Psychology Lab Assistant Job Description, Key duties and Responsibilities

By | November 28, 2023
Psychology Lab Assistant Job Description
Psychology lab assistants provide support to psychology professors and graduate students in various ways.

This article provides detailed information on the job description of a psychology lab assistant, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they commonly perform.

It also highlights the major requirements you may be expected to meet to be hired for the psychology lab assistant role by most employers/recruiters.

What Does a Psychology Lab Assistant Do?

A psychology lab assistant performs a wide range of duties to support psychology research and experiments.

The psychology lab assistant job description involves assisting psychology professors and graduate students by coordinating the logistics of studies, preparing testing materials, operating equipment, collecting data, processing results, and maintaining the lab.

Psychology lab assistants typically report to a faculty researcher, lab manager, or principal investigator that heads the lab.

These assistants work in university psychology labs in departments focused on areas like cognitive science, biopsychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and more.

Other employers include psychological research firms, hospitals conducting studies, and government agencies.

There are usually no formal education requirements, but a high school diploma and some college psychology coursework is preferred.

On-the-job training is provided.

Background checks, CITI training certification, and HIPAA compliance may be necessary for working with human participants.

The psychology lab assistant work description also entails scheduling participant appointments, preparing consent forms and study materials, and administering procedures and trials.

It also involves scoring assessments, entering data, cleaning and processing data sets, inventorying lab equipment and supplies, and maintaining confidential research records.

Other common duties that psychology lab assistants perform include greeting participants, phone screening, processing payments, troubleshooting technical issues, updating research protocols, coordinating team meetings, organizing files, keeping lab spaces clean and organized, and assisting with grant writing.

The role of a psychology lab assistant is important across countries conducting academic and applied research in psychology.

They allow principal investigators to carry out rigorous studies by managing key logistics and operations.

When hiring lab assistants, employers often look for strong organizational, communication, critical thinking and technological skills given the hands-on coordination involved.

An ability to carefully follow detailed protocols is also valued.

Previous research exposure through coursework or jobs is ideal but not required if the candidate has transferable abilities.

In university settings, lab assistants are overseen by Institutional Review Boards (IRB) that protects human subject welfare.

There is no specific licensing/certification bodies, but background checks, CITI training, and demonstration of HIPAA compliance help qualify assistants to properly interact with people and data in studies.

Off-campus labs conducting medical research may additionally require compliance with government agencies like the FDA or EPA.

Psychology Lab Assistant Job Description Example/Sample/Template

The psychology lab assistant job description consists of the following duties, tasks, and responsibilities:

  • Scheduling – Schedule research participant appointments using online systems and coordinate room reservations
  • Recruiting – Assist with recruiting efforts by posting flyers, emails, social media, and presentations
  • Prescreening – Conduct phone interviews with potential participants to assess eligibility for inclusion in studies
  • Consent – Explain consent forms and procedures thoroughly and obtain signatures documenting informed consent
  • Preparation – Prepare all required testing documents, stimuli, equipment, and materials needed to carry out studies and experimental protocols
  • Execution – Accurately administer assessments, present stimuli, collect data and biological samples, and employ all protocols under supervision
  • Organization – Keep testing rooms, waiting areas, storage spaces, supplies, files and research documents well-organized and neatly maintained
  • Documentation- Record details of tests, trials, and measurement results through lab notebook record keeping, data worksheets, computerized data files, secure online databases, and encrypted data storage methods
  • Analysis – Score and tabulate data, assist with statistical analyses and interpretation using analysis and visualization software under guidance
  • Compliance – Adhere to all institutional, governmental, and ethical guidelines governing consent, privacy, handling of protected health information as directed to ensure study integrity
  • Outreach – Occasionally assist with recruitment efforts, science demonstrations, community partnership building activities, and other forms of public engagement with research
  • Manage lab budget logs and track purchase requisitions for supplies and equipment
  • Perform quality checks on testing equipment and instrumentation to ensure proper functioning Assist with preparing materials for IRB reviews of new research proposals
  • Coordinate lab tours and information sessions for prospective research participants and visitors
  • Manage cloud-based data storage systems and ensure proper encryption protocols are followed
  • Perform literature reviews using online scientific databases to compile background research
  • Use social media platforms to showcase lab research activities and increase public engagement
  • Design research posters, fliers, and visual aids to assist investigators with conference presentations
  • Transcribe video recordings, audio recordings, and notes from qualitative research interviews
  • Provide editing and proofreading assistance for research manuscripts during the publication process
  • Photograph and film experiments to create multimedia visual documentation for publishing
  • Inform investigators of upcoming grant application deadlines across various foundations and alerts
  • Conduct phone screenings of participants for eligibility in external research studies as needed
  • Arrange catering, transportation, and honoraria for participant incentive compensation
  • Organize outreach activities with student clubs and local community partners to promote the lab’s work.

