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While you won't leading a research project, you will have some pretty important tasks that lead to the success of research projects as a research assistant. In fact, you're tasked with a number of responsibilities that assist the main researcher on the project.

Pretty cool, right? You might get to conduct literature reviews or analyze data. Maybe you'll even get to prepare a grant to help with the project. Basically your position is essential to the project, which also means you have a lot riding on your shoulders.

Depending on who you'll be working for, you may need a bachelor's degree or you may just need an associate's degree. Chances are you'll probably be a research assistant to a professor or another professional in the field. And no matter what, you'll definitely receive some on-the-job training.

What Does a Research Assistant Do

There are certain skills that many 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 analytical skills, communication skills and detail oriented.

Learn more about what a Research Assistant does

How To Become a Research Assistant

If you're interested in becoming a research assistant, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 74.2% of research assistants have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 14.2% of research assistants have master's degrees. Even though most research assistants have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Research Assistant

Career Path For a Research Assistant

In addition to switching up your job search, it might prove helpful to look at a career path for your specific job. Now, what's a career path you ask? Well, it's practically a map that shows how you might advance from one job title to another. Our career paths are especially detailed with salary changes. So, for example, if you started out with the role of consultant you might progress to a role such as project manager eventually. Later on in your career, you could end up with the title project director.

Research Assistant

Average Salary for a Research Assistant

Research Assistants in America make an average salary of $42,896 per year or $21 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $64,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $28,000 per year.
Average Research Assistant Salary
$42,896 Yearly
$20.62 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Research Assistant

The role of a research assistant includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general research assistant responsibilities:

  • Perform studies as described and detailed in existing documents. Execute performance testing of companion diagnostic ihc assays. Support clinical trial activities, including preparation of study materials
  • Execute enzyme assays, high-throughput screening and characterization of recombinant proteins develop biochemical
  • Performs data entry for clinical investigation projects

There are several types of research assistant, including:

Graduate Research Student


A graduate research student is someone who is conducting research while working towards a master's degree or doctorate. They can specialize in a variety of subjects, from medicine to Victorian literature. Graduate research students often work with the assistance of tenured professors to design and conduct their research studies. They use the research tools at their disposal, from library archives to laboratory equipment to SAS statistical software, to conduct research that they will use in their dissertation. Depending on their university, graduate research students may also need to help their supervisors with their own research or teach and supervise undergraduate students.

By definition, a graduate research student needs to be enrolled in a graduate degree program. They have to complete a bachelor's degree (and sometimes relevant internships) before pursuing additional education.

The stipend graduate research students receive depends on their institution or department. However, their average salary is $32,119 a year.
  • Average Salary: $34,658
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Research Fellow


As the name implies, as a Research Fellow, you will be conducting research and analysis of comprehensive results, literature, and data. You will be supervising research assistants and recruiting study participants for specific studies.

For the educational requirement, a Research Fellow needs to have a doctorate relevant to the discipline and should have published papers that are peer-reviewed. As a Research Fellow, you can be supervised or independent.

The top skills Research Fellow applicants include in their resumes include Molecular Biology, Data Analysis, Cell Culture, Research Projects, and Ph.D. You might want to brush up your knowledge on these things and make sure you are knowledgeable in the field you will be applying to.

You can earn an average annual salary of $49,120 with a job growth rate of 8%. You can also explore other careers like being a Research Scientist, a Scientist, and a Senior Scientist.

  • Average Salary: $53,823
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Research Technician


If you have a passion for science and enjoy the challenges of solving scientific research, analysis, and investigation, then you might consider a career as a research technician.

Generally, a research technician or research scientist is a person who helps scientists with their research and experiments in a laboratory. Research technician is a job that offers you job satisfaction, the flexibility of work, high salaries, variable tasks, and a stable employment market.

A technician position may bring a satisfying role as the key member of a laboratory or may act as a stepping stone to a Ph.D., medical, or other job opportunities.
  • Average Salary: $43,034
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Research Assistant Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active research assistant jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where research assistants earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Research Assistant Jobs By State

Research Assistant Education

Research Assistant Majors

13.4 %

Research Assistant Degrees


74.2 %


14.2 %


4.5 %

Top Colleges for Research Assistants

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition




7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




10. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a 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, 9.2% of research assistants listed patients on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Research Assistant Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Research Assistant templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your 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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Research Assistant diversity

Research Assistant Gender Distribution


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

  • Among research assistants, 53.7% of them are women, while 46.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among research assistants is White, which makes up 52.1% of all research assistants.

  • The most common foreign language among research assistants is Spanish at 36.8%.

Online Courses For Research Assistant That You May Like

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1. Data Management for Clinical Research


This course presents critical concepts and practical methods to support planning, collection, storage, and dissemination of data in clinical research. Understanding and implementing solid data management principles is critical for any scientific domain. Regardless of your current (or anticipated) role in the research enterprise, a strong working knowledge and skill set in data management principles and practice will increase your productivity and improve your science. Our goal is to use these...

2. Data Analysis with R Programming


This course is the seventh course in the Google Data Analytics Certificate. These courses will equip you with the skills needed to apply to introductory-level data analyst jobs. In this course, you’ll learn about the programming language known as R. You’ll find out how to use RStudio, the environment that allows you to work with R. This course will also cover the software applications and tools that are unique to R, such as R packages. You’ll discover how R lets you clean, organize, analyze,...

3. SPSS For Research


SPSS data analysis made easy. Become an expert in advanced statistical analysis with SPSS...

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Best States For a Research Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a research assistant. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, Alaska, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Research assistants make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $58,492. Whereas in Alaska and Massachusetts, they would average $54,653 and $53,102, respectively. While research assistants would only make an average of $50,955 in Vermont, 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. New Jersey

Total Research Assistant Jobs: 994
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Massachusetts

Total Research Assistant Jobs: 2,486
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Alaska

Total Research Assistant Jobs: 93
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Research Assistants

How Do Research Assistants Rate Their Jobs?


Based On 1 Ratings

5 Stars

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2 Stars

1 Star

Research Assistant Reviews

Sep 2019

What I like is that,you get to interact with different people from various communities.Relationships are formed in the process


Language barrier can be a problem,because communication needs to be formed in the language that each community you interact with understands.

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Becoming a Research Assistant FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become A Research Assistant?

It takes 2 years of professional experience to become a research assistant. That is the time it takes to learn specific research assistant skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 5 to 7 years years to become a research assistant.

Can Anyone Be A Research Assistant?

No, not anyone can be a research assistant. A research assistant position, typically in a clinical or academic setting, is usually for individuals who already have a bachelor's degree or master's degree and are considering a career in academia (e.g., Ph.D.) or more advanced clinical research procedures (e.g., DNA extraction).

Do You Need A Phd To Be A Research Assistant?

No, you do not need a PhD to be a research assistant. The minimum educational requirements to become a Research Assistant will depend on the employer.

A degree in a relevant discipline with research experience (Honours) is commonly required, although some employers may require a master's level qualification or enrollment in a PhD program.

How Do I Get A Job As A Research Assistant?

To get a job as a research assistant, you should have a bachelor's degree and a general interest in conducting research in an academic or clinical setting.

Many research assistants are bachelor's students (or soon-to-be graduates). However, some research assistants have a master's degree or Ph.D. (e.g., postdoc research assistant fellowship).

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.

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