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Top 10 Lab Assistant Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top lab assistant certifications available to those interested in working in a lab setting.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for a lab assistant in the job market because they demonstrate to employers that the individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the job effectively. Certifications show that the individual has received formal training, which is often required for certain positions. They also provide evidence that an individual is well-versed in safety protocols, accurate data collection and analysis techniques, and other core competencies needed to excel in a laboratory setting. Additionally, certifications can make an applicant more attractive to potential employers and can open up opportunities for career advancement.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Lab Assistants and explain how they can help to further a lab assistant's career.

What are Lab Assistant Certifications?

Lab assistant certification is a professional credential that recognizes individuals who have the knowledge and skills necessary to work in laboratory settings. This certification demonstrates to employers that an individual has the expertise necessary to assist with scientific research, experiments, and data collection.

Lab assistant certification can help individuals stand out from other applicants when applying for positions in laboratories. It also gives them the confidence they need to be successful in their job. Additionally, having this certification may open up opportunities for further advancement within the field, such as becoming a lab manager or supervisor. Lab assistant certification also provides individuals with a greater understanding of laboratory procedures and equipment, which can improve their overall performance at work. Finally, having this certification shows employers that an individual is committed to continuing their education and staying up-to-date on current trends and technologies in the field.

Pro Tip: When seeking a lab assistant certification, make sure to research the requirements of the program and ensure that you have the necessary qualifications. Additionally, take advantage of any available resources or study materials to prepare for the exam.

Related: What does a Lab Assistant do?

Top 10 Lab Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Lab Assistants today.

1. Certified Laboratory Assistant (CLA)

Certified Laboratory Assistant (CLA) is a certification program designed for individuals who wish to work in the laboratory environment. The program provides comprehensive training and knowledge of laboratory safety, laboratory procedures, and laboratory equipment. It is an excellent way to gain entry-level employment in the medical, research, or industrial laboratory fields.

The CLA certification requires completion of an accredited course that includes both classroom and hands-on instruction. The course typically takes approximately three months to complete and covers topics such as laboratory safety, quality control, specimen collection, data analysis, and instrumentation. Upon successful completion of the course, candidates must pass a final exam in order to receive their certification.

To get Certified Laboratory Assistant (CLA) certification you must first complete an accredited course from a recognized institution or organization. After completing the course you will need to take the final exam which is administered by the certifying body. Once you have passed the exam you will be awarded your CLA certificate.

The cost of obtaining Certified Laboratory Assistant (CLA) certification can vary depending on where you take your course and how much study material is required for each topic covered in the program. Generally speaking, most programs range from $500 - $1000 USD depending on the length of time it takes to complete the program and any additional materials needed for studying purposes.

2. Certified Clinical Laboratory Assistant (CCLA)

Certified Clinical Laboratory Assistant (CCLA) is a certification program offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). This certification is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of laboratory assistants who work in clinical laboratories.

To become certified, individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Successfully complete an accredited training program in clinical laboratory science, or have two years of full-time experience working as a clinical laboratory assistant within the past five years.
  • Pass the CCLA exam administered by ASCP.

The CCLA exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and covers topics such as specimen collection and processing, safety and quality control procedures, instrumentation, data analysis and reporting, and laboratory regulations. The exam takes approximately three hours to complete.

The cost of taking the CCLA exam varies depending on your membership status with ASCP. For non-members, the fee is $195; for members it is $145. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with registering for the exam or obtaining study materials.

Once you have successfully passed the CCLA exam, you will be awarded a certificate that can be used to demonstrate your expertise in clinical laboratory science to employers and other professionals in your field.

3. National Certified Medical Laboratory Technician (NCMLT)

National Certified Medical Laboratory Technician (NCMLT) is a certification program offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). It is designed to recognize individuals who have met the educational and professional requirements of the medical laboratory field. The certification is valid for five years and requires renewal every five years.

To become a NCMLT, you must have completed an accredited program in medical laboratory technology or a related field, have at least one year of full-time clinical laboratory experience, and pass the ASCP Board of Certification exam. The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering topics such as hematology, chemistry, microbiology, immunology/serology, and blood banking/transfusion medicine.

