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).
Someone who wants to apply for research assistant programs should have a passion for research and the research process.
Many research assistants, in particular, are recent bachelor's and master's degree graduates or soon-to-be graduates who are looking to experience working in a research lab before deciding on whether a Ph.D. is right for them.
In some cases, these positions are not paid but are there to help gain research experience for a C.V. (curriculum vita, which is a resume for academic professionals that highlights your research experience).
In other cases, a research assistant position may be specifically for recent Ph.D. candidates, also known as a postdoc research assistant fellowship. These positions are typically only for one to three years and pay between $50,000 and $70,000 a year, depending on the type of research.
Some labs may have other requirements, such as completing clinical research coursework before being eligible for a position. Overall, many of the requirements will depend on the area of study.
Some common areas for research assistants are medicine, biology, law, economics, psychology, sociology, physics, chemistry, and the humanities.
Almost all research assistants work under the principal investigator(s), who is usually a Ph.D. (s).
The role of a research assistant is to assist the principal investigator(s). This may include;
keeping the project on track by helping to collect and analyze data
prepare reports and materials
help to write and edit papers
apply for grants, and review the current literature.