What Do Biological Technician Do?
Biological technicians support research in a commercial or academic laboratory setting. In a commercial setting, the technician works to complete experiments that support specific biological projects. In an academic setting, the role of a biological technician can be expanded from just completing experiments to managing laboratory finances, ordering, and planning laboratory functions. A technician will be under the supervision of a laboratory director that will give direction on the experiments that need to be completed and will monitor the success of these experiments.Because of the recent boom in biotechnology companies, there is a 10% projected increase in the demand of biological technicians in the United States. Technicians play an integral function to support and advance the results of a laboratory.
Biological Technician Skills and Abilities
Laboratories will expect technicians to have a good knowledge of biology and chemistry. This understanding is important to help the technician to interpret results and plan experiments successfully. As biological technicians will be required to both read and write research reports, it is important that a biological technician has well-developed technical writing and comprehension skills.
Biological Technician Duties
In most settings, a biological technician will complete standardized biological experiments. Completing the experiments will involve first collecting, isolating, labeling, and storing samples. Afterward, experiments will be completed usually the isolated samples. Because a technician is usually not considered an independent scientist, you will not have to worry about planning your own experiments and creating your own projects. Instead, you will likely work under the close direction of a laboratory director that will provide you with close guidance. In certain laboratories, a biological technician will maintain the cleanliness of the lab, monitor the budget and order supplies. Laboratories that use animals in research will usually require technicians to be able to maintain and work with laboratory subjects.
Biological Technician Tools and Technology
Biological Technicians usually work with common biological tools involving proteins, sugars, lipids and nucleic acid. Some of these tools include nucleic acid sequencers, macromolecular isolation kits and composition analyzers. For visualization of samples like cells and smaller subjects, microscopes will be available. Many biological technician jobs do not require extensive computer knowledge, but a solid understanding of word processing, presentation and database software will be an important asset to a biological technician.
Education and Training for Biological Technician
The typical level of education of a biological technician is to have completed undergraduate education. Completing a degree in biology or chemistry or a related specialty will provide a good foundation for a technician. Because of the demand of technicians, no experience is required to get a job, but experience can help you get higher pay and a better job. During college or high school, many laboratories will pay students to complete basic research in the lab. This experience can be an important addition to your resume.
Biological Technician Salary
The median salary for a biological technician is about $41,000, while the bottom 10% earn approximately $26,000. With more experience and specialty understanding of advanced experimental techniques, a technician can earn the higher end of the spectrum at above $67,000. Working in a commercial industry will likely increase a technician’s salary significantly, while working in a university setting might allow for more flexibility in research topic and schedule.
Biological Technicians Jobs by Geography
Although biological technician jobs are available throughout the United States and Europe at most major colleges and universities, there are specific locations where there is a higher demand and pay for technicians. In California, Texas, New Jersey, Washington DC and Maryland, biological technicians are in demand. These locations host government and university locations that draw in biotechnology companies.