Lab Technician 

(Female, Age 25) from Tallahassee, NY

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 25 who works as a Lab Technician in Tallahassee, NY. We have removed all names and personal information in order to protect privacy. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete one of our job profile surveys so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job Title Lab Technician
Salary $35,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week 40
Company Size (not answered)
Location Tallahassee, NY
Years Experience 2 years

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career 0
Education (not answered)
Income Rating 0 / 10
Interest Rating 0 / 10
Work-Life Rating 0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating 0 / 10

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
Research at Florida State University

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
Maintenance of lab supplies, extraction, amplification and sequencing of elasmobranch tissues, undergraduate supervision and training.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
4 hours sick leave, 4 hours vacation time per pay period, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
I work alone and I dislike this because it gets very lonely.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
Lab with no windows, very cold AC and asbestos in the building!

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 6
Benefits: 7
Hours: 4
Co-Workers: 2
Supervisors: 3
Job Title: 8
Level of Responsibility: 5
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8am Not at work yet
8am to 9am Arrival at work. I check my email and plan my activities for the day. Usually make a checklist of what I have to do so I can see what my progress is throughout the day.
9am to 10am I pour agarose gels, which are like jell-o. These take about 30 minutes to set. I also take out reagents that need to thaw before being ready for use in PCRs.
10am to 11am I run my gels, which means putting the DNA into the wells and allowing it to separate based on size. I set up PCRs, which is essentially a xerox process for DNA. I also image my gels – which means taking a photo under UV light. This allows me to see what DNA has been amplified.
11am to 12pm I do database maintenance – we have a database that keeps track of all of our tissue samples and what amplifications they have undergone. I will also check my email at this time for requests from my PI or collaborators.
12pm to 1pm Lunch.
1pm to 2pm Today I had to pull out 100 DNA samples from the freezer to thaw for amplification. They are in individual boxes labeled by number and are difficult to get out because of the frost buildup in teh freezer.
2pm to 3pm I diluted these 100 samples to 1/10 their original concentration by adding a small volume to a measured volume of water. I then put these dilutions into a microtiter plate.
3pm to 4pm I amplified the DNA in the microtiter plate for a marker of interest for the lab. I then put away all of the DNA dilutions back into the freezer in their labeled positions.
4pm to 5pm I prepped samples for sequencing by plating PCR products into a new microtiter plate and freezing them. I submitted a sample information sheet online to the sequencing company (excel spreadsheet).
5pm to 6pm N/A
6pm to 7pm N/A
7pm to 8pm N/A
8pm to 9pm N/A
9pm to 10pm N/A
10pm to 11pm N/A
11pm to 12am N/A

Table of Contents

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?

What was the application process?
electronic application

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes, a phone interview with the principal investigator of the lab discussing my skills and abilities.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
Just skills in general I think. And why someone with a MS in genetics was interested in a lab tech position…

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes, the job description was accurate and the training was sufficient.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
Yes. The previous lab tech trained me in the proper SOPs for this lab.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes, without knowledge of biology and lab techniques, I would have had a very hard time troubleshooting technical issues and explaining things to undergraduates.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
Yes, my internship gave me important tools to understand contamination in the lab, how to process samples efficiently and accurately, and proper workflow in a DNA environment.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
get a degree in a natural science and participate in undergraduate research opportunities to increase their experience.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Attention to detail

Need to be accurate with your work – small mistakes can be very costly

Technical lab skills and understanding of scientific concepts

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Yes – this is not a job that a person who is not trained in biological techniques could do.

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Keep excellent notes and take your time with every thing you do.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
No – I would like to work in forensic science, but the state crime labs are under hiring freezes right now.

What are your current career goals?
Forensic DNA analyst – I would like to work in a crime lab.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

Title Length Salary Description
Prior Job 1 research assistant 2 years 18000 graduate research in human genetics. The results of this research have not yet been published so I can’t go into much more detail at this time.
Prior Job 2 New Jersey State police 3 months 5000 Internship with New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Science. I trained as a “DNA analyst” – observed and practiced techniques used in forensic DNA analysis.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3.9

GPA School Degree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3.63 The college of New Jersey Biology, B.S.
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)
4 Penn state Genetics, M.S.

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