What Our Students Say
Pedro Herrea, 2010 CLA Graduate
Clinical laboratory is one of the most essential components in today’s medicine. Without a lab, it would be extremely difficult for physicians, doctors, and providers to get accurate diagnoses, provide patient treatment, or create a plan of care. Back in 2009, I decided to attend Edmonds Community College and enroll in the Clinical Laboratory Assistant program (CLA). I enrolled because I wanted to get a job and be employable. With the large increase in demand for health care professionals, getting into health care was the best choice I could have made.
Edmonds CC is the only place in Washington that offers such a great program, which can be completed in just a matter of months. While attending Edmonds CC, I became very familiar with lab practices and testing safety, as well as job opportunities possibly available for me. While completing my clinical internship for CLA and phlebotomy, my instructor encouraged me to apply for an open health technician position at the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service. After submitting an application, I was selected and given a GS-5 starting pay grade.
During my first year on the job, my supervisor was very impressed about the small amount of training I needed for the job, thanks to my training at Edmonds CC. After completing my first year, I was promoted to the GS-6 pay grade and took a small role helping with the education and training of several interns from various college and universities. While doing that, I applied for an internal position with Research and Development, was selected, and began a new job as research assistant. After only six months on the job and taking a few courses online, I was appointed the acting research coordinator. Currently, I hold the full position of research coordinator and supervise another staff member. My salary is more than $50,000, and there is a process in place to help me make even more.
Thanks to the CLA and Phlebotomy training by Erika Ferreri at Edmonds CC, I have a dream job with great benefits I wouldn’t trade for any other.
Stacey Knutson, 2011 CLA Graduate
I've always been interested in a career in health care, but wasn't sure of which path to take. My decision to enroll in the CLA program at Edmonds Community College was the best choice I've ever made. I drove 40 miles each way for the opportunity to train with Erika Ferreri. Her professionalism and constant encouragement helped me with not only my education, but my personal confidence as well. I was employed at a private practice shortly after graduation, and refer to my work in the laboratory as "The Discovery Process." The results I obtain then allow the doctors to plan treatment for patients. I'm thrilled to have such a vital role in the health care field.
Jewelynn Merrill, 2012 CLA Graduate
Edmonds Community College has a great NAACLS-approved CLA program. The instructors are knowledgeable about the field, and some of them are currently working as lab assistants in the largest hospitals in the area. The instructors make the laboratory available for the students to practice their skills in lab assisting and, most importantly, to practice phlebotomy skills. I had a great experience with the CLA program at Edmonds CC.
Camille Carnahan, 2013 CLA Graduate
I have been extremely happy with the CLA program at Edmonds Community College. Initially, the idea of working in a laboratory seemed exciting, but intimidating. However, the instructors work hands on with each student in a mock lab setting with real tools of the trade to ensure competency and comfort level with all aspects of assigned tasks. Whether it's hands-on instruction, lectures, touring actual lab facilities, or working in the field during externship, the program is designed to knowledgeably walk you through a day in the life of a lab assistant.
The curriculum and training are comprehensive enough that I gained more skills than expected and qualify for a range of jobs in the field now, instead of just one. Furthermore, the faculty have invested time in building relationships with local health care facilities and hiring managers, and the program and its graduates have a great reputation in the laboratory community. Thanks to my training, I was fortunate enough to get hired during my externship and have felt really prepared for the work that I now do every day!
Rachel McCue, 2015 Graduate
I got a job within a few weeks at The Everett Clinic. I worked there as a phlebotomist and lab assistant, even performing EKGs! Then I moved to the Microbiology lab and worked the swing shift there while I went back to school. Altogether I worked there for about 2 years, leaving just before getting my BS in Biology from UW Bothell (The last few quarters were tough while working). Then I applied to graduate school and got in! I am currently in my second year of my PhD program at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. Moving across the country was difficult, but I have set my sights on academia and nothing will get in my way! I just applied for my first NSF grant and I'm teaching students now. We do a lab where we add EDTA to a mixture to stop the enzymatic process and I always think of what I learned in the CLA program when I explain it. I tell them that the purple or lavender tubes have EDTA in them and explain how it helps prevent clotting. It really gets through to have that real world experience. If I wouldn't have worked in a lab, I don't think I would have been as strong of a research candidate to get into grad school.