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Become A Biological Technician

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Working As A Biological Technician

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $51,046

    Average Salary

What Does A Biological Technician Do

Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.

Duties

Biological technicians typically do the following:

  • Set up, maintain, and clean laboratory instruments and equipment, such as microscopes, scales, and test tubes
  • Gather and prepare biological samples, such as blood, food, and bacteria cultures, for laboratory analysis
  • Conduct biological tests and experiments 
  • Document their work, including procedures, observations, and results
  • Analyze experimental data and interpret results
  • Write reports that summarize their findings

Most biological technicians work on teams. Biological technicians typically are responsible for doing scientific tests, experiments, and analyses under the supervision of biologists or other scientists who direct and evaluate their work. Biological technicians use traditional laboratory instruments, advanced robotics, and automated equipment to conduct experiments. They use specialized computer software to collect, analyze, and model experimental data. Some biological technicians collect samples in the field, so they may need certain skills, such as the ability to hike long distances over sometimes rugged terrain to collect water samples.

Biological technicians work in many research areas. They may assist medical researchers by helping to develop new medicines and treatments used to prevent, treat, or cure diseases.

Biological technicians working in a microbiological context, sometimes referred to as laboratory assistants, typically study living microbes and perform techniques specific to microbiology, such as growing cultures in petri dishes or staining specimens to aid in their identification.

Technicians working in biotechnology apply the knowledge and techniques they have gained from basic research to product development.  

Biological technicians also may work in private industry and assist in the study of a wide range of topics concerning mining and industrial production. They may test samples in environmental impact studies, or monitor production processes to help ensure that products are not contaminated.

Biological technicians working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other government agencies may perform biological testing to support agricultural research and wildlife and resource management goals.

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How To Become A Biological Technician

Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. It is important for prospective biological technicians to gain laboratory experience while they are in school.

Education

Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. Most colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in the biological sciences.

Biological science programs usually include courses in general biology, as well as in specific subfields such as ecology, microbiology, and physiology. In addition to taking courses in biology, students must study chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Computer science courses are helpful for learning how to model and simulate biological processes and for learning how to operate some laboratory equipment. 

Laboratory experience is important for prospective biological technicians, so students should take biology courses that emphasize laboratory work.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Biological technicians need to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision.

Communication skills. Biological technicians must understand and follow the instructions of their managing scientists. They also need to be able to communicate their processes and findings clearly in written reports.

Critical-thinking skills. Biological technicians draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.

Observational skills. Biological technicians must constantly monitor their experiments. They need to keep a complete, accurate record of their work, including the conditions under which the experiment was carried out, the procedures they followed, and the results they obtained.

Technical skills. Biological technicians need to set up and operate sophisticated equipment and instruments. They also may need to adjust equipment to ensure that experiments are conducted properly.

Other Experience

Prospective biological technicians should have laboratory experience. In addition to coursework, students may gain laboratory experience during summer internships with prospective employers, such as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers, or in university laboratories.

Advancement

Biological technicians may advance to scientist positions, such as microbiologist, after a few years of experience working as a technician or after earning a master’s degree or Ph.D. Gaining more experience and higher levels of education often allows biological technicians to move into positions such as natural sciences managers or postsecondary teachers.

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Biological Technician Career Paths

Biological Technician
Environmental Scientist Project Manager General Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Data Scientist Clinical Data Manager
Clinical Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist Specialist Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Biologist Environmental Scientist Environmental Engineer
Environmental Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Forestry Technician Biological Science Technician Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
10 Yearsyrs
Wildlife Technician Wildlife Biologist Biologist
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Research And Development Scientist Microbiologist
Microbiology Laboratory Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Scientist Environmental Engineer Project Engineer
Plant Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Biological Science Technician Biologist Scientist
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Crew Leader Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Quality Assurance Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Crew Leader Technician Quality Control Inspector
Quality Control Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Wildlife Biologist Environmental Specialist Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Specialist Project Manager Project Director
Research Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Wildlife Biologist Biologist
Senior Biologist
8 Yearsyrs
Biologist Scientist Project Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Wildlife Technician Environmental Technician Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Biological Science Technician Environmental Scientist Project Manager
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Biological Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

52.2%

Female

46.6%

Unknown

1.2%
Ethnicity

White

66.8%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Black or African American

9.0%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.8%

French

11.1%

German

8.9%

Dakota

4.4%

Arabic

4.4%

Swedish

2.2%

Japanese

2.2%

Amharic

2.2%

Russian

2.2%

Lingala

2.2%

Italian

2.2%
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Biological Technician Education

