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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.

Biological Technicians Skills

Below are the skills needed to be biological technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Reading Comprehension44.62
Critical Thinking3.884
Active Listening3.753.75
Science3.753.62
Active Learning3.53.88

Biological Technicians Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be biological technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Oral Comprehension3.884.62
Near Vision3.884.12
Inductive Reasoning3.884.12
Information Ordering3.753.88
Oral Expression3.754

Biological Technicians Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be biological technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Biology4.435.74
English Language3.783.75
Mathematics3.293.55
Computers and Electronics3.243.8
Chemistry3.213.9

Biological Technicians Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being biological technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Documenting/Recording Information4.653.96
Processing Information4.615.6
Analyzing Data or Information4.444.82
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events4.395.53
Getting Information4.194.46

Biological Technicians Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being biological technicians according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Attention to Detail4.62
Dependability4.49
Integrity4.45
Independence4.36
Cooperation4.13

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 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward3,220 $57,980
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim2,900 $52,730
San Diego-Carlsbad2,650 $52,550
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood2,270 $49,400
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land2,080 $43,670
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue1,930 $45,800
Pittsburgh1,350 $39,410
Columbus1,330 $39,780
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara960 $58,660
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington870 $43,520

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Biological Technicians

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to biological technicians

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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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.