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Become A Postdoctoral Research Assistant

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Working As A Postdoctoral Research Assistant

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $45,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Postdoctoral Research Assistant 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 Postdoctoral Research Assistant

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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Postdoctoral Research Assistant jobs

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Postdoctoral Research Assistant Career Paths

Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Research Fellow Instructor Assistant Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Program Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Analytics
13 Yearsyrs
Fellow Postdoctoral Research Associate Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Instructor Assistant Professor Scientist
Lead Scientist
8 Yearsyrs
Scientist Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Principal Research Scientist
10 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Principal Scientist
12 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Senior Software Engineer Quality Assurance Lead
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Scientist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Scientist Project Manager Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Postdoctoral Research Associate Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Research Director
7 Yearsyrs
Postdoctoral Research Associate Research Associate
Research Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Research Fellow Post Doctoral Researcher Research Associate
Research Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Chemist
Senior Chemist
7 Yearsyrs
Fellow Research Associate
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Instructor Lecturer Research Fellow
Senior Research Chemist
6 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Assistant Professor
Senior Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Professor Senior Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Senior Project Manager Vice President Of Engineering
Vice President Of Research And Development
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Scientist 4.9 years
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Research Biologist 3.7 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Research Fellow 2.3 years
Research Affiliate 1.9 years
Research Assistant 1.7 years
Fellow 1.7 years
Researcher 1.5 years
Research Scholar 1.4 years
Research Trainee 0.9 years
Research Volunteer 0.9 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 5.1%
Researcher 4.6%
Fellow 3.9%
Instructor 2.0%
Lecturer 2.0%
Scientist 1.3%
Top Employers After
Scientist 9.4%
Fellow 8.9%
Consultant 3.3%
Instructor 2.9%
Researcher 2.8%
Lecturer 2.0%

Postdoctoral Research Assistant Demographics

Gender

Male

48.8%

Female

27.2%

Unknown

24.1%
Ethnicity

White

51.9%

Asian

37.7%

Hispanic or Latino

6.2%

Unknown

3.7%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Chinese

31.1%

Spanish

14.1%

French

11.9%

German

7.4%

Mandarin

5.9%

Japanese

5.9%

Russian

5.2%

Korean

3.0%

Carrier

3.0%

Ukrainian

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Bulgarian

1.5%

Italian

1.5%

Turkish

0.7%

Danish

0.7%

Welsh

0.7%

Malay

0.7%

Cantonese

0.7%

Khmer

0.7%

Occidental

0.7%
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Postdoctoral Research Assistant Education

Schools

Ohio State University

8.6%

Pennsylvania State University

8.6%

University of California - Davis

8.3%

University of California - Los Angeles

7.3%

University of California - Berkeley

7.1%

Iowa State University

6.0%

University of Texas at Austin

5.5%

University of California - Irvine

4.5%

University of Florida

4.3%

Stanford University

4.3%

University of California - Santa Barbara

4.3%

University of California - San Diego

4.0%

University of Pennsylvania

3.8%

University of Washington

3.5%

Johns Hopkins University

3.5%

University of Southern California

3.3%

University of Iowa

3.3%

Northwestern University

3.3%

University of Delaware

3.3%

Cornell University

3.3%
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Majors

Chemistry

24.7%

Physics

11.1%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

10.8%

Chemical Engineering

6.3%

Mechanical Engineering

5.4%

Biology

5.2%

Materials Science And Engineering

3.8%

Microbiology

3.6%

Electrical Engineering

3.5%

Biomedical Engineering

3.4%

Neuroscience

3.1%

Materials Sciences

2.5%

Genetics

2.4%

Pharmacology

2.4%

Physiology And Anatomy

2.1%

Pharmacy

2.1%

Mathematics

2.1%

Computer Science

2.0%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

1.8%

Geology

1.8%
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Degrees

Doctorate

85.7%

Masters

6.5%

Other

5.6%

Certificate

1.0%

Bachelors

0.9%

Diploma

0.1%

Associate

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Postdoctoral Research Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Tempe, AZ May 01, 2012 $75,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Tempe, AZ May 01, 2011 $75,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Jan 10, 2015 $65,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Oct 01, 2015 $65,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Mar 01, 2011 $62,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Nov 11, 2013 $60,000
Research Assistant (Postdoctoral Research Scientis Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. Nutley, NJ Oct 01, 2010 $60,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Nov 01, 2014 $60,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Association of Universities for Research In Astron NM Aug 31, 2010 $57,500
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA Sep 02, 2016 $55,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Feb 08, 2013 $55,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Portland State University Portland, OR Jan 18, 2011 $54,900
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Jun 01, 2011 $53,365
Postdoctoral Rsearch Assistant Portland State University Portland, OR Jan 01, 2014 $46,584
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Portland State University Portland, OR Apr 01, 2014 $46,584
Postdoctoral Research Assistant & Research Assista The Administrators of The Tulane Endowment Fund New Orleans, LA Oct 01, 2011 $46,532
Postdoctoral Research Assistant University of Rochester Rochester, NY Jan 05, 2010 $46,488
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ Sep 01, 2009 $46,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Astraea Therapeutics, LLC Mountain View, CA Jan 01, 2011 $46,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Nov 30, 2010 $46,000
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Mar 15, 2010 $42,857
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Purdue University West Lafayette, IN May 11, 2010 $42,857
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Portland State University Portland, OR Apr 06, 2011 $42,684
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Portland State University Portland, OR Jul 01, 2010 $42,684
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Portland State University Portland, OR Apr 06, 2010 $42,684
Postdoctoral Research Assistant Portland State University Portland, OR Nov 01, 2010 $42,684

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Top Skills for A Postdoctoral Research Assistant

CellCultureLabProteinSynthesisLaboratoryChemistryResearchProjectsMolecularBiologyElectronMicroscopyAdvisorDNADataAnalysisThinFilmPostdoctoralResearcherNMRSEMScientificJournalsRt-PcrPhysicsPython

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Top Postdoctoral Research Assistant Skills

  1. Cell Culture
  2. Lab
  3. Protein
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed and validated immunochemical assays and cell culture systems for research teams in cellular and molecular groups.
  • Performed software tests through close collaborations with clients from Nevada Department of Transportation.
  • Developed methods to calculate electrostatic properties of cell-signaling proteins for direct comparison with experimental measurements.
  • Project: Regulation of Growth Hormone Synthesis by C/EBP.
  • Project leader and laboratory manager.

Top Postdoctoral Research Assistant Employers