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    Is a PhD really necessary for lab based research work in biological sciences or something similar?

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    For working in a lab, no. Lab technicians often finish higher education with a master's degree.

    To be a scientist <who directs research, designs experiments, writes the reports, and gets all the credit for it>, such as a lecturer or a research fellow, then yes you need a PhD. You get paid to do a PhD, so think of it as the entry level scientist job.

    The route after that is to become a post-doc, who has a 2-3 year contract. After that you, hopefully, become a lecturer or a research fellow, directing your own lab and possibly being given teaching duties.

    I'm sure you got bored of waiting for an answer, and have already found some information somewhere else.
 
 
 
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