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Become A Laboratory Associate

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Working As A Laboratory Associate

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $40,787

    Average Salary

What Does A Laboratory Associate Do

Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.

Duties

Biological technicians typically do the following:

  • Set up, maintain, and clean laboratory instruments and equipment, such as microscopes, scales, and test tubes
  • Gather and prepare biological samples, such as blood, food, and bacteria cultures, for laboratory analysis
  • Conduct biological tests and experiments 
  • Document their work, including procedures, observations, and results
  • Analyze experimental data and interpret results
  • Write reports that summarize their findings

Most biological technicians work on teams. Biological technicians typically are responsible for doing scientific tests, experiments, and analyses under the supervision of biologists or other scientists who direct and evaluate their work. Biological technicians use traditional laboratory instruments, advanced robotics, and automated equipment to conduct experiments. They use specialized computer software to collect, analyze, and model experimental data. Some biological technicians collect samples in the field, so they may need certain skills, such as the ability to hike long distances over sometimes rugged terrain to collect water samples.

Biological technicians work in many research areas. They may assist medical researchers by helping to develop new medicines and treatments used to prevent, treat, or cure diseases.

Biological technicians working in a microbiological context, sometimes referred to as laboratory assistants, typically study living microbes and perform techniques specific to microbiology, such as growing cultures in petri dishes or staining specimens to aid in their identification.

Technicians working in biotechnology apply the knowledge and techniques they have gained from basic research to product development.  

Biological technicians also may work in private industry and assist in the study of a wide range of topics concerning mining and industrial production. They may test samples in environmental impact studies, or monitor production processes to help ensure that products are not contaminated.

Biological technicians working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other government agencies may perform biological testing to support agricultural research and wildlife and resource management goals.

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How To Become A Laboratory Associate

Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. It is important for prospective biological technicians to gain laboratory experience while they are in school.

Education

Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. Most colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in the biological sciences.

Biological science programs usually include courses in general biology, as well as in specific subfields such as ecology, microbiology, and physiology. In addition to taking courses in biology, students must study chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Computer science courses are helpful for learning how to model and simulate biological processes and for learning how to operate some laboratory equipment. 

Laboratory experience is important for prospective biological technicians, so students should take biology courses that emphasize laboratory work.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Biological technicians need to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision.

Communication skills. Biological technicians must understand and follow the instructions of their managing scientists. They also need to be able to communicate their processes and findings clearly in written reports.

Critical-thinking skills. Biological technicians draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.

Observational skills. Biological technicians must constantly monitor their experiments. They need to keep a complete, accurate record of their work, including the conditions under which the experiment was carried out, the procedures they followed, and the results they obtained.

Technical skills. Biological technicians need to set up and operate sophisticated equipment and instruments. They also may need to adjust equipment to ensure that experiments are conducted properly.

Other Experience

Prospective biological technicians should have laboratory experience. In addition to coursework, students may gain laboratory experience during summer internships with prospective employers, such as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers, or in university laboratories.

Advancement

Biological technicians may advance to scientist positions, such as microbiologist, after a few years of experience working as a technician or after earning a master’s degree or Ph.D. Gaining more experience and higher levels of education often allows biological technicians to move into positions such as natural sciences managers or postsecondary teachers.

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Laboratory Associate jobs

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Laboratory Associate Career Paths

Laboratory Associate
Associate Scientist Scientist Senior Scientist
Associate Director
8 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Specialist Project Coordinator
Associate Project Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Property Manager Compliance Specialist
Compliance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Analyst Quality Assurance Analyst Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
10 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist Laboratory Supervisor
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Chemist Laboratory Manager Quality Assurance Manager
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Technician Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Scientist Senior Scientist
Principal Scientist
12 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Manager Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Analyst Quality Assurance Specialist Quality Assurance
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Laboratory Scientist Laboratory Supervisor Laboratory Manager
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Pharmacist Technician Lead Technician Technical Director
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Associate Scientist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Chemist Project Manager Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Research Associate
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Research Scientist
Senior Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Pharmacist Technician Medical Technologist Research Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist Home Health Aid Warehouse Associate
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Laboratory Analyst 2.8 years
Laboratory Chemist 2.5 years
Laboratory Aide 1.8 years
Laboratory Worker 1.8 years
Laboratory Helper 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 9.0%
Cashier 7.7%
Volunteer 3.3%
Associate 3.3%
Server 2.1%
Researcher 2.1%
Top Employers After
Cashier 6.4%
Internship 5.8%
Associate 4.9%
Manager 4.0%
Chemist 3.4%
Scientist 3.4%

Laboratory Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

58.8%

Male

39.1%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

72.5%

Hispanic or Latino

12.3%

Asian

11.7%

Unknown

2.6%

Black or African American

1.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.5%

French

15.5%

Japanese

7.1%

Tagalog

6.0%

German

4.8%

Russian

3.6%

Swahili

2.4%

Chinese

2.4%

Mandarin

2.4%

Arabic

2.4%

Italian

2.4%

Portuguese

1.2%

Hindi

1.2%

Nepali

1.2%

Turkish

1.2%

Lithuanian

1.2%

Amharic

1.2%

Dari

1.2%

Mongolian

1.2%

Armenian

1.2%
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Laboratory Associate Education

