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Become A Biology Laboratory Technician

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Working As A Biology Laboratory Technician

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $44,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Biology Laboratory 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 Biology Laboratory 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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Do you work as a Biology Laboratory Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Biology Laboratory Technician
Internship 7.7%
Volunteer 3.7%
Cashier 3.7%
Assistant 3.3%
Tutor 2.9%
Server 2.2%
Top Careers After Biology Laboratory Technician
Internship 7.7%
Volunteer 4.1%
Teacher 3.6%
Technician 3.0%
Instructor 3.0%
Scientist 3.0%

Do you work as a Biology Laboratory Technician?

Average Yearly Salary
$44,000
Show Salaries
$30,000
Min 10%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Median 50%
$65,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
City University of New York
Highest Paying City
Chicago, IL
Highest Paying State
District of Columbia
Avg Experience Level
2.1 years
How much does a Biology Laboratory Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Biology Laboratory Technician in the United States is $44,483 per year or $21 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $30,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $65,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Biology Laboratory Technician?

Have you worked as a Biology Laboratory Technician? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Biology Laboratory Technician.

Top Skills for A Biology Laboratory Technician

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Biology
  3. Cell Culture
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained and cleaned glassware and lab equipment; prepared bacterial culture media used for Microbiology
  • Prepared media for Microbiology labs.
  • Followed established protocols for the maintenance and testing of cell cultures and preparation of products.
  • Provided high-quality DNA samples for research purposes worldwide according to specific contracts using extensive quality control analysis.
  • Performed PCR analysis and gel electrophoresis.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Biology Laboratory Technicians

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Alaska
  3. Connecticut
  4. Minnesota
  5. Wisconsin
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. New Jersey
  9. Iowa
  10. Illinois
  • (498 jobs)
  • (60 jobs)
  • (157 jobs)
  • (341 jobs)
  • (304 jobs)
  • (77 jobs)
  • (640 jobs)
  • (400 jobs)
  • (261 jobs)
  • (480 jobs)

Biology Laboratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

51.4%

Male

37.1%

Unknown

11.6%
Ethnicity

White

58.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

9.1%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.9%

Arabic

11.1%

Chinese

6.7%

French

6.7%

Portuguese

4.4%

Mandarin

4.4%

Russian

4.4%

Turkish

2.2%

German

2.2%

Romanian

2.2%

Greek

2.2%

Carrier

2.2%

Urdu

2.2%
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Biology Laboratory Technician Education

Schools

Iowa State University

9.0%

Johns Hopkins University

6.7%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.6%

Oregon State University

5.6%

American University

5.6%

Rowan University

5.6%

Michigan State University

4.5%

Auburn University

4.5%

North Carolina State University

4.5%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.5%

University of Southern California

4.5%

Eastern Michigan University

4.5%

University of Florida

4.5%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

4.5%

University of Phoenix

4.5%

University of Georgia

4.5%

University of South Carolina - Columbia

4.5%

Drexel University

4.5%

Indiana State University

4.5%

University of Alabama

3.4%
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Majors

Biology

41.0%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

7.0%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

6.0%

Nursing

4.4%

Environmental Science

4.2%

Chemistry

4.2%

Microbiology

3.9%

Biotechnology

3.1%

Business

2.9%

Animal Science

2.6%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

2.6%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Psychology

2.3%

Neuroscience

2.3%

Public Health

2.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.1%

Pharmacy

1.8%

Medicine

1.8%

Pharmacology

1.8%

Biomedical Sciences

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.1%

Masters

21.9%

Other

11.2%

Associate

5.6%

Doctorate

4.6%

Certificate

3.4%

License

0.2%

Diploma

0.2%
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