What does the cure for polio, the latest flu vaccine and the study of the human genome have in common? All were developed in labs.

If you want to be on the front lines of cutting-edge science, then consider a career in the laboratory. Scientists around the world are working to find new vaccines, mapping our DNA profiles and learning more about our place in the universe with the help of the latest technology. These advancements are helping to make the world a better, healthier place.

If you’re interested in a career where you can don the white coat, a degree in health sciences can help lead you there, from working on experiments directly to leading a group as a lab manager. In fact, West Virginia State University’s online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences teaches you leadership skills that will be crucial to running a laboratory operation.

Job Spotlight: Lab Manager

After earning an online BS in Health Sciences, some graduates pursue a career as a lab manager.

In general, lab managers supervise the work of scientists that work in a laboratory, including chemists, physicists and biologists. Lab managers direct strategy and activity on research and development as well as testing, quality control and potential production for mass market.

Lab managers serve as a conduit between company executives and folks doing the research. Managers work with executives to develop goals and strategies they want the researchers to accomplish, and it’s the lab manager’s task to see goals come to fruition.

In addition, lab managers will help recruit and hire researchers to the team, take inventory of lab resources to ensure there is enough to conduct experiments and tests on a daily basis, and provide technical assistance to researchers when they need help.

Lab managers can work in a number of settings. Some work for universities, overseeing grant-based research. Others work for pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. And others work in the public sector or in private labs funded by corporations.

According to a recent survey of nearly 900 lab managers across the world, salaries for lab managers range from $46,760 (university lab) per year to $72,270 (industrial lab).

Average Salaries by Industry

  • Pharmaceutical lab: $69,800
  • Biotech lab: $69,040
  • University lab: $46,760
  • Clinical or research lab: $62,910
  • Industrial lab: $72,270
  • Government lab: $69,040
  • Private lab: $64,050
  • Other: $55,000

The survey also found that 74 percent of respondents rate job satisfaction as good to excellent. In addition, only 13.5 percent of respondents indicated a decrease in lab budget year over year, showing that lab studies are one of the most sustainably growing fields in the world.

In terms of regions across the U.S., lab managers in California led the pack with an average salary of $91,884.61, while the overall U.S. average salary was $69,683.39.

Average Salaries by Region

  • New England $74,689.65 (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)
  • South $64,923.08 (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, MO, SC, TN)
  • PA/NY/NJ $70,015.38
  • Mid-Atlantic $70,673.08 (DE, District of Columbia, MD, NC, VA, WV)
  • Midwest $67,239.13 (IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, NE, ND, OH, OK, SD, WI)
  • West/Northwest $71,594.60 (CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, AK, WY)
  • California $91,884.61
  • Southwest $68,999.99 (AZ, NM, TX)
  • Overall Average: $69,683.39

Become a Lab Manager. Start Here.

Our fully online Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program provides students with the tools and resources necessary to step into the career they want.

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The Four Pillars of Laboratory Management

The job of laboratory manager sits on four pillars, according to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. These are:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Leadership
  • Control

As researchers focus on the day’s task, lab managers must be cognizant of the bigger picture, making sure that the research team stays on task, is working towards a goal and has all the resources necessary to accomplish that goal.

Organization is crucial for lab managers, from daily, weekly and monthly tasks to communicating with higher-ups and researchers. Successful lab managers hold regular meetings, both informal and formal, to keep everyone focused and to deal with issues that come up. It’s more than just having a clean desk.

Overseeing a group demands great leadership. It’s important to learn your leadership style and focus on your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Strong leadership can help you motivate your employees to even greater successes, leading to added growth for your organization.

Lastly, it’s vital to be in control. Like everything in life, there will be problem. As a manager, it’s your job to find solutions. If you have control, dealing with difficult situations, from lab accidents to intra-work conflicts, will be easier to manage. It’s suggested that you can motivate your employees through rewards and encouragement rather than fear of failure. And while you ultimately have control, it’s important to give your employees control over their work, instead of micromanaging details.

Build a Healthier Community

If you’re interested in helping develop a healthier population in your community, enroll today in West Virginia State University’s online BS in Health Sciences. This program, which can be finished in as little as two years, provides students with an in-depth look at the relationship between social issues and health. Students will learn to apply theories and the latest healthcare trends to improving their community. As with all our fully online programs, you don’t have to step a foot on campus, allowing you to balance your degree with your busy life.