Although many aspiring students would love to have a career that involves working in a laboratory and helping with experiments, testing, treatments and trials, it takes many years to become qualified enough to lead a laboratory as a head scientist. If you enjoy science and would be interested in this kind of work, but you don’t want to attend school at the college level for several years, then you might want to look into employment as a clinical laboratory assistant.
Read on to learn more about what it takes to become a laboratory assistant, what career options and prospects are available for graduates, what a typical day as a laboratory assistant might look like and why you should consider earning your degree or certifications online rather than in a traditional college campus.
What it Takes to Become a Clinical Assistant in a Laboratory
Those who are interested in working as laboratory assistants in a clinical setting will need to have some kind of qualification or degree, certification or licensing from an approved body in the field, a strong interest in sciences like chemistry and biology and a detail-oriented personality. Most laboratory assistants will have an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in laboratory sciences or clinical assisting, but there is also the option to pursue a certificate course, which better prepares students for a career in well under two years.
After graduation, licensing for clinical assistants in laboratories can be applied for through the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel. Although on the job training and education will prepare students to become laboratory assistants, a background or interest in sciences will make the study much easier.
Career Options and Prospects in This Field
Those who work in this field usually hold a title like laboratory assistant, clinical assistant, clinical laboratory technician or certified lab technician. As an increasing number of medical treatments become viable, there is a greater need for skilled technicians and laboratory assistants to work in this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, there will be an increased demand of clinical assistants and technicians over the next decade. The average salary for this line of work starts at $29,000 annually, but that number will rise with experience, geographical location or advanced degrees beyond the basic certification level.
A Typical Day as a Laboratory Assistant
Working as a laboratory assistant in clinical experiments and treatments can be an exciting and rewarding career. Most laboratory assistants work either in a private medical facility or in a hospital. The hours for this career are relatively standard and typically start at nine in the morning and run until five in the evening. As a laboratory assistant, you might prepare specimens, run introductory tests for slides or keep the laboratory records organized for the head scientists working in the lab. This career is ideal for those who find science interesting as well as those who are considering to pursue advanced science degrees at a later date.
Advantages of Online Education
If you are interested in working as a clinical assistant in a laboratory, you might consider earning your degree or certification online rather than in a traditional college campus setting. Online degrees offer incredible convenience and flexibility, allowing students to work full time while pursuing their degrees. As long as you have access to a computer and a connection to the Internet, you can stream live video lectures, listen to recorded classroom discussions, study or even take exams from the comfort of home.