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Research Assistant

Salary Range:
$15 to $18 per hour

Close Date: Open Until Filled

This is not a regular SANDAG position. The selected candidate will be hired as a Temporary, Intern, Part-Time, or Seasonal (TIPS) employee. Benefits are not included.

Application Instructions:
Details about the SANDAG Employment Application and cover letter required for this position can be found below.


With the guidance and supervision of senior staff, this position will provide a “hands-on” learning experience in the applied/criminal justice research profession.

All employees working in the Applied/Criminal Justice Research Division are required to pass a criminal history background check conducted by the San Diego County Sheriff’s department, a driving record check, and tuberculosis (TB) test upon hire and annually thereafter.

Overview of Applied/Criminal Justice Research Program

The Applied/Criminal Justice Research Division is the clearinghouse for crime data throughout the region and is well known for producing high quality research that has policy implications. Projects include supporting various quality of life projects related to regional plans; identifying economic trends; conducting specialized grant funded research; and evaluating national and local crime prevention programs and practices. Research Assistants play an important role in the data collection process.

Job Responsibilities

  • Conduct interviews and surveys with study participants, either in person or by telephone.
  • Participate in the collection of data from numerous primary and secondary sources which may include surveys, database searches, or reviews of hard copy records.
  • Code, enter, compile, clean, and process regional crime data and other program evaluation data; ensure data are accurate and reliable; assist with maintaining comprehensive project databases and documentation.
  • Maintain and organize project files, records, and data collection instruments.
  • Assist with reviewing and proof-reading reports and publications.

Experience and Qualifications

  • Graduate or undergraduate level coursework in criminal justice, sociology, psychology, mathematics, statistics, economics, or a related social science field.
  • Knowledge and some experience with primary and secondary research principles and methods.
  • Demonstrated ability to accurately collect, compile, and document data from a variety of sources; ability to identify and resolve data inconsistencies and other problems.
  • Experience preparing tables, graphs, and charts used for presenting and analyzing information.
  • Intermediate computer skills with MS Word, MS Excel, and Internet research; proficiency with SPSS and R is desirable.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality of highly sensitive data.
  • Ability to communicate with various audiences using interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to maintain a high level of accuracy.
  • Demonstrated flexibility and willingness to perform a variety of tasks typical of an entry-level research position.
  • Proficiency with both oral and written Spanish language skills is desirable.

Program, Pay, and Perks

For Research Assistants working in-office, undergraduate-level Research Assistants are paid $15 per hour and Research Assistants with a bachelor’s degree or higher are paid $18 per hour. In-office Research Assistants are eligible to receive pro-rated holiday pay, paid sick leave, and a regional transit pass. The work is primarily performed during normal business hours and, from time to time, may involve evenings and weekends, approximately 20 to 25 hours per week.

Research Assistants working out-of-office on the Substance Abuse Monitoring (SAM) Program are paid $14.50 per hour. The schedule involves collecting data during non-traditional business hours at off-site locations at specific times throughout the year, working approximately 100 hours a year. Work schedules, duties, and location may vary throughout the duration of these positions.

Positions are offered as a one-year opportunity.

Opportunities at SANDAG

If you are a student or recent graduate, an entry-level Research Assistant position at SANDAG is a great way to launch your career! The agency works on interesting and challenging projects and our managers are dedicated to sharing these experiences and mentoring the next generation of professionals in the industry.

The experience is substantive. If selected for a Research Assistant position, you will be fully integrated into your team and given project responsibilities that are both learning opportunities and a chance for you to contribute to the overall success of the agency. You will enhance your technical knowledge in your chosen field and refine your abilities to collaborate, contribute to high-performing teams, and communicate – skills that are the essence of a successful professional!

How to Apply

We encourage interested candidates to apply for these positions by completing a SANDAG Employment Application along with a cover letter describing how the position would contribute to your career goals in the Applied/Criminal Justice Research field. Resumes and work samples may be submitted but are not a substitute for the Employment Application and cover letter.

The Employment Application can be downloaded from the SANDAG website or requested by emailing or calling (619) 699-1900. Completed applications can be submitted via email, fax, regular mail, or delivered by hand. See our Careers/How to Apply webpage for additional information.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), SANDAG will accommodate persons who require assistance in order to apply for a position at SANDAG. Applicants requiring an accommodation due to a disability during any stage of the recruitment and selection process, including requesting this document and related application materials in an alternative format, should make their needs known by contacting Human Resources at, (619) 699-1900, (619) 699-1904 (TTY), or fax (619) 699-6905.

Further Information

In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, applicants hired by SANDAG must show acceptable proof of identity and evidence of authorization to work in the United States.

SANDAG is an Equal Opportunity Employer