Laboratory Assistant Salary
Job Description for Laboratory Assistant
A laboratory assistant generally holds is an entry-level support position requiring a high school diploma (or equivalent) and some college-level lab experience.Read More...
Laboratory assistants aid the lab director in a variety of tasks, and their specific duties generally depend on the nature of the lab. This position may involve helping to carry out experiments, analyzing results, preparing slides for review, storing and pulling specimens for use, cleaning and sterilizing equipment, completing record-keeping paperwork, cleaning up spills, keeping lab supplies stocked, and other duties as assigned. This is often a position held by students in a university setting as part of a work-study program. Training is on-the-job and ongoing, and outside research to keep knowledge up to date may be required. Laboratory assistants generally work alongside lab technicians and technologists, under the supervision of the lab's director. Depending on the size of the lab, they may work with other laboratory assistants as well.
There are also medical laboratory assistant positions, which can require a more specialized background. These positions might require an associate's degree in laboratory science, a certificate in phlebotomy, or certification in another relevant field. Experience can usually be substituted for education, though certification may still be necessary. Positions in a medical lab might involve working directly with patients, through tasks such as drawing blood, performing skin tests, updating records, and doing reception work such as making appointments and answering phones.
All laboratory assistant positions require good oral and written communication skills, the ability to follow directions, basic computer skills, and a meticulous, detail-oriented approach. Work as a laboratory assistant can be physically demanding and require the ability to be on your feet for an entire shift. Labs generally operate during regular business hours, but some positions may require overtime.
Laboratory Assistant Tasks
- Create and transmit individual, summary, and inventory reports.
- Maintain inventory and equipment for the laboratory, including maintenance.
- Obtain, process, and analyze laboratory specimens, and log all intake and results.
- Order, distribute, and perform upkeep on stock and inventory.
Common Career Paths for Laboratory Assistant
At the upper end, Laboratory Assistants who move into a Laboratory Manager role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Laboratory Managers is a much higher $62K per year. Laboratory Assistants most frequently advance into Phlebotomist and Medical Phlebotomist roles even though the median salaries are $1K lower and $4K lower, respectively.
Laboratory Assistant Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Laboratory Assistant
Dominating the field, USC University Hospital, LabCorp of America, Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp), Kaiser Permanente, and Quest Diagnostics are top firms with a reputation for hiring a great number of Laboratory Assistants. Kaiser Permanente offers the highest compensation with a median salary of $46K.
Popular Skills for Laboratory Assistant
Laboratory Assistants seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, skills in Specimen Processing, Microsoft Excel, Equipment Maintenance, and Quality Assurance / Quality Control are correlated to pay that is above average. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Data Analysis, Molecular Biology, and PCR Analysis. Most people experienced in Data Entry also know Phlebotomy.
Pay by Experience Level for Laboratory Assistant
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Laboratory Assistants with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Relatively untried employees who have fewer than five years of experience earn around $29K on average. People who have worked for five to 10 years can expect a higher median salary of $31K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $33K. Veterans who have worked for more than two decades do tend to make the most in the end; the median pay for this group is $36K.
Pay Difference by Location
Home to some of the best pay for Laboratory Assistants, New York offers exceptional salaries, 21 percent above the national average. Laboratory Assistants can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Diego (+19 percent), Boston (+16 percent), Houston (+11 percent), and Seattle (+8 percent). The lowest-paying market is Tampa, which sits 11 percent below the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Detroit (9 percent lower) and Los Angeles (8 percent lower).