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Laboratory assistant jobs involve a variety of duties and can be a great stepping-stone to a career in a number of different industries. Working as a laboratory assistant involves a variety of duties, including testing, sampling, measuring and recording results as part of a laboratory team. As an assistant, you will be providing help to others to ensure a laboratory operates effectively. You will be required to follow strict guidelines and adhere to strict health & safety guidelines.
Laboratory assistant employers and jobs can be found in many different sectors, from cosmetics and plastics to food manufacturing, utilities and hospitals. Read on to learn more about laboratory assistant jobs, including required qualifications and career opportunities.
Working as a laboratory assistant can involve a variety of different tasks, with these mainly depending on what sector you work in. For example, duties working for a water company many be very different to those involved in food production. Laboratory assistant employers will expect you to provide assistance to more senior level members of the team. General duties are likely to include:
- Testing materials/products as part of scientific investigation
- Carry our routine tasks following strict guidelines
- Preparing specimens and samples for testing
- Operating and maintain variety of laboratory equipment
- Recording results and presenting to others when required
Many laboratory assistant employers will require you to have some formal qualifications in a relevant subject, such as chemistry, biology or physics. However, entry without a degree is also possible, with some employers accepting GCSEs and science-related A-levels. Some large organisations also offer graduate laboratory assistant jobs.
In addition to any qualifications you may be required to have, laboratory assistant employers will also look for candidates to have the following:
- Ability to learn specific tasks and to use technical equipment
- Strong attention to detail and ability to take accurate measurements
- Good time management and able to multi-task
- Ability to follow instructions, flexibility and team-working skills
Working as a laboratory assistant can offer great career prospects. Laboratory assistant employers can be found in a growing number of different industries. You could be working in healthcare, food production, public health or pharmaceuticals. With many laboratory assistant jobs being entry-level, starting salaries can be low, ranging from £15,000 to £20,000. However, once you have gained experience and more skills you may be able to move onto more senior-level positions which can pay anywhere between £20,000 – £35,000 +.
In terms of promotion, you will likely move onto becoming a laboratory technician. From here, you can work towards senior and lead laboratory assistant positions. With further training and possible qualifications, promotion to team leader and laboratory manager positions is then possible. Such positions are likely to move you away from day-to-day laboratory tasks and more towards dealing with team management and other office-based duties.
Working as a laboratory assistant can be a great way to further your career. You will be given lots of experience and the opportunity to develop valuable skills. Once trained, you can choose from a large number of sectors to work in, with laboratory assistant jobs offering good long-term job security. Positions can often be found in most large towns and cities, whilst many roles also offer flexibility in terms of the hours you work.
However, laboratory assistant jobs can be demanding. You will have to follow strict guidelines and ensure your work is correct and accurate at all times. Starting salaries are generally low, and depending on the sector you choose, you may have to work some unsociable hours. Other issues can include working with dangerous materials and the need to work personal protective equipment.