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Technician - Career Information

Technician picture    Technician image

Nearly every industry relies on technicians to perform a wide range of tasks that are essential to their goals. Some of the tasks performed by technicians include, but are not limited to:

  • Setting up equipment for team members
  • Creating reports using compiled data
  • Preparing workspaces for specific experiments or tasks
  • Working under the supervision of experts in their field

Many technician careers can be found in the life, physical, and social sciences fields. However, technicians can be found in nearly any industry or business. The following list includes the most popular occupations available to technicians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians
  • Avionics Technicians
  • Biological Technicians
  • Broadcast Technicians
  • Chemical Technicians
  • Civil Engineering Technicians
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians
  • Engineering Technicians
  • Environmental Engineering Technicians
  • Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
  • Forensic Science Technicians
  • Forest and Conservation Technicians
  • Industrial Engineering Technicians
  • Mechanical Engineering Technicians
  • Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians
  • Sound Technicians
  • Agricultural and Food Science Technicians
  • Electro-Mechanical Technicians
  • Geological and Petroleum Technicians
  • Nuclear Technicians
  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians
  • Wind Turbine Technicians

Top Technician Careers (BLS, 2013)

CareerNumber of Workers Nationally in 2013Job DescriptionDegree Requirements
Chemical Technicians63,880According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical technicians monitor chemical experiments and create detailed reports of their findings, set up and maintain equipment, and perform various tasks under the supervision of a chemist or chemical engineer.The BLS reports that most chemical technicians earn an Associate degree and receive training on-the-job.
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians34,510These workers inspect buildings and establishments to check for environmental safety hazards or violations. They collect air, soil, and water samples, analyze them, and create plans for environmental improvements.Environmental science and protection technicians typically need an Associate degree, the BLS reports. However, some positions may require a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science.
Biological Technicians71,590Biological technicians conduct biological experiments under the supervision of a biologist or scientist. They maintain laboratory equipment, analyze data they collect, and create detailed reports.Biological technicians usually need a Bachelor's degree in Biology or a related field in order to gain employment, says the BLS.
Industrial Engineering Technicians68,520Industrial engineering technicians provide assistance to industrial engineers. They analyze construction and engineering designs and plans, look for inefficiencies, and suggest changes that can improve a plan's layout or design.According to the BLS, most industrial engineering technicians earn an Associate degree or certificate of completion.
Civil Engineering Technicians69,830Civil engineering technicians assist civil engineers as they draft plans for bridges, buildings, airports, and dams. They inspect project sites and test construction materials for safety and quality.According to the BLS, most civil engineering technicians earn an Associate degree.

Education Required to Prepare for a Career in Education

Since technician careers vary greatly, the educational requirements for each of these jobs vary as well. However, the vast majority of employers who hire technicians prefer to hire candidates with some postsecondary education, notes the BLS. Meanwhile, earning a degree specific to the field you hope to enter might improve your job prospects further. The following table uses data from the BLS to outline the different degree options in this field and what kind of career they may help you qualify for:

Degree TypeTimeline for CompletionPossible Careers
CertificateCertificate programs vary in length. However many technician certificate programs can be completed in 1-2 years.Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians, Broadcast Technicians, Sound Technicians,Industrial Engineering Technicians,Electro-Mechanical Technicians
AssociateAssociate degrees can typically be completed with two years of full-time study. However, programs completed on a part-time basis may take longer.Nuclear Technicians, Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians, Avionics Technicians, Broadcast Technicians, Sound Technicians, Chemical Technicians, Civil Engineering Technicians, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians, Engineering Technicians, Environmental Engineering Technicians,Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Forest and Conservation Technicians, Industrial Engineering Technicians, Mechanical Engineering Technicians,Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians, Agricultural and Food Science Technicians, Electro-Mechanical Technicians, Geological and Petroleum Technicians, Surveying and Mapping Technicians, Wind Turbine Technicians
Bachelor'sBachelor's degree programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.Biological Technicians,Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Forensic Science Technicians,Agricultural and Food Science Technicians, Nuclear Technicians

Sources:

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Chemical Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemical-technicians.htm#tab-1

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-science-and-protection-technicians.htm

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Biological Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/biological-technicians.htm

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Industrial Engineering Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/industrial-engineering-technicians.htm

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Civil Engineering Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineering-technicians.htm

Schools for Technician are listed in the column to the left.

Careers and Salary Data

This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.

Click each Occupation title for more details.


Technician

OccupationJobs
(2016)
Median Pay
(2016)
% Growth
2014-2024
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians11,710     $67,240     6.6%
Agricultural and Food Science Technicians21,120     $39,910     6.3%
Avionics Technicians18,620     $62,650     6.0%
Biological Technicians74,980     $43,800     10.2%
Broadcast Technicians30,390     $39,060     -3.2%
Chemical Technicians64,550     $47,280     3.9%
Civil Engineering Technicians71,430     $51,620     8.8%
Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians30,100     $30,960     11.9%
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians128,320     $63,660     2.0%
Electro-Mechanical Technicians13,050     $56,740     3.5%
Engineering Technicians76,630     $62,230     5.2%
Environmental Engineering Technicians17,590     $50,230     12.9%
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians32,840     $45,490     11.9%
Forensic Science Technicians15,070     $57,850     16.8%
Forest and Conservation Technicians30,570     $36,130     3.8%
Geological and Petroleum Technicians14,820     $54,190     16.4%
Industrial Engineering Technicians65,020     $54,280     0.6%
Life Science Technicians66,890     $48,090     9.6%
Mechanical Engineering Technicians43,390     $55,360     5.0%
Nuclear Technicians6,850     $80,370     0.6%
Sound Technicians13,370     $55,810     6.3%
Surveying and Mapping Technicians51,890     $43,340     10.6%
Wind Turbine Technicians4,390     $53,880     96.1%

Selected Schools for Technician (including any online schools)

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