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The laboratory research assistant is responsible for performing research activities in a laboratory setting following set instructions. He/She performs lab experiments and carries out projects designed by senior lab staff members. He/She conducts experiments using biohazards and other dangerous materials to gain information and test scientific processes. Also, he/she writes detailed reports of their research and experiments and performs routine laboratory maintenance and research activities. Some of his/her other duties include general housekeeping, ELISA assays, preparing solutions, cell cultures, genotyping, ordering, record keeping, and inventory update.

Employers seek applicants with at least a bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, or a related discipline and must have prior experience in a similar role. You may be required to have training related to occupational safety and health, environmental compliance, shipping of hazardous materials, or ionizing radiation. Laboratory research assistants make an average salary of $39,670 per year, which is $19.07 per hour. This varies between $30,000 and $52,000.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a laboratory research assistant. For example, did you know that they make an average of $18.86 an hour? That's $39,238 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 8% and produce 10,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Laboratory Research Assistant Do

There are certain skills that many laboratory research assistants 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 observation skills, communication skills and detail oriented.

Learn more about what a Laboratory Research Assistant does

How To Become a Laboratory Research Assistant

If you're interested in becoming a laboratory research assistant, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 78.0% of laboratory research assistants have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.1% of laboratory research assistants have master's degrees. Even though most laboratory research assistants have a college degree, it's impossible 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 research assistant. When we researched the most common majors for a laboratory research assistant, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on laboratory research assistant resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

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

Laboratory Research Assistant Career Paths

Average Salary for a Laboratory Research Assistant

Laboratory Research Assistants in America make an average salary of $39,238 per year or $19 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $57,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Laboratory Research Assistant Salary
$39,238 Yearly
$18.86 hourly
$26,000
10 %
$39,000
Median
$57,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Laboratory Research Assistant Education

Laboratory Research Assistant Majors

24.7 %

Laboratory Research Assistant Degrees

Bachelors

78.0 %

Masters

11.1 %

Associate

5.2 %

Top Colleges for Laboratory Research Assistants

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

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

3. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

4. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,740
Enrollment
5,567

5. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

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

6. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,399
Enrollment
7,356

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

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

8. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

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

Top Skills For a Laboratory Research Assistant

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, 11.9% of laboratory research assistants listed laboratory equipment on their resume, but soft skills such as observation skills and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Laboratory Research Assistant Resume templates

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

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Laboratory Research Assistant Demographics

Laboratory Research Assistant Gender Distribution

Female
Female
54%
Male
Male
46%

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

  • Among laboratory research assistants, 53.8% of them are women, while 46.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among laboratory research assistants is White, which makes up 59.4% of all laboratory research assistants.

  • The most common foreign language among laboratory research assistants is Spanish at 42.4%.

Online Courses For Laboratory Research Assistant 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.
Statistics / Data Analysis in SPSS: Inferential Statistics
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Increase Your Data Analytic Skills Highly Valued And Sought After By Employers...

Statistics & Data Analysis: Linear Regression Models in SPSS
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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...

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Best States For a Laboratory Research Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a laboratory research assistant. The best states for people in this position are Massachusetts, Alaska, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Laboratory research assistants make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $55,035. Whereas in Alaska and New Jersey, they would average $50,784 and $50,742, respectively. While laboratory research assistants would only make an average of $50,401 in Connecticut, 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. Massachusetts

Total Laboratory Research Assistant Jobs:
2,280
Highest 10% Earn:
$79,000
Location Quotient:
1.79 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. New Jersey

Total Laboratory Research Assistant Jobs:
1,259
Highest 10% Earn:
$76,000
Location Quotient:
1.14 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. Alaska

Total Laboratory Research Assistant Jobs:
139
Highest 10% Earn:
$63,000
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
Full List Of Best States For Laboratory Research Assistants

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Becoming a Laboratory Research Assistant FAQs

How long does it take to be a laboratory assistant?

It takes between one to four years to become a laboratory assistant. Lab assistants are typically only required to hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED.

While a person can become a laboratory assistant with only their high school diploma, it is good to pursue additional education. The quickest way is to complete a vocational school program. Some vocational schools offer laboratory assistant training programs to give candidates the information to succeed in the role.

How much do laboratory assistants make?

Laboratory assistants make about $33,000 a year. This average salary ranges between $27,000 and $39,000 in a year, mainly on experience and education levels.

While laboratory assistants are typically only required to hold a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, they will earn more if they have completed some additional education. This achievement can be through a year vocational school program or a traditional associate's or bachelor's degree program.

What qualifications do you need to be a research assistant?

The qualifications you need to be a research assistant are a bachelor's degree (or in the process of earning one) and a keen interest in the research process.

The duties of a research assistant can vary throughout the life of a research project. In the early stages, you may be required to look for grants or funding opportunities. Many research projects cannot be undertaken without funding from an overseeing body such as a government department, research council, or private company.

Research assistants can be asked to prepare supporting material and help develop a proposal to secure funding.

Research assistants may also be responsible for planning the research project, coordinating tasks, preparing surveys, scheduling interviews, and identifying statistical models and analysis techniques to use.

In the middle stages of the project, research assistants may collect, analyze and interpret data. To do this, they will use data analysis techniques and use graphs, tables, and charts to present key findings.

Finally, towards the end of the project, they may need to prepare a written discussion of the findings and help produce reports or articles. The research team may need to present the outcome of the research project at a conference to the funding agency or any other interested parties.

Research assistants commonly help prepare material such as presentation slides and posters for these conferences. Also, they help in carrying out the following;

  • Carrying out experiments and research in alignment with protocols set by senior team members.

  • Collecting and recording data.

  • Conducting analyses of datasets.

  • Preparing models to display results.

  • Reviewing academic literature.

  • Creating presentations based on key results.

  • Fact-checking, editing, and proofreading research documents for accuracy and consistency.

  • Maintaining laboratory equipment and inventory.

  • Recruiting study participants.

What skills do you need to be a lab assistant?

The skills needed to be a lab assistant include the right combination of technical skills related to data collection and analysis and soft skills such as communication and attention to detail.

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