Schools

Humboldt State University

11.1%

Oregon State University

10.0%

University of Idaho

7.9%

University of Montana

6.3%

Utah State University

5.3%

University of Wyoming

5.3%

Montana State University - Bozeman

4.7%

Washington State University

4.7%

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

4.2%

Texas A&M University

4.2%

Colorado State University

4.2%

Michigan State University

3.7%

University of Rhode Island

3.7%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.7%

Pennsylvania State University

3.7%

University of Florida

3.7%

University of California - Davis

3.7%

Oklahoma State University

3.7%

Northern Arizona University

3.2%

Grand Valley State University

3.2%
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Majors

Biology

29.8%

Environmental Science

17.6%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

12.0%

Wildlife Management

9.0%

Zoology

6.4%

Geography

3.7%

Natural Resources Management

2.6%

Business

2.5%

Forestry

2.1%

Geology

2.1%

Psychology

1.7%

Chemistry

1.5%

Botany

1.5%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.2%

Management

1.1%

Sustainability

0.9%

Elementary Education

0.9%

Chemical Engineering

0.9%

Biotechnology

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.4%

Masters

26.9%

Other

9.9%

Doctorate

4.0%

Associate

3.0%

Certificate

2.6%

Diploma

0.1%
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Biological Technician Videos

Meet a Biological Technician: LifeWorks Careers

Biological Technicians

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Real Biological Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Biological Technicians Pharm-OLAM International, Ltd. Houston, TX Jun 13, 2013 $96,000
Biological Technician Populus Group Cambridge, MA Sep 10, 2015 $83,480
Biological Technician Populus Group Cambridge, MA Oct 09, 2015 $83,480
Biological Technician The Fountain Group LLC Cambridge, MA Sep 05, 2013 $73,045
Biological Technician The Fountain Group LLC Cambridge, MA May 09, 2013 $73,045
Molecular Biology Technician Lightspeed Genomics, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 15, 2015 $63,232
Molecular Biology Technician Lightspeed Genomics, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 12, 2015 $63,232
Biological Technicians Amarex Clinical Research LLC Germantown, MD Jun 09, 2014 $61,710
Biological Technician ACGT, Inc. Wheeling, IL Jul 05, 2013 $61,000
Biological Technicians Qiagen Inc. Germantown, MD Jan 03, 2014 $60,923
Biological Technicians Science Applications International Corporation FRE Frederick, MD Sep 13, 2013 $60,298
Biological Technician The Fountain Group LLC Framingham, MA Jul 05, 2013 $60,210
Biological Technicians Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute Orlando, FL Mar 21, 2014 $58,011
Biological Technicians Mount Sinai Medical Center New York, NY May 15, 2014 $56,326
Biological Technician The Fountain Group LLC Berkeley, CA Oct 01, 2013 $46,958
Biological Technicians The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Jan 08, 2014 $46,904 -
$54,165
Biological Technician Jecho Laboratories, Inc. Frederick, MD Sep 09, 2016 $46,093
Biological Technician The Fountain Group LLC Berkeley, CA Aug 26, 2013 $45,914
Biological Technician William S Silver Md & Eric Tatar MDPC West Nyack, NY Mar 15, 2014 $45,760
Biological Technician William S Silver Md & Eric Tatar MDPC West Nyack, NY Sep 07, 2014 $45,760
Biological Technician Pharmaceutics International, Inc. Cockeysville, MD Sep 07, 2014 $39,541
Biological Technicians Microbac Laboratories, Inc. Sterling, VA Aug 29, 2014 $39,208
Biology Technician West Virginia University Research Corporation Morgantown, WV Aug 08, 2016 $39,000
Biological Technician Genscript USA Inc. Piscataway, NJ Sep 19, 2015 $39,000
Biological Technician Genscript USA Inc. Piscataway, NJ Sep 10, 2015 $38,896
Biological Technician Genscript USA Inc. Piscataway, NJ Sep 02, 2015 $38,896

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Top Skills for A Biological Technician

  1. Lab
  2. GPS
  3. Habitat
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collaborated with local conservation groups in eradication of invasive species, while studying their relationship with the endemic ecosystem.
  • Monitored sensitive areas with utilization cages, measured percentage graze vs. time grazed, conducted photo documentation and GPS of units.
  • Maintained complete and accurate documentation for government programs such as the Midwest Region National Fish Habitat Partnership.
  • Work Requirements: -Work independently -Responsible for accurate data collection -Data confidentiality -High attention to detail
  • Field work included bird surveys, wetland delineations, stream habitat restoration, invasive species control, and fish surveys.

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Top 10 Best States for Biological Technicians

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Minnesota
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Connecticut
  5. Wisconsin
  6. Georgia
  7. Iowa
  8. New York
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Maine
  • (498 jobs)
  • (333 jobs)
  • (626 jobs)
  • (151 jobs)
  • (281 jobs)
  • (456 jobs)
  • (249 jobs)
  • (714 jobs)
  • (67 jobs)
  • (89 jobs)

Top Biological Technician Employers

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Biological Technicians

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