The cost to take the exam varies depending on your membership status with ASCP. For non-members, it costs $225; for members it costs $175; and for students it costs $125. Additionally, there are fees associated with registering for the exam and renewing your certification every five years.

Overall, becoming a NCMLT can take up to two years depending on how quickly you complete your education and gain relevant experience.

4. American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT)

The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) credential is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and skills in the field of phlebotomy. The CPT credential is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a level of proficiency in the practice of phlebotomy, which includes performing venipunctures, skin punctures, and other blood collection techniques.

To become certified as an ASCP CPT, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an exam administered by the ASCP Board of Certification. To be eligible for the exam, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent; at least one year of full-time experience as a phlebotomist; or successful completion of a formal training program in phlebotomy from an accredited institution.

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as anatomy and physiology, specimen collection and handling, infection control procedures, laboratory safety practices, quality assurance practices, patient care techniques, and more. Candidates have three hours to complete the exam.

The cost to take the ASCP CPT exam varies depending on whether you are an ASCP member or non-member. For members it costs $135; for non-members it costs $175. In addition to the examination fee there may be additional fees associated with obtaining your certification such as processing fees and background check fees if applicable.

Once you have successfully passed the exam you will receive your official certification from the ASCP Board of Certification which is valid for five years from the date it was issued.

5. National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) is a nationally recognized certification for medical assistants. It is intended to demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the duties of a clinical medical assistant. The CCMA certification requires passing an exam that tests knowledge in areas such as anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, and clinical procedures.

It typically takes about six months to prepare for the CCMA exam. During this time, you should study the material in the NHA's official study guide and practice with sample questions. You can also take online courses or attend classes at a local college or university to help you prepare for the exam.

To get your CCMA certification, you must pass the NHA's CCMA exam with a score of at least 70%. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within two hours. After passing the exam, you will receive your certification within four weeks.

The cost of taking the CCMA exam varies depending on your location and whether you are taking it online or in-person. Generally speaking, it costs between $125 and $150 to take the test online, while in-person exams cost between $140 and $170.

6. American Medical Technologists (AMT) Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

American Medical Technologists (AMT) Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) is a professional certification for medical assistants. The RMA credential is the only nationally accredited and recognized certification for medical assistants in the United States. It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of medical assisting.

To become an AMT Registered Medical Assistant, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements, which include having completed an accredited medical assistant program or a combination of education and experience in the field of medical assisting. Applicants must also pass an exam administered by AMT.

The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as clinical procedures, pharmacology, laboratory procedures, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, patient care management, administrative duties, infection control and safety practices.

It typically takes about six months to prepare for the exam. The cost of taking the exam depends on whether you are a member or nonmember of AMT; members pay $125 while nonmembers pay $175.

7. National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) Medical Assistant Certification

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) Medical Assistant Certification is a nationally recognized certification program that verifies an individual’s knowledge and skills in the medical assisting field. It is designed to provide employers with assurance that the certified medical assistant has the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their job duties competently.

To obtain NCCT Medical Assistant Certification, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements, including having graduated from an accredited medical assistant program or having at least five years of full-time work experience as a medical assistant. Once all eligibility requirements are met, applicants can register for the exam online or by mail. The exam consists of 160 multiple-choice questions and takes two hours to complete.

The cost of taking the NCCT Medical Assistant Certification Exam varies depending on where you take it, but typically ranges from $90-$125. After successfully passing the exam, you will receive your certification within four weeks.

8. International Society for Clinical Laboratory Technology (ISCLT) Certified Lab Technician

The International Society for Clinical Laboratory Technology (ISCLT) Certified Lab Technician is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated their knowledge and skills in the field of laboratory technology. The program is open to individuals who have completed a recognized laboratory training program, or have at least two years of experience working in a clinical laboratory.

To become an ISCLT Certified Lab Technician, applicants must pass an examination that covers topics such as medical terminology, quality assurance, safety procedures, specimen collection and processing techniques, instrumentation and data analysis. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and is administered online or by mail.

