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Become A Research Associate

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Working As A Research Associate

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $50,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Research Associate 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 Associate

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 Associate jobs

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Research Associate Career Paths

Research Associate
Data Analyst Finance Analyst Operations Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Clinical Research Associate Senior Clinical Research Associate
Clinical Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Clinical Research Associate Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Quality Assurance Engineer Quality Assurance Manager
Director Of Quality
14 Yearsyrs
Analyst Systems Analyst Systems Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Assistant Professor
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Instructor Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Research Analyst Analyst Finance Analyst
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Program Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Data Analyst Business Analyst Product Manager
Product Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Research Analyst Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Analyst Finance Analyst Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Project Engineer Quality Engineer
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Account Manager Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Research Technician Research Specialist Research Analyst
Research Director
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Licensed Practical Nurse Clinical Research Coordinator
Senior Clinical Research Associate
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Associate Scientist Scientist
Senior Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Scientist 4.9 years
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Research Chemist 3.7 years
Research Biologist 3.7 years
Scientist 3.4 years
Research Director 3.4 years
Staff Scientist 3.4 years
PHD Researcher 3.3 years
Research Manager 3.2 years
Research Associate 3.0 years
Research Engineer 2.9 years
Biologist 2.5 years
Research Fellow 2.3 years
Research Leader 2.1 years
Research Analyst 2.0 years
Research Professor 1.9 years
Research Affiliate 1.9 years
Research Assistant 1.7 years
Researcher 1.5 years
Research Scholar 1.4 years
Research Aide 1.2 years
Research Trainee 0.9 years
Research Volunteer 0.9 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 11.4%
Fellow 4.7%
Researcher 3.0%
Scientist 2.5%
Volunteer 2.5%
Instructor 2.3%
Top Employers After
Scientist 9.0%
Consultant 6.1%
Fellow 5.0%
Internship 4.6%
Instructor 3.3%
Associate 2.7%
Director 2.4%
Volunteer 2.2%

Research Associate Demographics

Gender

Male

46.0%

Female

43.9%

Unknown

10.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.7%

Asian

25.1%

Hispanic or Latino

8.7%

Unknown

3.5%

Black or African American

1.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.7%

French

13.0%

Chinese

10.7%

Mandarin

6.7%

German

5.5%

Russian

4.3%

Japanese

4.1%

Arabic

3.6%

Italian

3.2%

Hindi

3.1%

Korean

2.5%

Portuguese

2.5%

Cantonese

2.0%

Urdu

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Hebrew

0.9%

Bengali

0.7%

Carrier

0.7%

Turkish

0.7%

Greek

0.6%
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Research Associate Education

Schools

Northeastern University

6.7%

Johns Hopkins University

6.4%

University of California - San Diego

6.4%

University of California - Davis

6.0%

University of California - Berkeley

5.9%

George Washington University

5.8%

University of Southern California

5.0%

Iowa State University

4.9%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.8%

University of Washington

4.8%

New York University

4.8%

University of Arizona

4.6%

San Diego State University

4.5%

Pennsylvania State University

4.3%

Cornell University

4.3%

Boston University

4.3%

Ohio State University

4.3%

Michigan State University

4.2%

Columbia University

4.1%

Arizona State University

4.0%
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Majors

Biology

14.8%

Chemistry

13.1%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

11.2%

Business

8.4%

Psychology

4.6%

Finance

4.4%

Microbiology

4.2%

Biotechnology

3.7%

Pharmacy

3.6%

Public Health

3.5%

Chemical Engineering

3.4%

Physics

3.3%

Biomedical Engineering

3.1%

Mechanical Engineering

3.0%

Economics

2.9%

Law

2.8%

Political Science

2.7%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

2.5%

Electrical Engineering

2.4%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.4%
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Degrees

Masters

34.9%

Doctorate

26.2%

Bachelors

26.2%

Other

8.3%

Certificate

2.5%

Associate

1.5%

Diploma

0.3%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
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Temporary

