Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant Study Guide

Get prepared for your Certified medical laboratory assistant Exam with our comprehensive study guide.

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The certified medical laboratory Assistant (CMA) Study Guide is designed to help candidates prepare for the certification exam. The guide covers all of the content areas on the exam, including Medical Terminology anatomy and physiology, phlebotomy, clinical chemistry, hematology, microbiology, and immunology. The guide also includes a practice exam with answer key.

What is a Medical Laboratory Assistant?

Medical laboratory assistants (MLAs) are health care professionals who work closely with medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) in all areas of the laboratory. They perform routine technical and clerical duties according to established procedures. Many of these duties are related to specimen processing and the operation of automated equipment. MLAs also maintain inventory, prepare reagents and media, and quality control testing.

In Canada, the certification process for MLAs is voluntary. Although certification is not required for employment, many employers prefer to hire MLAs who have been certified by the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS).

To become certified, candidates must successfully complete a CSMLS-approved MLA program and pass a national certification exam.

Duties of a Medical Laboratory Assistant

The duties of a medical laboratory assistant (MLA) may vary depending on the employer, but typically involve performing administrative tasks and helping with lab procedures.

Administrative tasks may include answering phones, scheduling appointments, and handling billing and insurance paperwork. MLAs also often collect patient specimens, which may involve taking blood or urine samples. They may also prepare slides for microscope examination or run lab equipment.

Most MLAs work in hospitals, clinics, or private laboratories under the supervision of medical technologists or other laboratory personnel. They typically work full time during regular business hours, although some may be required to work evenings or weekends.

Education and Training Requirements

Medical laboratory assistants (MLAs) are an essential part of the healthcare team. They perform a variety of tasks in the laboratory, including collecting and processing specimens, performing clerical duties, and providing patient care.

In order to become a MLA, you will need to complete a accredited medical laboratory assistant program. These programs typically take one year to complete and result in a certificate or diploma. Some community colleges also offer two-year associate degree programs in medical laboratory technology.

After completing your educational program, you will need to obtain certification from a nationally recognized organization, such as the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCALP). In order to be eligible for certification, you must have completed an accredited MLT program and pass a written exam. Certified MLAs are required to renew their certification every three years by completing continuing education credits and paying a renewal fee.


The National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA) grants the Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant (CMA) credential to candidates who satisfactorily complete a written examination. The CMA (NCA) is recognized by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA 88) as a personnel category eligible for certification by an approved certifying organization.

The CMA (NCA) credential is only valid for five years. To maintain active status, CMAs (NCAs) must submit proof of continuing education credits or retake the certification examination.

Salary and Job Outlook

In 2018, the median annual wage for medical laboratory technicians was $51,770. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,580.

Employment of medical laboratory technicians is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Advances in medical technologies and increases in the number of tests performed will continue to drive demand for qualified medical laboratory technicians.

Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Laboratory Assistant

-The work of medical laboratory assistants is critical to the success of many medical procedures and treatments.
-Because they are responsible for collect specimen and prepping them for testing, they play a key role in patient care.
-Medical laboratory assistants typically work in hospitals or clinics, which can offer good job security and benefits.
-The job can be fast-paced and interesting, as no two days are alike.
-Medical laboratory assistants typically work full time, and may have to work evenings or weekends to meet the demands of their job.
-The work can be repetitive and sometimes tedious.
-It can also be emotionally taxing, as they may deal with blood and other bodily fluids on a regular basis.

Medical Laboratory Assistant Career Paths

Medical Laboratory Assistant (MLA) is a relatively new occupation that is in high demand due to the increasing demand for Health Care services. MLAs work in all areas of the laboratory and their duties vary depending on the specific area they work in.An MLA’s duties may include performing blood tests, preparing slide specimens for examination, and operating laboratory equipment.

Most MLAs have at least an Associate’s Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science or a related field, although some have a Bachelor’s Degree. In order to become certified, MLAs must pass a national certification exam administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

Certified MLAs are eligible for many different types of positions, including working in hospitals, clinics, private laboratories, and research facilities. Some MLAs may also choose to specialize in a particular area of laboratory work, such as blood banking or histology. With experience, MLAs may advance to supervisory or managerial positions.

10 Steps to Becoming a Medical Laboratory Assistant

If you’re interested in becoming a medical laboratory assistant (MLA), there are a few steps you’ll need to take. Here’s an overview of the process, from completing an accredited training program to finding MLA jobs and becoming certified.

1. Earn a high school diploma or equivalent
2. Complete an accredited Medical Laboratory Assistant training program
3. Pass the Board of Certification (BOC) exam
4. Find an entry-level MLA job
5. Complete on-the-job training
6.Earn professional certification (optional)
7. Advance your career by pursuing additional education or specialty certification


Q: What is a Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant (CMLA)?
A: CMLAs are health care professionals who work in medical laboratories under the direction of licensed physicians and other health care providers. They perform a variety of tasks, including preparing and processing laboratory specimens, conducting laboratory tests, and operating laboratory equipment.

Q: How do I become a CMLA?
A: You must complete an accredited MLT program and pass the accredited national certification examination for medical laboratory assistants.

Q: What is the difference between a CMLA and a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)?
A: CMLAs are generally responsible for routine tasks in the medical laboratory, while MLTs are responsible for more complex tasks. Both roles require successful completion of an accredited MLT program and passing the accredited national certification examination.

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