Laboratory assistant

As a laboratory assistant, you’re responsible for helping laboratory technicians and scientists carry out research and experiments. You will play a critical role in ensuring the smooth functioning of research labs by carrying out routine tests, setting up equipment, and maintaining detailed records.

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Laboratory assistant job role

Laboratory assistants play an important role in scientific research. You will work under the supervision of senior laboratory staff and support them in their daily work. Your job typically involves handling laboratory tools and equipment, preparing samples, maintaining laboratory space clean, and ensuring compliance with safety regulations.

Laboratory assistant responsibilities

As a laboratory assistant, you may have multiple responsibilities depending on the laboratory you work in. However, some of the most common tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparing samples and specimens for analysis
  • Monitoring and recording data accurately
  • Cleaning and sterilising laboratory equipment
  • Maintaining stock levels of laboratory supplies
  • Collaborating with warehouse and distribution teams
  • Adhering to instructions from the laboratory manager
  • Keeping detailed records and conducting literature reviews
  • Following laboratory safety guidelines and protocols

Laboratory assistant qualifications

To work as a laboratory assistant, you typically will need a certificate or an associate degree in laboratory science, biology, or a related field. In some cases, a high school diploma combined with experience and on-the-job training may suffice.

Qualifications required may vary between institutions, but generally, you will need:

  • A diploma, associate, or bachelor's degree in laboratory science, biology, or a related major
  • Understanding of laboratory techniques, safety practices, and equipment
  • Courses in chemistry, biology, mathematics, and microbiology
  • Proficiency in computer systems and security protocols

Laboratory assistant skills

As a laboratory assistant, you typically need a range of skills to support lab staff effectively. 

You should be able to:

  • Organise and prioritise tasks
  • Pay attention to detail and maintain high accuracy standards
  • Work with minimal supervision and participate in a team efficiently
  • Communicate effectively with laboratory staff and researchers
  • Follow procedures and protocols for quality assurance
  • Handle chemical substances and laboratory equipment as required
  • Troubleshoot basic problems to maintain laboratory schedules and avoid delays

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