How to Become an Education Research Assistant

Learn how to become an education research assistant. Research the job description and the education requirements and how to start a career in research assisting. View article »

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  • 0:02 Should I Become an…
  • 0:59 Bachelor's Degree Program
  • 1:41 Apply for a Research…
  • 2:21 Take the GRE
  • 3:03 Earn a Master's Degree

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Video Transcript

Should I Become An Education Research Assistant

Degree Level Bachelor's degree; master's for some positions
Degree Field Education research
Experience Varies; research experience helpful
Licensure or Certification State licensure required to teach in public schools
Key Skills Strong problem-solving, interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills; word processing and other general office software; knowledge of data management processes; specialized knowledge may be required for science/medicine research assistants
Salary (2015) $32,510 (median salary for a graduate teaching assistant)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education research assistants are undergraduate or graduate students who work in academic settings analyzing and collecting data for professors and other school staff. In addition to a salary or stipend, they may receive tuition assistance and college credits. Research assistants have already earned a bachelor's or master's degree and are currently working on a more advanced degree.

Key skills include strong problem-solving skills, interpersonal, communication, and organizational skills, word processing and other general office software skills, knowledge of data management processes, and specialized knowledge may be required for science/medicine research assistants.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, graduate teaching assistants made a median annual wage of $32,510 as of May 2015.

The following steps will help those aspiring to be education research assistants.

Enroll in a Bachelor's Degree Program

Many colleges and universities utilize undergraduate students as research assistants, which is a practice recommended by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). Students who perform well may find themselves encouraged to select specific fields of study with regard to their current major, career goals, or even future graduate degree programs.

For a better chance at success complete an internship Education research assistant internships are available to undergraduate students. Students can learn how to summarize educational policies and evaluate data. Internships may require some previous research experience.

Apply for a Research Assistant Position

Students can prepare to become a research assistant by developing various skills, such as computer literacy, statistics, data management and other methodologies that vary by department. They can then speak with professors directly or contact administrative staff members to acquire research assistant positions. Requirements vary by institution, but it is beneficial for all students to have as much experience as possible in their chosen fields of interest. Above-average GPAs and proficiency with previous research papers often help candidates earn research assistant positions.

Take the GRE

Those who wish to apply to a master's degree program and become graduate research assistants need to take a graduate school admissions test, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). There is a GRE general test, which measures a person's level of competence with regard to critical thinking, as well as logical and verbal reasoning. In addition, there are GRE subject tests covering disciplines such as mathematics, chemistry, psychology and biology. Though the subject tests may not be mandatory for acceptance into all graduate programs, solid scores may prove beneficial to students entering competitive fields.

Earn a Master's Degree to Advance

Graduate students who are in good educational standing and show proficiency in their chosen fields can be hired as graduate research assistants. This allows them to earn valuable work experience while working toward master's and doctoral degrees. Students may also earn a stipend or salary by gathering and analyzing data for professors and other academic colleagues.


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