited testing procedures such as specialized plating, urinalysis, and loading analyzers.
Laboratory assistant may be asked to cover reception duties, document daily activities, participate in lab meetings, assist with inventory, deal with reports, and assist in the orientation of new staff, co-workers and clients. They use computers to input and analyze data, as well as maintain, trouble shoot and calibrate instruments. In addition, the laboratory assistant uses quality control procedures to maintain equipment and ensures laboratory policies and procedures are being followed.
Laboratory assistants are employed in a number of different locations including hospitals, diagnostic testing laboratories, clinics, and research centers. They work both independently and collaboratively with supervisors and other co-workers.
Laboratory assistants may work full-time or part-time hours. They can apply for positions that are permanent, temporary or casual depending on department and facility needs. Shift schedules can include a combination of days, evenings and weekend shifts.
Laboratory assistants work in laboratory environments where they may spend a considerable amount of time standing or sitting, and performing tasks that may be repetitive. They must observe safety precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to infectious body fluids, dangerous chemicals or hazardous radiation.