Real Research Associate Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 27, 2011 $65,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jun 01, 2015 $60,000 -
$70,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 01, 2011 $60,000 -
$70,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 10, 2018 $59,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 10, 2016 $55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Feb 10, 2014 $55,000 -
$65,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 01, 2010 $55,000 -
$65,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Feb 01, 2015 $55,000 -
$65,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 01, 2018 $55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 27, 2018 $55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 01, 2012 $55,000 -
$65,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 31, 2018 $54,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 02, 2018 $54,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 05, 2018 $54,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 15, 2018 $53,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA May 19, 2017 $53,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 14, 2017 $53,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 07, 2017 $53,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 05, 2016 $53,000 -
$63,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 21, 2017 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 02, 2014 $52,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2018 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 12, 2018 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 02, 2018 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 01, 2018 $52,000 -
$62,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 16, 2018 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 23, 2018 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 29, 2018 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 04, 2017 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 07, 2017 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Feb 09, 2017 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 01, 2017 $52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 01, 2017 $51,500
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 10, 2016 $51,000 -
$61,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 30, 2018 $51,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 27, 2015 $51,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 01, 2012 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jun 19, 2017 $50,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 15, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 20, 2011 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 01, 2018 $50,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jun 12, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 15, 2012 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 01, 2017 $50,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 12, 2015 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 03, 2017 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 09, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 13, 2017 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA May 21, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 05, 2017 $50,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 19, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 05, 2012 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 20, 2017 $50,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 06, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 01, 2012 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 04, 2017 $50,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 10, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 04, 2012 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 17, 2017 $50,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 07, 2015 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 13, 2012 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 01, 2010 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA May 31, 2014 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 01, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 01, 2011 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 15, 2010 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 01, 2014 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 07, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 01, 2009 $50,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 07, 2014 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 05, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 07, 2011 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 27, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 15, 2013 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 10, 2016 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2011 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 01, 2012 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 10, 2015 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 15, 2015 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 19, 2011 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 01, 2015 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Feb 01, 2012 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 01, 2015 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 15, 2013 $48,000 -
$52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 18, 2016 $48,000 -
$58,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 31, 2015 $47,000 -
$52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Feb 13, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 20, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 02, 2014 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 03, 2016 $47,000 -
$50,007
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 18, 2016 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 12, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Feb 01, 2017 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA May 19, 2014 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2015 $47,000 -
$52,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 22, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 01, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 10, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 05, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 01, 2014 $46,000 -
$56,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 10, 2014 $46,000 -
$56,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 03, 2014 $46,000 -
$56,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 20, 2014 $46,000 -
$56,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 10, 2010 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 30, 2015 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2014 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2010 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 03, 2015 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 14, 2014 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 30, 2012 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 20, 2015 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2012 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 01, 2014 $45,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Feb 13, 2012 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 01, 2012 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jun 02, 2014 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2012 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Oct 15, 2014 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Associate Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA May 19, 2011 $45,000 -
$55,000

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Top Skills for A Research Associate

LaboratoryEquipmentCellCultureLabSuppliesTechnicalSupportProteinExpressionProceduresDNAResearchProjectsRt-PcrTissueCultureDataAnalysisAnalyticalMethodsElisaDataCollectionSafetyHplcSynthesisCellLinesChemistryStatisticalAnalysis

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Top Research Associate Skills

  1. Laboratory Equipment
  2. Cell Culture
  3. Lab Supplies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed overall maintenance of laboratory equipment.
  • Experienced in cell culture techniques including basic cell culture, cloning of cell lines, and stable cell line production.
  • Supported and developed sourcing strategies, negotiation and procurement of lab supplies to achieve company's saving strategic goal.
  • Started off in Technical Support, aiding the Oklahoma and Indiana K-12 testing contracts.
  • Studied gene copy numbers on protein expression level by linear regression.

Top Research Associate Employers

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