It helps to have some medical background, or license in phlebotomy. Some science courses definitely wouldn’t hurt either.
I worked in animal medicine as an assistant for eight years. I enjoyed it, but the poor pay and high physical demand encouraged me to switch to human med. Phlebotomy school was quick and relatively cheap, so I got licensed. I worked at a blood bank for peanuts for six months to get my experience in, then was hired at a hospital soon after.
I have a multitude of job responsibilities. I receive specimens throughout the day from many different sites. I batch specimens to be sent to reference labs. I maintain the huge modular analytic machine that runs s the specimens. I plate specimens in cultures. I accession surgical and cytology specimens for the pathologists. I also pick up specimens for other departments when called.
The best part about my job is there’s always something new to learn. I am so much happier here than my last job, and though it can definitely get stressful, I am thriving.
Hospital benefits, chance to learn more on the job, exposure to many different branches of hospital life
One downside to this position is you tend to feel like everyone’s’ butler. Because you are so integral to keep the lab flowing, it’s easy for people to start taking you for granted and boss your around or ask for favors when they are fully capable of doing it themselves. Words of caution would be to stand your ground and defend your position - if you’re busy, tell them!
Depending where you live, the entry-level pay is higher than minimum wage. This is the highest paid job I’ve had in my life, and I’m working part time because I can afford to work and go to school, a luxury I didn’t have before.
I would say this job is in demand now.
Things you can do to get started as a lab assistant would be to become a licensed phlebotomist, and/or take a couple courses at your community college in microbiology, or something similar.