Many phlebotomists become clinical laboratory technical assistants (CLTA) after receiving their Certified Phlebotomy Technician certificate from an accredited phlebotomy school. CLTAs are testing personnel that assist clinical laboratory scientists (CLS) and medical laboratory technicians (MLT). CLTA positions are available at healthcare organizations or medical centers, such as hospitals or labs.
The laboratory technical assistant processes and prepares specimens for clinical laboratory and reference laboratory testing. They are qualified to perform duties in multiple laboratory sections or operational departments. When preparing the specimens, CLTAs ensure the accuracy of patient information and follow universal precautions and procedures. Clinical lab tech assistants may function as lab phlebotomists and collect blood samples from patients as required.
The clinical laboratory technical assistant may operate automated laboratory instrumentation to assist in laboratory testing. In this role, they may perform or participate with the clinical laboratory scientists in certain portions of semi-automated and manual testing procedures and complex and multiple-step specimen processing.
CLTAs may also assist with logging the inventory of the laboratory supplies. Other lab support responsibilities include collecting and recording data for quality assurance purposes and, if necessary, completing follow-up tasks.
Another responsibility that clinical lab assistants hold is abiding by company practices and regulations. In addition, CLTAs must adhere to all patient and privacy rights, as mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Clinical lab tech assistants must possess a diverse skillset. As a critical member of the laboratory team, CLTAs must have a laboratory background or technical experience as an analytical assistant. Candidates who have taken college-level science classes or accredited phlebotomy courses are desirable. Other necessary technical skills include problem-solving, computer familiarity and abilities, and competency in data entry.
Some medical laboratories may require the clinical lab technical assistant to be a phlebotomist as well. Having phlebotomy experience demonstrates your basic knowledge of blood tests and ability to use medical equipment properly. This skillset also reflects one’s capability of fulfilling lab orders and accurately interpreting lab results. Being a CLTA requires organization skills and great attention to detail. When drawing blood samples or preparing specimens for the lab, lab assistants need to properly label blood vials with the patient’s name, date of birth, and other important identifying information.
Although CLTA duties are highly technical, they must have good interpersonal skills as well. Laboratory settings require that lab assistants demonstrate effective communication with coworkers, nursing and medical staff, and supervisors when disseminating critical information. A future clinical lab technical assistant would also fulfill their responsibilities in a timely manner and abide by all safety measures. Clinical laboratory technical assistants also prioritize patient care through customer service and following company guidelines and procedures.
Phlebotomists and clinical laboratory technical assistants are required to have a high school diploma or GED. Most employers expect CLTA applicants to have at least one year of experience performing blood specimen collections on adults and children. Companies may waive the experience requirement for recent graduates from accredited venipuncture schools, such as PhlebotomyU. Possessing a certificate from an accredited phlebotomy program can help make your CLTA application stand out in the job hiring process. For Californians, having a California Phlebotomy Certificate is critical working alongside Clinical Lab Scientists as a CLTA.
The average salary for a clinical laboratory technical assistant ranges from $35,000 to $42,000 a year. The pay tends to vary by state, with Florida and Oklahoma offering $25,000 salaries for CLTAs and Washington and California laboratories providing $38,000 on average. CLTAs can earn as much as $50,000 depending on their education and experience levels.
When considering a CLTA position, healthcare companies may offer additional benefits. The most common employee benefits include healthcare, dental insurance, eye care, paid time off (PTO), and a 401(k) plan.
Clinical laboratory technical assistants often work full-time with a flexible schedule. CLTA shifts can vary between mornings, afternoons, and nights. CLTAs may also be expected to work on the weekends on a rotating schedule.
Employers recommend that prospective applicants for clinical laboratory technical assistants have a certificate from an accredited phlebotomy institution. PhlebotomyU offers a Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT I) license. Our students receive thorough phlebotomy education in our CPT I course through over 80 hours of classroom experience and at least 40 hours of an externship.
Through PhlebotomyU’s instruction and opportunities to gain hands-on experience, many students have become CLTAs upon completing the program. Contact PhlebotomyU to learn more today.