Lab assistants collect samples and other items for testing, maintain the laboratory’s equipment and safe conditions and assist researchers, investigators, physicians and scientists reach conclusions. The mean lab assistant salary registers at $30,788 in the United States, C$35,000 ($27,902 USD) in Canada and £25,137 ($35,260 USD) in the United Kingdom. Lab Assistants enjoy a mean annual salary of AU$39,424 ($31,231 USD) in Australia, and NZD$36,000 ($26,586 USD) in New Zealand.
How Much Does a Lab Assistant Make?
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Lab Assistant Salary Determinant Factors
Pay for laboratory assistants turns to significant degrees on the location and type of employer. Larger employers typically have more resources from which to offer salaries and benefits. More experience and seniority generally leads to higher pay for laboratory assistants. Also, laboratory assistants on the whole can earn more with especially large laboratory firms or hospital and health care firms.
1. How Much Does a Lab Assistant Make by Country?
Lab Assistant Salary in US
As reported by PayScale, lab assistants in the United States earn on a mean basis $30,788. Salaries run between $23,873 and $49,404.
Lab Assistant Salary in Canada
PayScale reports for laboratory assistants in Canada a mean pay of C$35,000. Total pay starts at C$24,992 and climbs to C$50,370.
Lab Assistant Salary in UK
According to Neuvoo, lab assistants in the United Kingdom make on a mean basis £25,137. This falls just below the median figure of £27,600 for all workers in the United Kingdom.
Lab Assistant Salary in Australia
Glassdoor states that the mean salaries for lab assistants in Australia stands at AU$39,424. (https://www.glassdoor.com.au/Salaries/australia-laboratory-assistant-salary-SRCH_IL.0,9_IN16_KO10,30.htm)
Lab Assistant Salary in New Zealand
In New Zealand, lab assistants earn on a mean basis NZD$36,000. These workers reported fetch between NZD$29,438 and NZD$60,600.
2. How Much Does a Lab Assistant Make According to Experience?
PayScale puts the mean entry-level pay for lab assistants in the United States at $29,000. For those with five to ten years of experience, salaries rise to $32,000. Ten to twenty-years of experience yields, on a mean basis, only an addition $1,000 in pay. Even at the late career stages, lab assistants can expect on average to earn $36,000.
For lab assistants in Canada, entry-level earnings stand at C$34,000 on average. Those who achieve five to ten years experience reach C$41,000. At ten to 20 years of experience, lab assistants garner mean salaries of C$48,000. The mean rests at C$49,000 for lab assistants with more than 20 years in the job.
In the United Kingdom, lab assistants with little or no experience get around £18,000. At the upper end of experience, salaries climb to £35,000. According to the National Careers Service, “Starter” laboratory technicians in the United Kingdom earn £15,000. Salaries average £20,000 to £25,000 for “Experienced” technicians and run £30,000 or higher for those rated as “Highly Experienced.”
According to PayScale, assistants in New Zealand who attain five to ten years of experience make 21 percent more than the national mean of NZD$36,000.
3. How Much Does a Lab Assistant Make According to Work Environment?
Laboratory assistants populate the medical, forensic and academic fields. Employers in the public sector, such as state-run colleges, government health agencies or law enforcement, operate under budgets which may limit or enhance available funding for positions and their salary. Lab assistants can find higher salaries with larger medical laboratory companies or working for larger police departments.
PayScale reports mean salaries of $31,614 for lab assistants employed by LabCorp (Laboratory Corporation of America), while assistants can earn on average $45,738 with Kaiser Permanente.
According to Glassdoor, Western Diagnostic Pathology and Vetpath Laboratory Services in Australia pay on average AU$37,480 to their lab assistants. The mean pay for lab assistants rest registers at AU$47,697 at Taylors Senior College in Melbourne.
Salaries may also prove above the overall mean in certain types of laboratory work. According to PayScale, medical laboratory assistants in the United States earn on a mean basis $38,790, above the mean of $30,788 for laboratory assistants overall. In the United Kingdom, laboratory assistants in the pathology field are paid on a mean basis £39,876. This rises above the mean of £25,137 for laboratory assistants across the board in the country, as reported by Neuvoo.
Full-time hours characterize the positions for most lab assistants. According to Job Bank Canada, 81 percent of medical laboratory technicians and pathologist assistants in Canada log full time hours, in line with the rate across all occupations in Canada. In the United Kingdom, the work weeks of laboratory technicians last approximately 37 hours per week.
In settings such as hospitals and other 24-hour facilities, laboratory assistants can expect to work nights, weekends and even holidays. Physicians rely on the results of laboratory tests to perform emergency surgeries and other procedures during these irregular shifts. For laboratory assistants in forensics or scientific research, work schedules may extend into evenings and weekends and likely will involve some travel.
Bonuses and Benefits
Lab assistants in the United States can fetch bonuses up to $3,961. From profit sharing, these workers can see an additional $5.14 to $3,452 in compensation. Bonuses for lab assistants in Canada average $1,000. PayScale reports mean bonuses of £945 for laboratory assistants in the United Kingdom.
According to PayScale, 71 percent of lab assistants in the United States have medical benefits. With dental benefits, the coverage rate stands at 62 percent. Nearly 55 percent enjoy vision coverage through the employer. In Canada, 55 percent of lab assistants see medical benefits as part of their compensation package. Dental care goes to 44 percent of these assistants, while one in three receive vision care.
Nearly one out of three lab assistants in the United Kingdom report having medical coverage. A tenth of these workers have vision benefits and dental coverage provided by their employers.
The prevalence of diseases and efforts to find cures and treatments should drive demand for medical and research laboratory services. This in turn may spurn continued job openings for laboratory assistants in the medical arena.
Job trends and other figures on laboratory technicians serve as a barometer for job growth among laboratory assistants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medical and clinical laboratory technician and technologist field should see a 13 percent jump in employment through 2026. This translates to 42,700 additional jobs over the estimated 335,700 medical and clinical laboratory technicians and technologists in 2016. (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm#tab-6)
A lack of a sufficient number of trainees leads the New Zealand Government to treat as “good” job prospects for medical laboratory technicians and a high demand for their services.
Chances for finding laboratory assistant jobs appear strongest in highly populated areas or communities with a significant presence of medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices. Cities and regions with universities also provide substantial opportunities for jobs, given the research activity and medical facilities on campuses.
Lab assistants can accumulate experience to fill upper level roles such as laboratory technicians and technologists, laboratory managers or team leaders. Work in a laboratory also affords a valuable background for aspiring scientists, investigators or medical professionals such as nurses, physicians and pathologists.
Salaries for lab assistants fall generally in the lower levels among occupations. Hiring for these assistants, especially in the medical arena, should prove steady as medical providers and patients rely on lab tests to diagnose diseases. Research institutions also afford openings for lab assistants to help discover cures, while lab assistants in law enforcement can aide investigators in determining causes of deaths and solving crimes. Work as a lab assistant can springboard these workers to management or to careers as forensic scientists, physicians or senior-level scientists.