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Biology How to move up from Lab Tech?

  1. May 16, 2017 #1
    I recently accepted a job as a Lab Tech. I am pretty happy about the job but I'd want to move on to something more like a Research assistant eventually. I don't know if anyone here is familiar with biology/biomedicine but is a jump like that possible? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 16, 2017 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    No, this is not possible.
  4. May 16, 2017 #3
    What is your educational level? That's a key factor.
  5. May 16, 2017 #4
    Why would that not be possible? I'm not in the same field, but that would appear to be the natural progression.
  6. May 16, 2017 #5

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    A Research Assistant is a graduate student. That's not the career path for technicians.
  7. May 16, 2017 #6
  8. May 16, 2017 #7

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    Why is my response shocking? It's a yes/no question, and the answer is "no". Lab techs move up a different chain. You become a progressively more senior tech, and perhaps move into management - perhaps an ESHQ coordinator.
  9. May 16, 2017 #8
    "shocking" isn't the right word maybe. But I took it as a bit short and dismissive until I realized that you have tried to advise the OP in previous posts.

    -Dave K
  10. May 16, 2017 #9
    I'm a bachelors degree
  11. May 16, 2017 #10
    Well this IS the internet so you know it's not like my personal mentor or something... I like to go on this site for some perspective but a I'll admit I don't always listen to everything I read on here.

    Also in my experience professors sometimes prefer to make me feel bad instead of five me life direction so I've learned to tune them out. Especially vanadium here I have blocked.
  12. May 16, 2017 #11
    Oh I understand your perspective now, I think.

    However, the OP has a bachelor's degree and was giving serious consideration to graduate school. Unless you are also implying that it is not possible for the OP to get into any graduate school, I still would not say that its impossible for this person.

    Could the experience/exposure gotten from time as a lab tech gain this person any likelihood of getting into a masters program? Again, I ask these questions humbly and because I think they might add to the conversation's usefulness. Not because I think that you are wrong. I think you know about this more than I do, which is why I am asking instead of telling :thumbup:
  13. May 16, 2017 #12
    You have to be more articulate if you want to be a research assistant or graduate student.
    You are not a bachelors degree.
    You HAVE a bachelor's degree.

    Make perfect articulation into a habit. Strive for it constantly. Do not allow yourself to ignore semantics. Communication is critical in laboratories, or any scientific institution.
  14. May 16, 2017 #13
    Yea I have spent the past three years applying to graduate school twice and I recently got turned down again. I Will confess there have been some dark nights this past year when I got all my rejections. But it made me reflect that maybe I'm just not PhD material. I'm not the most disciplined student and accounts from others have told me that grad school can he quite a harrowing slough.

    I'm focusing on getting work experience right now and maybe trying a few years later when I feel more experienced....I'm happy with my lab tech job for at least a year...
  15. May 16, 2017 #14
    Work experience might actually sharpen your mental habits. I was more acedemically primed than ever, after I had taken a 2 year break from school. I worked in a lab and formed better mental habits. School was more interesting to me after I had cultivated my curiosity in the lab.

    My problem with school in my first attempt at college was that I was not curious and I took no pride in my work.
    When I went to work in the lab, the environment cultivated my curiosity. I went from a C student to straight As in a gruelling engineering program WHILE I was working full time.
  16. May 16, 2017 #15

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    I'm answering the question asked, without reading in any motivation. Besides, we don't need yet another thread on Delong and grad school.
  17. May 16, 2017 #16
    OK. There's obviously a lot of past history here. I think I had the same confusion as RogueOne, in that "Research Assistant", and various variants, is also a title used in industrial labs, and not restricted to grad students. In an industrial setting, one could advance from a lab tech to research assistant, either after X yrs of experience and a proven track record, or by getting a further degree part-time. E.g., in one industrial R&D lab I worked at, lead scientists and engineers, with a few exceptions, all had PhDs. Support personnel were classified as:

    LA (HS): lab assistant
    TA (2 yr associate): technical assistant
    STA (4 yr bachelor): senior technical assistant.

    At some point, HR decided "assistant" was not politically correct and changed it to "associate". Other labs use "research" instead of "technical".
  18. May 16, 2017 #17
    Part of the reason I wrote this thread is to proclaim to the world that I have what it takes to work I'm a lab woohoo!!

    After working in a lab I realized that science is not always the glamour bomb that I fantasized. Scientists may still sometimes find their work tedious and it requires a lot of patience and dealing with uneventful isolated tasks. In the lab scientists still chat but oftentimes they are concentrating on their pipet work and need silence.

    Even with this realization I still want to work in science but I realized I need to build up a certain tolerance for tedium.
  19. May 16, 2017 #18
    So yeah, let's take a moment to actually appreciate that. Tedious as it might be, it sounds like a decent job to have landed or a good start. You ARE contributing to your field (whatever the company does).

    I think very few scientists spent the majority of their time doing amazing whiz-bang stuff. So, not a bad tolerance to build. :D

    Have you talked to the people you are working with? If the jobs you want exist in the company you are working for, they are the best people to speak with.

    -Dave K
  20. May 16, 2017 #19
    That's really too bad. I think you should re-interpret your experience in light of the fact that people actually ARE trying to give you good advice. Any feelings you are experience as a result of that are a result of your interpretation. They are not imposed upon you by the people giving it.

    -Dave K
  21. May 16, 2017 #20
    I relate to this. My break was a little longer.. kind of a decade-ish. I wouldn't recommend that long a break for anyone else!

    -Dave K
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