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Molecular Biology Laboratory Analyst: Job Description and Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a molecular biology laboratory analyst. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and workplace information to find out if this is the career for you.

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Molecular biology laboratory analysts generally work in a lab performing tests on a variety of biological materials. Their work is used for a number of purposes, including to identify illnesses or chemical compositions. These professionals must have a bachelor's degree in a related field.

Essential Information

A molecular biology laboratory analyst is a scientist who prepares, conducts, monitors and reports the results of lab tests. Depending on their specific job responsibilities, molecular biology laboratory analysts may also be called lab technologists, technicians, research associates or assistants. These workers typically hold a bachelor's degree in biology or a related field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% (for all biological technicians)
Median Salary (2015)* $41,650 (for all biological technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Molecular Biology Laboratory Analyst Job Description

Lab technicians and technologists perform tests on chemical specimens and samples of tissue, fluids or other biological material in order to detect or diagnose illness, understand chemical composition, alter the sample or detect anomalies. Additionally, they may adjust, calibrate and maintain all equipment, record and analyze results, report their findings to lab supervisors and adhere to all laboratory procedures. Laboratory analysts also help maintain the condition of the laboratory and the equipment, prepare chemicals and specimens for study, order additional lab supplies when needed and communicate with other lab personnel.

Specialized Duties

Often, the specific type of laboratory setting will determine the specific job tasks. Lab positions in clinical, medical and diagnostic laboratories, for example, may require the collection of bodily fluids or cell samples from patients. This type of analyst often looks for abnormalities that signal disease or improper chemical balances. At academic institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms, analysis may be more research-based or experimental, with the goals of developing new methods, techniques or products.

Workplace

Molecular biology laboratory analysts are often employed in clinical or medical laboratory settings, as well as diagnostic labs, independent biotechnology firms, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. Because they need to maintain sterile conditions, lab analysts wear protective clothing and use a variety of automated lab equipment to minimize exposure and prevent contamination.

Career Outlook for Molecular Biology Laboratory Analysts

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a positive outlook for a variety of science technician careers in the 2014-2024 decade. Overall employment of life, physical, and social science occupations is expected to see 5% growth during that 10-year span. Within the field, biological technicians should also see a 5% increase in jobs, while clinical laboratory technologists and technicians are expected to experience 16% job growth. The BLS cites increased demand for pharmaceutical and biotechnology research, as well as the development of new types of laboratory tests and a larger population in need of such testing, as the primary factors for growth.

As of May 2015, biological technicians earned a median annual salary of $41,650, while medical and clinical laboratory technicians brought in $38,970 per year. The highest paying biological technicians in 2015 worked in management of companies and enterprises, while dentists' offices paid medical and clinical laboratory technicians the highest salary at that same time.

The specific tasks for this profession vary depending on the laboratory and employer's needs, however typical daily duties often include setting up equipment, recording test results, and analyzing data. They are also required to follow lab procedures and assist in keeping the work space in good condition. These analysts are often employed by clinical or medical labs, biotechnology companies or a postsecondary institution.

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