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What Does a Laboratory Analyst Do?

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  • Written By: Nick Mann
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Working as a laboratory analyst is often fitting for people who are fascinated by science and enjoy performing scientific experiments. These individuals analyze numerous specimens, and can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals and industrial facilities. Candidates for this position are typically required to have a minimum of an associate's degree in a science related field, but a bachelor's degree is preferable. Some common job duties of a laboratory analyst include conducting experiments, recording results, cleaning testing equipment, maintaining laboratory safety and monitoring inventory.

The primary responsibility of a laboratory analyst is conducting experiments. For example, if he is working at a hospital, he might perform testing on patients' tissue samples. If he is working at an industrial facility, he may do testing on different chemicals used in production. To perform this job safely, a laboratory analyst must have extensive knowledge of lab equipment and follow safety guidelines.

Upon the completion of an experiment or testing, an individual will be required to record the results. In the case of a tissue sample, he might need to determine if it was cancerous and document his findings. Most of the time, the results will be placed in a database so they can be easily accessed by computer in the future. After each test, a laboratory analyst will also need to dispose of any leftover wastes. When appropriate, he might also publish his findings in scientific journals for other professionals to review.

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Along with this, it's important for a laboratory analyst to clean testing equipment. Items like beakers, flasks, test tubes and other materials all need to be cleaned to prevent hazards or incorrect test results. Sometimes, this process is simple and involves cleaning items with soap and water. Other times, an individual may need to completely sterilize equipment.

Maintaining laboratory safety is another duty of a laboratory analyst. Due to the use of harmful chemicals and the potential for accidents, he must inspect equipment and keep the lab clean. If he finds faulty equipment or other hazards, it's his job to address the situation and report it to a supervisor.

In addition, an individual in this position must monitor laboratory inventory and order supplies when necessary. To keep his lab fully functioning, it's important for a laboratory analyst to keep tabs on what's in stock. When a particular item is running low, he will need to place an order ahead of time. Consequently, it helps for an analyst to be organized and capable of looking ahead.

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Chmander
Post 2

@Euroxati - I've never been a laboratory analyst, but in middle school and college, we did a lot of experiments which involved mixing substances together, and I can assume being an analyst has those similarities.

It was pretty fun, although I will admit that it did get frustrating at times. More than often, my results wouldn't come out the way they were supposed to. However, through trial and error, and constant retries, I learned how to work my experiments. Things didn't always turn out the way I expected, but as Euroxati said, it's all part of the process.

Euroxati
Post 1

One thing most people need to remember about being a laboratory analyst is that it's all about trial and error, and it requires a lot of patience as well. Noting results and performing experiments aren't easy, but it really teaches you to learn from your mistakes, and you also realize what works and what doesn't.

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