How to Be Laboratory Scientist - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

The explosion in the use of technology has caused a corresponding increase in the demand for laboratory scientists. As a result, employers are hiring more laboratory scientists to work in areas such as biomedical research, environmental science, and pharmaceuticals. Laboratory scientists are responsible for collecting and analyzing data from experiments and tests, which helps to inform decisions made by medical professionals, policymakers, and other professionals.

laboratory scientists help to ensure that new medical treatments, products, and processes meet safety and quality standards. The increased demand for laboratory scientists has created a need for more educational opportunities, such as specialized degrees and certifications, to ensure the quality of those trained in the field.

Steps How to Become

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree. Students interested in becoming a laboratory scientist should obtain a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry.
  2. Earn a Master’s Degree. A master’s degree in a science-related field is usually required to become a laboratory scientist.
  3. Obtain Certification. Many laboratory scientists pursue certification in their area of specialty. Certifications are available through professional organizations such as the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS).
  4. Gain Experience. Experienced laboratory scientists may be hired into a laboratory scientist position or may need to gain experience through internships or volunteer work.
  5. Stay Up to Date on Technological Advances. Technology is constantly changing and laboratory scientists need to stay up to date on the latest advances in order to remain competitive in the field.

The lack of ideal and competent laboratory scientists can lead to a wide range of potential risks due to inaccurate or incomplete data. Without reliable lab results, medical diagnoses can be incorrect, incorrect procedures can be performed, and public health and safety regulations can be neglected. All of these scenarios can have serious consequences such as loss of life, environmental damage, and economic losses.

Furthermore, when lab scientists do not have the necessary qualifications and experience, they are unable to keep up with the latest developments in the field, meaning their work is not as effective as it could be. Therefore, it is essential that laboratory scientists are adequately trained and competent in order to ensure accurate results and reduce the potential risks associated with inadequate lab work.

You may want to check Laboratory Analyst, Environmental Laboratory Technician, and Forensic Laboratory Technician for alternative.

Job Description

  1. Research Scientist: Conducts laboratory experiments and collects data and samples to create new knowledge.
  2. Quality Control Scientist: Validates the quality and accuracy of laboratory results.
  3. Clinical Laboratory Scientist: Performs diagnostic testing and analysis to diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses.
  4. Forensic Scientist: Collects, analyzes, and interprets physical evidence from crime scenes.
  5. Laboratory Technician: Assists scientists in the laboratory by setting up experiments, collecting data, and maintaining lab equipment.
  6. Laboratory Manager: Oversees the day-to-day operations of a laboratory, including hiring, training, and supervising personnel.
  7. Biostatistician: Develops statistical models to analyze biological data.
  8. Lab Technologist: Develops new methods and techniques to analyze biological samples.
  9. Data Analyst: Analyzes data from experiments and develops conclusions based on the findings.
  10. Research Associate: Assists scientists with research projects and experiments in the laboratory.

Skills and Competencies to Have

  1. Knowledge of laboratory safety protocols
  2. Ability to accurately follow laboratory protocols
  3. Strong problem-solving and decision-making skills
  4. Attention to detail
  5. Ability to work independently and in teams
  6. Proficiency in laboratory software and technology
  7. Experience with data analysis, interpretation, and reporting
  8. Knowledge of laboratory instruments and equipment
  9. Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  10. Interpersonal skills and customer service
  11. Knowledge of research and development processes
  12. Understanding of quality control principles
  13. Knowledge of relevant regulations and standards

Having the right skill set is essential for any successful Laboratory Scientist. One of the most important skills to have is excellent problem-solving ability. This involves the ability to think logically and critically, analyse data and draw conclusions.

Laboratory Scientists must also be able to work with a variety of laboratory equipment and be familiar with computers and software programs. They must be able to interpret and present their findings in a clear, concise manner. Having strong communication and interpersonal skills is also important, as Laboratory Scientists often collaborate with other scientists, technicians and medical personnel.

Finally, they must have a passion for scientific research, a commitment to accuracy and precision and a dedication to staying up to date on the latest scientific discoveries. These skills are essential for Laboratory Scientists in order to effectively contribute to their respective fields.

