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Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.

Salary Range
€25k - €30k
Job Zone

In Brief...

Laboratory assistants help scientists and laboratory technicians in industrial, medical and educational laboratories.

Knowledge

  • Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills

  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

In Summary - Laboratory Assistant

Career Sectors

Laboratory Assistants typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Biopharma
Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science
Clinical Trials
Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science
Research and Development
Biomedical Technologies & Medtech
Medical Devices
Biomedical Technologies & Medtech
Clinical Trials
Biomedical Technologies & Medtech

Videos on the Web

The Work - Laboratory Assistant

Aides maintain, set out and clear away equipment used for demonstrations in teaching laboratories. They clean, repair and sterilise equipment like test tubes, and dispose of laboratory waste.  
 
Aides prepare samples from plants and animals, including bacteria and tissue cultures. They help technicians by labelling slides and specimens, and monitoring and maintaining stock. Where they help in analysis, aides bring unusual observations or results to the attention of the supervisor.  
 
Aides may store and handle dangerous substances, and need to follow strict health and safety procedures. These may include wearing protective clothing, like gloves, face masks, goggles and overalls. The job may also involve lifting and carrying heavy equipment.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Conduct chemical analyses of body fluids, such as blood or urine, using microscope or automatic analyzer to detect abnormalities or diseases and enter findings into computer.
  • Conduct blood tests for transfusion purposes and perform blood counts.
  • Examine cells stained with dye to locate abnormalities.
  • Set up, maintain, calibrate, clean, and test sterility of medical laboratory equipment.
  • Analyze the results of tests or experiments to ensure conformity to specifications, using special mechanical or electrical devices.
  • Analyze and record test data to issue reports that use charts, graphs, or narratives.
  • Consult with a pathologist to determine a final diagnosis when abnormal cells are found.
  • Prepare standard volumetric solutions or reagents to be combined with samples, following standardized formulas or experimental procedures.
  • Inoculate fertilized eggs, broths, or other bacteriological media with organisms.
  • Collect blood or tissue samples from patients, observing principles of asepsis to obtain blood sample.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Interests - Laboratory Assistant

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:

Realist

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Investigative

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.

Administrative

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.

Qualities

As a laboratory assistant, you must be thorough, methodical and accurate in setting up experiments and looking after equipment.  
You must be able to meet deadlines, for example, by having equipment ready in time for a teaching class.  
 
Laboratory assistants usually work under supervision, although initiative should be shown.  
 
You must have good communication skills and be able to express your findings clearly, sometimes in written reports. Good observational skills are very important.  
 
For work in some laboratories (especially for companies that make dyes and pigments) you may be tested for colour vision.

Entry Requirements - Laboratory Assistant

Apprenticeship Route

The official entry route for a Laboratory Assistant is through undertaking an apprenticeship.

Click here to find information on the Laboratory Analyst apprenticeship

Pay & Salary - Laboratory Assistant

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €25k - €30k

Data Source(s):
HSE.ie

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Laboratory Assistant

Useful Contacts - Laboratory Assistant

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