What do medical laboratory doctors do

How do I become a medical laboratory assistant?

also known as laboratory assistant

As a child, were you most excited about the chemistry kit under the Christmas tree? You are not disgusted with anything and have no problem with blood or other body fluids? Also, do you think that knows looks damn good on you? Then laboratory assistant could be the job for you! As a laboratory assistant, you support doctors in diagnosing diseases by examining blood, tissue or cell preparations using various methods in the laboratory. This is how you can find out whether the patients are healthy or what is wrong with them. This information will help the doctors you work with decide the best treatment option. You also maintain your machines, make sure that everything runs smoothly in the laboratory and carefully record your experiments. You will come into contact with patients again and again and have an open ear for their concerns and worries.

Characteristics

Required degrees


Medical-technical laboratory assistant

Further training


Biotechnology, medicine

Important school subjects


Biology, chemistry, German, mathematics, physics

Starting salary as a medical laboratory assistant


€ 1.200 – 2.200

Working as a medical laboratory assistant

Important skills as a medical laboratory assistant

As a laboratory assistant, you shouldn't be disgusted with anything so quickly. You work all day with blood, urine and stool samples that you have to analyze and evaluate. Of course you wear gloves and protective clothing, but if you can't see blood, the job is the wrong one for you. You should be able to work very precisely, because you also log analysis results and here the smallest errors can lead to major problems. You also work with a wide variety of chemicals that have to be handled and disposed of exactly according to protocol, and you always have to adhere to strict hygiene regulations in the laboratory. Since you sometimes have contact with patients, for example because you take blood samples yourself, you should be empathetic, warm and sociable. You will learn the chemical knowledge you need for your job and how to use the technical equipment in the laboratory during your training. To document the examinations and results, specific IT programs are usually used, which you will also get to know. In your job you work a lot in a team and prepare the work of doctors and biomedical analysts. So you should definitely be able to work in a team and implement instructions.

Important hard skills

Expertise in chemistry precision work

Important soft skills

AccuracyReliabilityEmpathyTeam ability

How do I become a medical laboratory assistant?

In Austria the laboratory assistant is in one of the 8 medical assistant professions and is thus placed at a school for medical assistant professions. The training duration must be at least 1,300 hours and may only be completed in combination with 2 other assistant training courses. In Germany, if you want to become a laboratory assistant, you will complete a 3-year training course to become a medical-technical laboratory assistant or MTLA. The training takes place at a school or in a clinic and is therefore unpaid in both countries.

Advanced training and specializations

With the completed training to become a medical laboratory assistant, there are plenty of other options open to you. If you are particularly interested in the technical aspect, you can do further training as a medical technician, but you can also do further training as a specialist assistant in your specialization area or do further training as a biomedical specialist analyst. If you have a university entrance qualification, i.e. a high school diploma or a Matura, you can study medicine, or biotechnology, bioinformatics or biological process engineering, if the technical or biological side is more interesting to you.

Future prospects as a medical laboratory assistant

As a medical laboratory assistant, you can work at pharmaceutical companies, in research institutes, at universities or in hospitals and diagnostic centers. Your job opportunities are very diverse and you can decide for yourself in which work environment you would like to work. For example, if you want to deal with people a lot, you can work in a hospital, draw blood yourself, prick venous access and explain test results to patients yourself. If you'd rather contribute to basic research and work in a quieter environment, you can work at a university or research institute and support scientists doing research in molecular biology, microbiology or chemistry, for example. Blood donation services and health authorities also need laboratory assistants. Once you have found out in which area you want to work, you can specialize further. The healthcare industry also has a relatively promising future due to the aging population and the growing need for services.