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Biological Technicians

Biological technicians typically assist biologists studying living organisms. They collect information, samples and materials. They sometimes use robotics, computers, computer-interfaced equipment and high technology industrial applications. They conduct experiments and tests. They provide the results from experiments and tests to scientists.

Some biological technologists are employed by pharmaceutical companies and assist in the development and the manufacture of medicines. Many biological techs assist scientists that perform medical research such as trying to find a cure for AIDS. Some biological techs work with insects and may assist scientists with developing new insecticides. They also analyze organic substances including food, drugs and blood.

Science technicians involved with biotechnology, utilize the techniques and knowledge gained from research and apply them to developing products. Biological aides that are involved with microbiology usually work as laboratory assistants and study living organisms and infectious agents.

Some common job titles include laboratory technician, biological science laboratory technician, research associate, research assistant, biological aide, research specialist, research technician and wildlife biology technician.

Responsibilities

  • Set up, operate and maintain laboratory equipment and instruments
  • Examine specimens and animals in order to detect diseases or other problems
  • Monitor experiments and make evaluations
  • Calculate and record results from experiments
  • Analyze organic substances
  • Evaluate data from experiments and interpret results
  • Prepare, clean and maintain work areas and supplies
  • Isolate, identify and prepare specimens for examination

Job Characteristics

Most scientific technicians work indoors, typically in laboratories and have standard work hours. Sometimes they may have to work irregular hours in order to observe experiments. Biological technicians sometimes work with radioactive agents or disease causing organisms. Proper safety procedures need to be followed.

Since they often report their information, having good oral and written communication skills is important for the occupation. They need strong computer, organizational and analytical skills. Biological technicians should also be detailed oriented.

Employment Outlook

From 2008 to 2018 the employment of biological technicians has been projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to increase by 18 percent which is faster than the average for all occupations. The growing amount of medicinal and agricultural products developed from biotechnology research will increase the demand for these technicians. In 2008 approximately 30 percent of biological technicians were employed by professional, scientific or technical firms.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Biological technicians often are required to have a bachelor's degree in biology or in a closely related subject. Some employers hire science technicians that have completed at least two years of specialized postsecondary training or hold an associate degree in applied science or science related technology.

Technical institutions provide technical training for scientific technicians, however they usually provide less theory and general education than community colleges. Some schools provide internship programs or cooperative-education programs which provide students the opportunity to work at a company or some other type of workplace while they attend classes during alternate terms.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employers are colleges, universities, medical research centers, agricultural research centers; professional, scientific firms; technical firms, nonprofit research associations, chemical companies, the drug industry, the food processing industry and the government.

Schools for Biological Technicians are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Biological Technicians

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Biological Technicians jobs , as of 2016

     
Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 3,720 $61,670
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 3,190 $52,600
San Diego-Carlsbad 2,500 $52,800
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 2,180 $48,270
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 1,810 $44,910
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 1,800 $43,960
Pittsburgh 1,140 $41,750
Columbus 1,040 $37,230
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 950 $58,130
Oklahoma City 820 $39,060

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to biological technicians

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Biological Technicians

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Professional And Technical Services 23,900 33% $41,320
Education 20,220 28% $38,060
Government 14,950 20% $32,920
Chemicals 5,880 8% $40,970
Hospital 3,100 4% $38,580
Medical Office 2,140 2% $38,590
Office Services And Staffing 720 1% $36,540
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Biological Technicians.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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