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Running a laboratory is serious business. And because of that, it requires a host of skills. If you think you would like to be in charge of a laboratory, then you'll need to have great skills in leadership, communication, organization, multi-tasking, problem-solving, and budgeting. As a laboratory director, you'll be responsible for the overall operation and administration of the laboratory. Laboratory directors can end up dealing with a wide range of issues, including management of health and safety, regulatory affairs, equipment and facilities maintenance, and supervision of staff.

You will also be responsible for hiring competent and qualified personnel who can perform the required tasks. Since you'll be in a leadership position, you can also expect to collaborate with the organization's top executives to report on research goals and testing activities at the lab.

Most employers prefer to hire lab directors with a Bachelor's degree in a field of study related to the specific industry of the lab. Previous experience working in a lab as a technician or scientist is also helpful. Since you may end up managing complex budgets, you may find it beneficial to take business classes or earn an MBA.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a laboratory director. For example, did you know that they make an average of $39.32 an hour? That's $81,784 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 18% and produce 71,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Laboratory Director Do

There are certain skills that many laboratory directors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, detail oriented and technical skills.

Learn more about what a Laboratory Director does

How To Become a Laboratory Director

If you're interested in becoming a laboratory director, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 60.1% of laboratory directors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 16.8% of laboratory directors have master's degrees. Even though most laboratory directors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a laboratory director. When we researched the most common majors for a laboratory director, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on laboratory director resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a laboratory director. In fact, many laboratory director jobs require experience in a role such as medical technologist. Meanwhile, many laboratory directors also have previous career experience in roles such as laboratory manager or research assistant.

Laboratory Director Career Paths

Average Salary for a Laboratory Director

Laboratory Directors in America make an average salary of $81,784 per year or $39 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $123,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $54,000 per year.
Average Laboratory Director Salary
$81,784 Yearly
$39.32 hourly
$54,000
10 %
$81,000
Median
$123,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Laboratory Director Education

Laboratory Director Majors

17.7 %
16.0 %

Laboratory Director Degrees

Bachelors

60.1 %

Masters

16.8 %

Doctorate

9.6 %

Top Colleges for Laboratory Directors

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

3. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

6. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

7. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,625
Enrollment
17,407

8. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

9. University of California, Irvine

Irvine, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,700
Enrollment
29,722

10. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Private

In-State Tuition
$17,653
Enrollment
16,405

Top Skills For a Laboratory Director

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.1% of laboratory directors listed laboratory equipment on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and detail oriented are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Laboratory Director Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Laboratory Director templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Laboratory Director resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Laboratory Director Demographics

Laboratory Director Gender Distribution

Male
Male
56%
Female
Female
44%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among laboratory directors, 44.1% of them are women, while 55.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among laboratory directors is White, which makes up 68.4% of all laboratory directors.

  • The most common foreign language among laboratory directors is Spanish at 47.5%.

Online Courses For Laboratory Director That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Teaching in University Science Laboratories (Developing Best Practice)
coursera

This course is developed to improve the effectiveness of laboratory classes in higher education. It aims to support teachers to improve their teaching skills for active learning in university science laboratory courses. It will show you how laboratory sessions can differ with respect to their aim and expected learning outcomes, how to engage students for learning and how to cope with their different levels of pre-knowledge and experience and probe their understanding. Last but not least it will...

Technology Entrepreneurship: Lab to Market
edX (Global)

Universities, government labs, and private companies invest billions of dollars in the research and development of breakthrough technologies that have the potential to transform industries and lives — but very few of these technologies ever leave the lab. Those that do often fail to find compelling market applications. So what determines success? How does an invention become an enduring innovation? In this introductory course, developed in collaboration with the Laboratory for Innovation...

Become A Master in HPLC Technique - (Liquid Chromatography)
udemy
4.1
(712)

Become A Professional in HPLC From A to Z - Your Comprehensive guideline. The first and the lonely Chemistry HPLC course...

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Best States For a Laboratory Director

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a laboratory director. The best states for people in this position are Idaho, California, Nevada, and Arizona. Laboratory directors make the most in Idaho with an average salary of $113,630. Whereas in California and Nevada, they would average $112,550 and $109,899, respectively. While laboratory directors would only make an average of $100,534 in Arizona, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Laboratory Director Jobs:
3,338
Highest 10% Earn:
$177,000
Location Quotient:
1.2 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Arizona

Total Laboratory Director Jobs:
598
Highest 10% Earn:
$163,000
Location Quotient:
1.08 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Idaho

Total Laboratory Director Jobs:
130
Highest 10% Earn:
$163,000
Location Quotient:
0.83 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Laboratory Directors

How Do Laboratory Director Rate Their Jobs?

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What do you like the most about working as Laboratory Director?

Keeping my lab in compliance with the local and state laws and communicating with the health care personals. Show More

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