Schools

San Jose State University

7.6%

University of California - Davis

7.6%

University of Phoenix

7.6%

University of California - San Diego

7.6%

New Mexico State University

7.0%

University of California - Irvine

5.8%

North Carolina State University

5.8%

California State University - Northridge

4.7%

University of California - Santa Barbara

4.7%

California State University - Los Angeles

4.7%

Iowa State University

4.7%

California State University - Fullerton

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.1%

University of Southern California

4.1%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.5%

University of California - Berkeley

3.5%

University of California - Santa Cruz

3.5%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

3.5%

Johns Hopkins University

3.5%

University of Alabama

2.9%
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Majors

Biology

23.5%

Chemistry

11.4%

Business

9.0%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

7.1%

Nursing

5.3%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

4.3%

Medical Technician

4.0%

Medical Assisting Services

3.8%

Microbiology

3.4%

Health Care Administration

3.4%

Pharmacy

3.3%

Biotechnology

3.0%

Psychology

2.8%

Computer Science

2.6%

Graphic Design

2.6%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

2.3%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Chemical Engineering

2.1%

Management

2.0%

Photography

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.8%

Masters

17.4%

Other

15.8%

Associate

9.5%

Certificate

5.0%

Doctorate

2.8%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Laboratory Associate Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate Laboratory Member Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Jan 06, 2016 $170,000
Associate Laboratory Member Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $141,885
Assocoate Laboratory Member Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Oct 10, 2010 $134,392
Principal Quality Lab Associate Baxalta Us Inc. Milford, MA Jul 01, 2015 $90,000
Clinical Laboratory Associate Color Global, Inc. Burlingame, CA May 10, 2015 $90,000
Crime Lab Associate Georgia Bureau of Investigation Decatur, GA Sep 30, 2011 $62,923 -
$110,012
Lab Associate Nanostellar, Inc. Redwood City, CA Sep 25, 2012 $61,984
PD & TS Laboratory Associate Norwich Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Norwich, NY Sep 18, 2013 $60,211
Laboratory Associate EMES Professional Associates, PC Cranford, NJ Apr 30, 2015 $60,195
Laboratory Associate Bioquiddity Incorporated San Francisco, CA Sep 14, 2016 $60,000 -
$75,000
Clinical Laboratory Associate (Qa/Ac) Unipack Inc. Belleville, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $56,000
Clinical Laboratory Associate (Qa/Ac) Unipack Inc. Belleville, NJ Sep 01, 2015 $56,000
Associate Research Lab Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas Dallas, TX Aug 15, 2009 $50,485
Laboratory Associate EMES Professional Associates Cranford, NJ Oct 01, 2015 $46,717
Laboratory Associate EMES Professional Associates Cranford, NJ Oct 01, 2014 $46,093
Laboratory & Reserach Associate Institute for Advanced Learning & Research Danville, VA Sep 01, 2011 $43,998
Lab Associate EMES Professional Associates Cranford, NJ Oct 01, 2011 $42,053
Laboratory Associate Arteriocyte Inc. Cleveland, OH Oct 01, 2012 $42,000
Laboratory Associate New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology Socorro, NM Dec 09, 2013 $38,985
Bio-Analytical Lab Associate Sannova Analytical, Inc. Somerset, NJ Aug 28, 2014 $38,896 -
$50,000
Laboratory Associate FB Laboratories Inc. Hauppauge, NY May 04, 2015 $38,700
Laboratory Associate FB Laboratories, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Oct 01, 2015 $38,000
Teaching Laboratory Associate Iowa State University of Science and Technology Ames, IA Sep 04, 2014 $37,000
Teaching Laboratory Associate Iowa State University of Science and Technology Ames, IA Jul 19, 2010 $35,210
Laboratory Associate Theranos, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 23, 2014 $35,000 -
$50,000
Lab Associate Etonbio Inc. San Diego, CA Jan 18, 2013 $32,400
Lab Associate Etonbio Inc. San Diego, CA Feb 01, 2013 $32,400

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Top Skills for A Laboratory Associate

LaboratoryProceduresPhotoLabEquipmentCustomerServiceSpecimenCollectionCellCultureBiologySafetyAnalyticalMethodsDNAWetChemistryDataEntryHplcPCRPHMeterRawMaterialsPhlebotomyLimsTroubleshootElisaComputerLab

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Top Laboratory Associate Skills

  1. Laboratory Procedures
  2. Photo Lab Equipment
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed routine laboratory procedures, keep work environment clean.
  • Processed photo orders, sold cameras, maintained photo lab equipment.
  • Maintained precise accuracy of a till while providing excellent customer service to guest checking out and paying for their merchandise.
  • Followed established procedures for patient identification and specimen collection based test orders.
  • Trained in basic cell isolation and cell culture procedures and methods.

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