Biology Lab Assistant: Job Description and Career Advancement Info

Biology lab assistants require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education and job duties as well as the career and salary projections to see if this is the right career for you.

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  • 0:03 Essential Information
  • 0:26 Job Description
  • 0:58 Career Outlook & Salary
  • 1:36 Career Advancement

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Essential Information

Required Education A bachelor's degree in biology or a related discipline
Projected Job Growth (Biology Technicians) 5% from 2014-2024*
Median Annual Salary (May 2015) (Biology Technicians) $41,650*

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Biology lab assistants work within laboratories and assist scientists with experiments, equipment maintenance, and research. They may also work with college professors, assisting with lectures, lab practicals, assignments, grading, or evaluation of student projects. Job seekers are generally required to have a bachelor's degree in biology and have laboratory experience.

Job Description

Biology lab assistants begin assisting with experiments by logging details and setting up lab equipment, such as specialized microscopes and electronic hematology differential cell counters. Prior to beginning the experiment, they may also need to clean and calibrate equipment, measure compounds, and prepare solutions for use. Next, biology lab assistants perform or help with experiments. Once complete, they may be responsible for recording results and disposing of hazardous waste.

Career Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for biology lab assistants were expected to increase by 5% between 2014 and 2024 ( Increasing demand for new and improved medicines and medical treatments was anticipated to drive this growth. The BLS also noted that employment opportunities would be best for those with a bachelor's degree and training on lab equipment. In May 2015, biology technicians earned a median salary of $41,650.

Career Advancement

Biology lab assistants may consider completing a graduate degree to advance their careers. Graduate degree programs generally require students to conduct independent research projects on topics in biology. These courses help students become familiar working within a lab setting and prepare them for administrative job opportunities and advanced research.

Advanced Positions

Individuals possessing an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree in biological science may be qualified for lab management jobs. Lab managers typically train and supervise assistants working within the lab, complete research and ensure that the lab remains in compliance with all government regulations. Those with an advanced degree may also qualify to conduct independent research and teach for colleges and universities.

In summary, biology lab assistants work in the lab to assist scientists with experiments, equipment maintenance, research, or in college courses and need a bachelor's degree and lab experience.

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