Lab Analyst Job Description

Lab analysts, also known as laboratory analysts, handle and analyze specimens, keep lab areas clean, and assist lab technicians. Medical facilities, chemical companies, and private laboratories hire lab analysts to work full- and part-time hours during all shifts, including nights and weekends. Lab analysts function as part of a collaborative laboratory team and primarily answer to the lab manager. Lab analysts work in lab environments and rarely travel during the course of their normal job duties.


Lab Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

Lab analysts perform various daily job tasks based on the lab they work in and the types of specimens and samples they analyze. These basic core duties, however, are essentially the same in all laboratory environments:

Handle Specimens

Lab analysts pack and unpack specimens and prepare them for scientific study. This includes placing specimens on slides so they can be viewed under a microscope.

Prepare Orders

Lab analysts prepare orders for delivery and pickup.

Analyze Samples

Lab analysts view and analyze samples and specimens using microscopes and chemical testing procedures. They record their findings in lab databases.

Clean and Sterilize Exam Areas

Lab analysts follow sterilization procedures to keep equipment and examination areas sterilized. They also clean lab glassware, dispose of hazardous waste, and maintain cleanliness in the lab area. This includes sweeping floors and taking out trash.

Maintain Logs

Lab analysts track specimens in laboratory logs, making note of when specimens enter and leave the lab.

Provide Assistance

Lab analysts assist laboratory technicians with all tasks as assigned.

Follow Safety Protocols

Lab analysts follow all safety procedures in the lab to avoid cross-contamination and other hazards that could compromise specimens, samples, or staff members.


Lab Analyst Skills and Qualifications

Lab analysts are detail-oriented professionals with analytical skills who can multitask and follow lab safety protocols. Employers prefer lab analysts who have the following essential skills:

  • Communication skills – good verbal communication skills are essential for lab analysts, who work in collaborative environments with other lab staff members
  • Organization skills – lab analysts must be well organized at all times to keep specimens and lab materials properly labeled and stored
  • Data entry – some data entry skills are required for lab analysts, who keep logs of specimens and make notes about sample analysis
  • Attention to detail – lab analysts use strong attention to detail to perform analysis of specimens and samples and keep track of all lab materials
  • Computer skills – lab analysts need at least basic computer skills to enter information into lab filing systems and access specimen information
  • Multitasking – lab analysts use multitasking abilities to manage several tasks at once


Tools of the Trade

Lab analysts work regularly with the following tools:

  • Chemical solvents (acetone, alcohol, hexane, sulfoxide)
  • Lab equipment (microscopes, Bunsen burners, beakers, vials, test tubes)
  • Samples and specimens


Lab Analyst Education and Training

Education requirements for lab analysts vary by employer. Some employers require lab analysts to have a high school diploma or GED in addition to some college education. However, some employers want lab analysts to have a bachelor’s degree in science or chemistry.

Paid job training is provided to lab analysts so they can become familiar with lab procedures and equipment. Lab analysts in training are closely supervised by the lab manager or senior lab techs. The training period varies based on employer and the amount of education the lab analyst has already obtained.


Lab Analyst Salary and Outlook

According to PayScale data, lab analysts earn $17.20 an hour on average. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians earn $24.89 in median hourly income, or $51,770 per year. These professionals perform many of the same tasks as lab analysts. Jobs in this field are projected to increase 13 percent through 2026, a rate that is faster than the national job growth average.

Lab analysts receive full benefits packages from employers that include health insurance with dental and vision coverage. Retirement benefits and life insurance are usually standard in these packages. Lab analysts also receive paid vacation days, holidays, and sick days.


Helpful Resources

Browse these helpful resources to find job listings, career guidance, tips, and strategies for lab analysts:

The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science – ASCLS provides career recruitment resources, certification information, webinars, and other educational resources for laboratory professionals in all career fields

Basic Laboratory Procedures for the Operator-Analyst – use this book to learn common lab procedure basics with step-by-step instructions and tips

American Association of Bioanalysts – find jobs, upcoming networking events, continuing education programs, and certification courses for laboratory professionals at the AAB website

Medical Laboratory Techniques – this handbook features common medical lab technology, job techniques, and information for medical lab workers of all types

Association of Public Health Laboratories – explore this website to find training programs, upcoming conferences, job listings, and more career resources for lab workers

Purification of Laboratory Chemicals – this guidebook explains how chemical reagents work and react with chemicals and gives detailed information about the process of purifying laboratory chemicals for safe handling


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