The cost of the exam varies depending on the country in which it is taken. In the United States, the fee is $200 USD. The exam typically takes 2-3 hours to complete.

Once an applicant has successfully passed the exam they will receive their ISCLT Certified Lab Technician certificate. This certificate can be used to demonstrate to employers that an individual has met the requirements for certification in this field.

9. American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) Certified Lab Technician

The American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) Certified Lab Technician (CLT) Program is a professional certification program for laboratory technicians who work in the field of bioanalysis. The program is designed to recognize and promote the knowledge, skills, and abilities of laboratory technicians working in the field of bioanalysis.

It takes approximately six months to complete the requirements for AAB CLT certification. To become certified, applicants must have a minimum of two years’ experience as a laboratory technician in the field of bioanalysis and pass an examination administered by AAB. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as safety procedures, sample preparation, instrumentation and data analysis.

To get AAB CLT certification, applicants must first register with AAB and pay an application fee. Once registered, applicants will be given access to online study materials and practice exams to help them prepare for the CLT exam. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their official AAB CLT certificate.

The cost for AAB CLT certification varies depending on whether or not you are already an active member of AAB. For non-members, the cost is $400 plus applicable taxes; for members it is $200 plus applicable taxes.

10. American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) Certified Medical Administrative Specialist

The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) Certified Medical Administrative Specialist (CMAS) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary to perform medical administrative tasks in a variety of healthcare settings. This certification is intended for those who are already working as medical administrators, or those who wish to enter the field.

In order to become certified, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an exam administered by the AAMA. The exam consists of two parts: a written portion and a performance-based assessment. The written portion covers topics such as medical terminology, coding, billing, insurance processing, patient scheduling and appointment management, electronic health records management, and more. The performance-based assessment requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to complete real-world tasks related to medical administration.

It typically takes between six months and one year to prepare for the CMAS exam. During this time period, applicants should review study materials provided by the AAMA and practice with sample questions from past exams. Additionally, some employers may offer on-the-job training programs that can help prepare employees for the exam.

The cost of taking the CMAS exam varies depending on whether you are an AAMA member or nonmember. For members, it costs $150; for nonmembers it costs $200. Additionally, there is an additional fee of $50 if you need to retake either part of the exam.

Once certified, individuals must renew their certification every five years by completing continuing education credits or retaking the CMAS exam.

Do You Really Need a Lab Assistant Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual’s goals and career aspirations. A Lab Assistant Certificate can be beneficial for those who want to pursue a career in the lab sciences, as it may provide additional training and qualifications that are necessary for certain positions. Furthermore, employers may look favorably upon those who have obtained their certificate, as it demonstrates a commitment to learning and excellence in the field.

However, a Lab Assistant Certificate is not necessarily necessary for everyone. If you are simply looking to gain experience in the field or are interested in performing basic laboratory tasks, then there is no need to obtain a certification. In these cases, an internship or volunteer work may be more suitable and provide more practical experience than a certificate would. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if obtaining a Lab Assistant Certificate will give you an advantage when pursuing your career goals.

Related: Lab Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Lab Assistant Certifications

Q1: What is a lab assistant certification?

A1: A lab assistant certification is an official recognition that certifies an individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to work as a laboratory assistant. It typically includes instruction in laboratory safety, lab techniques, and basic laboratory equipment.

Q2: How do I become certified as a lab assistant?

A2: To become certified as a lab assistant, you must complete an approved training program and pass an exam. Depending on the specific program, you may also need to have some related work experience or educational background in the sciences.

Q3: How long does it take to get certified?

A3: The length of time it takes to become certified depends on the specific program you choose. Some programs can be completed in as little as six months while others may take up to two years.

Q4: Are there any prerequisites for becoming certified?

A4: Most programs require applicants to have either a high school diploma or GED equivalent prior to enrolling in the program. Additionally, some programs may require applicants to have previous experience or education in the sciences.

Q5: Is there an age requirement for being certified?

A5: Generally speaking, there is no minimum age requirement for becoming certified as a lab assistant; however, some programs may require applicants to be at least 18 years old.