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PERSONALIZED JOBS

Become A Research Assistant/Technician

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Working As A Research Assistant/Technician

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $49,260

    Average Salary

What Does A Research Assistant/Technician 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 Research Assistant/Technician

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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Research Assistant/Technician jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Research Engineer 2.9 years
Science Technician 2.9 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Research Assistant 1.7 years
Research Aide 1.2 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 14.1%
Researcher 3.2%
Tutor 2.7%
Lecturer 1.8%
Volunteer 1.8%
Top Employers After
Internship 4.5%
Volunteer 4.5%
Instructor 4.1%
Consultant 3.7%
Scientist 3.3%

Research Assistant/Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

50.7%

Female

41.7%

Unknown

7.6%
Ethnicity

White

64.0%

Asian

23.9%

Hispanic or Latino

8.2%

Unknown

2.5%

Black or African American

1.3%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

26.7%

Chinese

11.7%

French

6.7%

Hindi

6.7%

Korean

6.7%

Mandarin

5.0%

German

5.0%

Portuguese

3.3%

Romanian

3.3%

Cantonese

3.3%

Urdu

3.3%

Arabic

3.3%

Italian

3.3%

Russian

1.7%

Indonesian

1.7%

Turkish

1.7%

Greek

1.7%

Japanese

1.7%

Kannada

1.7%

Catalan

1.7%
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Research Assistant/Technician Education

Schools

Pennsylvania State University

9.8%

Missouri University of Science and Technology

7.3%

Louisiana Tech University

6.1%

Utah State University

6.1%

Syracuse University

4.9%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.9%

Texas Tech University

4.9%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.9%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

4.9%

University of Wisconsin Extension

4.9%

Michigan State University

4.9%

Purdue University

4.9%

University of Texas at Austin

4.9%

University of Texas at San Antonio

4.9%

University of Houston

3.7%

Ohio University -

3.7%

Arizona State University

3.7%

University of Kentucky

3.7%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.7%

University of Central Florida

3.7%
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Majors

Biology

12.8%

Mechanical Engineering

8.5%

Chemistry

7.1%

Computer Engineering

7.1%

Psychology

6.6%

Computer Science

6.2%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

6.2%

Chemical Engineering

5.7%

Electrical Engineering

5.2%

Geography

4.7%

Business

3.8%

Environmental Science

3.8%

Civil Engineering

3.8%

Public Health

3.3%

English

2.8%

Physics

2.8%

Microbiology

2.4%

Finance

2.4%

Geology

2.4%

Medical Technician

2.4%
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Degrees

Masters

35.8%

Bachelors

34.4%

Doctorate

14.9%

Other

8.9%

Certificate

3.6%

Associate

1.7%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Research Assistant/Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Plainville, MA Dec 01, 2011 $57,000
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Mar 21, 2016 $55,000
Ophthalmology Research Assistant/Technician Pediatric Ophthalmology Associates, Inc. Columbus, OH Oct 20, 2014 $47,900 -
$60,000
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Mar 13, 2010 $47,250
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Oct 01, 2014 $45,000
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jan 05, 2016 $44,512
Research Assistant: CTR for Internet, Comms, and Tech Policy American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research Washington, DC Jan 10, 2016 $44,000
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jul 06, 2014 $43,493
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jun 07, 2014 $43,493
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Mar 01, 2011 $43,076
Technical Research Assistant 2 Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jan 01, 2011 $42,390
Technical Research Assistant 2 Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA May 17, 2011 $42,390
Technical Research Assistant 2 Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jun 07, 2011 $42,390
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jun 01, 2014 $42,016 -
$67,434
Tech Research Assistant II Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN May 28, 2014 $41,740
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Dec 06, 2016 $41,600
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Dec 13, 2012 $40,352
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Oct 13, 2015 $39,700
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Apr 07, 2014 $39,000
Technical Research Assistant 2 Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Dec 22, 2010 $38,854
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Mar 05, 2010 $38,854
Technical Research Assistant Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jul 01, 2009 $37,544
Technical Research Assistant Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Aug 01, 2009 $37,544
Research Assistant II/Senior Biological Technician The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology Philadelphia, PA Jan 05, 2015 $37,440
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Sep 01, 2016 $37,398
Technical Research Assistant II Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA Jan 09, 2016 $37,398

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Top Skills for A Research Assistant/Technician

LabLaboratoryEquipmentTechnicalSupportResearchStudiesResearchProjectsUndergraduateDataCollectionDataAnalysisDNASafetyGISPrincipalInvestigatorsCellCulturePCRCADDataEntryElisaHealthcareHplcR

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Top Research Assistant/Technician Skills

  1. Lab
  2. Laboratory Equipment
  3. Technical Support
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Insured detailed observations of clinical data and laboratory sample processing.
  • Provided technical support for social science and government projects currently in progress within the SESRC.
  • Served as Research Study Coordinator for five clinical research studies and technician on an additional three.
  • Coordinated and conducted research projects funded by industry partners
  • Sample preparation and experimentation, data collection, basic data processing.

Top Research Assistant/Technician Employers

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