Quality Assurance Laboratory Technician, Laboratory Coordinator, and Laboratory Instructor are related jobs you may like.

Frequent Interview Questions

  • What experience do you have working in a laboratory?
  • What is your understanding of quality control within a laboratory environment?
  • How do you stay up-to-date on new scientific developments and techniques?
  • Describe a time when you had to work with a difficult supervisor in a laboratory setting.
  • What is your experience in troubleshooting and problem solving in a laboratory?
  • Describe a time when you identified an error or mistake in the laboratory.
  • How do you ensure accuracy and precision in laboratory data collection?
  • What safety protocols do you follow in the laboratory?
  • What methods do you use to maintain accurate lab records and reports?
  • How do you ensure that all necessary experiments and tests are completed correctly?

Common Tools in Industry

  1. Microscope. Used to magnify and analyze small objects or particles (e. g. bacteria, cells).
  2. Pipettes. Used to accurately measure and transfer small volumes of liquid (e. g. 1 milliliter).
  3. Centrifuge. Used to separate components of a mixture based on their densities (e. g. separating blood cells from plasma).
  4. Autoclave. Used to sterilize lab equipment and materials (e. g. glassware, pipettes).
  5. Analytical Balance. Used to accurately measure mass of substances (e. g. 0. 1 gram).
  6. Spectrophotometer. Used to measure the intensity of light transmitted through a solution (e. g. protein concentration).
  7. pH Meter. Used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a solution (e. g. pH of a buffer solution).
  8. Incubator. Used to maintain optimal temperature conditions for biological samples (e. g. bacterial cultures).
  9. Chromatography System. Used to identify and isolate components of a mixture (e. g. proteins, lipids).
  10. Electrophoresis System. Used to separate molecules based on their electrical charge (e. g. DNA fragments).

Professional Organizations to Know

  1. American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
  2. America Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS)
  3. Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS)
  4. National Society for Medical Laboratory Science (NSMLS)
  5. American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  6. American Society of Cytopathology (ASC)
  7. International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  8. American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI)
  9. Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA)
  10. American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG)

We also have Medical Laboratory Technician, Laboratory Manager, and Veterinary Laboratory Technician jobs reports.

Common Important Terms

  1. Microscopy - A laboratory technique used to view objects too small to be seen by the naked eye.
  2. Chromatography - A laboratory technique used to separate mixtures of substances into their individual components.
  3. Spectrophotometry - A laboratory technique used to measure the light absorbance of a sample.
  4. Immunoassays - A laboratory technique used to detect and measure proteins and hormones in a sample.
  5. Molecular Biology - The study of the structure, function, and evolution of molecules that make up living organisms.
  6. Biochemistry - The study of the chemical processes and reactions that occur in living organisms.
  7. Clinical Chemistry - The study of the chemical processes and reactions that occur in clinical samples.
  8. Immunology - The study of the body’s immune system and how it fights off infection and disease.
  9. Genetics - The study of heredity and the variation of inherited traits among individuals and populations.
  10. Cell Culture - The culturing of cells in a laboratory environment to study their growth, development, and interaction with other cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of degree is necessary to become a Laboratory Scientist?

A minimum of a Bachelor's degree in a life science, such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry, is typically required to become a Laboratory Scientist.

What skills are necessary for a Laboratory Scientist?

Laboratory Scientists must possess analytical, problem-solving, research, and communication skills, as well as proficiency in the use of laboratory equipment and computer programs.

What does a Laboratory Scientist do?

Laboratory Scientists analyze samples to help identify diseases and other medical conditions, test products for quality control, and conduct research to develop new products or treatments.

How much do Laboratory Scientists typically earn?

The median annual wage for Laboratory Scientists was $62,270 in May 2019.

What job growth is expected for Laboratory Scientists?

Employment of Laboratory Scientists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Web Resources

  • How to Become a Medical Laboratory Scientist - University of …
  • What is a Medical Laboratory Scientist? | University of …
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist - Explore Health Care …
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