Laboratory analysts typically perform experiments and then analyze, record, and share the results they obtain. If you want to become a laboratory analyst, you will usually need a high school diploma and an educational background that includes advanced science, math, and health courses. Some employers might also require a science degree or completion of a training program in a field such as laboratory studies. Additionally, you might need experience working in a lab as well as communication, organizational, analytical, and computer skills.
A high school diploma is often required when you want to become a laboratory analyst. This job usually requires strong analytical skills, knowledge of laboratory procedures, the ability to make precise measurements, and experience with laboratory equipment. As such, you may benefit from taking advanced science courses while in high school, including those that incorporate a laboratory component. You might also benefit from taking advanced health and math classes and courses that help you build written and verbal communication skills in preparation for this career. Most higher-education institutions and prospective employers will accept a General Educational Development® (GED®) diploma instead.
Some employers require applicants to have higher education in addition to a high school diploma when applying for this job. The amount of education you need, however, will typically depend on the employer with which you seek a job. Some employers will expect you to have an associate's or bachelor's degree when you want to become a laboratory analyst while others may be satisfied if you complete a laboratory studies or related program through a technical school. Usually, however, jobs that involve more responsibility, depend on more advanced scientific knowledge, and offer higher pay require the most advanced credentials.
Many employers will give your application preference if you have experience working in a lab. In fact, some employers will not hire you without such experience. Although paid work experience is often expected, there are other ways to fulfill this type of requirement. For example, the laboratory experience you acquire during college or in a training program may count. Likewise, internships you complete may help you land this job.
As far as skills and abilities are concerned, you will likely need a wide range of them to become a laboratory analyst. For example, you will generally need good communication skills and mathematical abilities. Organizational skills are often important as well, and employers will expect you to pay attention to detail. Additionally, experience with computers and productivity software, including spreadsheet and database programs, may help you land this job.