How to become a research assistant

Written by j. johnson
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How to become a research assistant
(glass beakers image by Mark Aplet from

Research assistants are needed in many different career fields, including medicine, technology, business, government, marketing and various scientific fields. Different areas of academia are also in need of research assistants to help professors or the university with research projects. It's common for research assistants to be hired on a contract basis. This should be considered carefully before you enter the field.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Take advantage of high school courses that involve the type of research you'd like to assist with. For example, if you want to become a medical assistant, you should take the advanced science and math courses offered by your high school.

  2. 2

    Enrol in a bachelor's degree program in your research field. Whether you plan to work in academics, for a private company or for the government, you will be required to have a bachelor's degree. Choose a program that's most relevant to the type of research you want to assist with.

  3. 3

    Take technical writing courses while earning your bachelor's degree. Research assistants are required to have proficient technical writing skills. You will also need to be an excellent communicator, and you'll need to have above-average organizational skills.

  4. 4

    Develop proficiency in advanced computer programs. As a research assistant, you'll be required to track and analyse large amounts of data. This type of work requires sophisticated knowledge of different computer programs. If you can prove that you're technologically inclined and a fast learner of different programs, you'll be a more successful research assistant.

  5. 5

    Enrol in a postgraduate program after completing your bachelor's degree if you plan to assist a professor or university with research. Most research assistants in academia are graduate students who are earning an advanced degree in the field. As with the bachelor's degree program you chose, make sure the postgraduate program you enter is relevant to your research field.

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