Psychology Lab Assistant Job Description for Resume

If you have worked before in the role of a psychology lab assistant or are presently working in that position and are making a resume or CV for a new job, then you can craft a compelling Professional Experience section for your resume by utilizing the sample psychology lab assistant job description provided above.

You can highlight the duties and responsibilities that you have carried out or are presently performing as a psychology lab assistant in the Professional Experience section of your resume by applying the ones in the psychology lab assistant job description example above.

This will show that you have been successful in performing the psychology lab assistant role, which can greatly enhance your chances of being hired for the new position that you are seeking, especially if it required someone with some psychology lab assistant work experience.

Psychology Lab Assistant Requirements: Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities for Career Success

Here are important requirements that candidates for the psychology lab assistant position may be expected to fulfill to be hired:

  • Interpersonal skills – Assistants should have strong communication abilities to interact with participants, researchers, and fellow lab assistants during various phases of experiments.
  • Being diligent and precise is crucial when it comes to following protocols, for sample preparation, data collection, analysis and organization.
  • Having a grasp of technology and being able to adapt to new psychology software, online data platforms and digital tools is essential.
  • Being well organized and possessing strong time management abilities are essential, for coordinating lab tasks, managing supplies and scheduling participants across studies.
  • Maintaining composure and staying calm in high pressure situations is crucial as it enables problem solving during experiments ensuring operations in research.
  • Being a team player plays a role in fostering productivity by collaborating with researchers, graduate students, and fellow assistants.
  • Having an enthusiasm for learning and taking responsibility for one’s own education are crucial qualities, as laboratory techniques, methods and analytical programs often evolve over time.
  • Demonstrating professionalism and exercising caution while handling data and interacting with subjects is of utmost importance.
  • Having a nature and actively seeking opportunities to expand research skills and knowledge can significantly accelerate development.

Psychology Lab Assistants Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report from May 2022, psychology lab assistants received salary of $54,582.

The top five paying states were:

  1. New Jersey: $76,144
  2. Massachusetts: $72,993
  3. Washington: $66,628
  4. Delaware: $61,810
  5. North Carolina: $61,620.


If you’re fascinated by human thinking, behavior, and motivation, working as a psychology lab assistant lets you peek behind the curtain to see how studies uncover the mysteries of the mind.

As we’ve discussed, the psychology lab assistant job description entails vital coordination role, admin, and research support tasks that directly help run key experiments. 

So, if you’re highly organized, meticulous, tech-savvy, and genuinely interested in participant testing, you may have what it takes to succeed as a lab assistant!

It’s a great way to explore the field for those intrigued by the “how” and “why” of human psychology.

It’s also a great transitional position for undergraduates pursuing further psychology education.

Gaining exposure to specialized equipment, statistical software, or bio-sampling collection procedures can better prepare you for graduate programs.  

As the field of psychology continues rapidly evolving to improve human welfare, capable assistants willing to take on unsung but mission-critical labors will remain in demand.

The promising job outlook, stellar on-the-job training opportunities, and doors opened to long-term research careers make the psychology lab assistant role extremely worthwhile.

Employers/recruiters can use the sample psychology lab assistant job description provided in this article as a blueprint for properly conveying expectations of the role.