This research aims to investigate the determining factors in how research assistants build their professional identity. In the study, which is a qualitative research method patterned on phenomenology, data was collected using a semi-structured interview form. Structured interviews were conducted with seven research assistants selected from a faculty of education at a state university in Ankara using the criterion sampling method. According to the research results, research assistants were determined to prefer taking faculty members as their role models in building their professional identity. They see this process as an opportunity to specialize in their field and improve themselves, feel that working at a pioneering university with prestige in its field increases their responsibilities, and are more enthusiastic about improving themselves in that direction. In relation to deficiencies in the process of building their professional identity, the participants stated that they have limited opportunities regarding practice and feel uncomfortable conducting research unrelated to their practice. The research results were discussed in the context of related literature, as well as the administrative and functional structure of the higher education system.