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Become A Research Laboratory Technician

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Working As A Research Laboratory Technician

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $47,080

    Average Salary

What Does A Research 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 Research 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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Research Laboratory Technician jobs

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Research Laboratory Technician Career Paths

Research Laboratory Technician
Quality Control Chemist Research Associate Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Software Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Laboratory Technician Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
10 Yearsyrs
Chemist Laboratory Supervisor
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Technician Quality Control Manager Production Manager
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Project Engineer Product Manager
Product Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Analyst Quality Assurance Analyst Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Analyst Quality Assurance Specialist Quality Assurance Manager
Production Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Technician Technician Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Quality Control Analyst Quality Control
Quality Control Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Scientist Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Senior Chemist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Scientist Project Manager Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Manager Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Research Director
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Laboratory Technician Research Associate Research Analyst
Research Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Scientist Research Scientist
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Chemist Scientist
Senior Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Manager Senior Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Engineering Technician Manufacturing Engineer Production Manager
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Research Associate 2.6 years
Research Assistant 1.7 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 7.7%
Volunteer 3.3%
Researcher 3.3%
Technician 3.2%
Supervisor 2.5%
Cashier 2.3%
Top Employers After
Internship 5.3%
Chemist 4.0%
Scientist 3.5%
Volunteer 3.2%

Research Laboratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

52.7%

Female

43.7%

Unknown

3.6%
Ethnicity

White

75.2%

Asian

11.3%

Hispanic or Latino

10.1%

Unknown

2.6%

Black or African American

0.9%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.0%

German

9.6%

French

7.9%

Chinese

6.1%

Mandarin

5.3%

Arabic

4.4%

Korean

3.5%

Russian

3.5%

Vietnamese

2.6%

Italian

2.6%

Hindi

1.8%

Portuguese

1.8%

Polish

1.8%

Danish

0.9%

Khmer

0.9%

Yoruba

0.9%

Turkish

0.9%

Filipino

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Burmese

0.9%
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Research Laboratory Technician Education

Schools

University of Missouri - Columbia

9.0%

Iowa State University

8.0%

Northeastern University

8.0%

University of Florida

6.9%

University of Phoenix

5.9%

University of California - Davis

5.3%

Purdue University

5.3%

Pennsylvania State University

4.8%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

4.8%

Ohio State University

4.3%

University of Utah

4.3%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.7%

Saint Louis University-

3.7%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.7%

University of California - Irvine

3.7%

Temple University

3.7%

University of Louisville

3.7%

University of California - San Diego

3.7%

Drexel University

3.7%
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Majors

Biology

24.1%

Chemistry

19.1%

Business

6.8%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

6.4%

Chemical Engineering

4.7%

Mechanical Engineering

4.2%

Biotechnology

3.6%

Psychology

3.2%

Environmental Science

3.0%

Microbiology

2.9%

Electrical Engineering

2.8%

Biomedical Engineering

2.5%

Geology

2.4%

Nursing

2.2%

Food Science

2.2%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.0%

Management

2.0%

Pharmacy

2.0%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

50.0%

Masters

19.6%

Other

13.6%

Associate

7.9%

Doctorate

5.4%

Certificate

2.7%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Research Laboratory Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research Lab Tech III The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Jan 30, 2013 $64,994
Research Laboratory Technologist Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY Dec 11, 2015 $60,684
Research Lab Technician III The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Nov 01, 2015 $51,730
Research Lab Technician III The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Jul 15, 2015 $51,730
Research Lab Tech III The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Feb 01, 2015 $48,000
Senior Research Lab Technologist General Hospital Corporation MA May 01, 2013 $46,432
Research Lab Tech III/Supervisor The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Jan 08, 2016 $46,115
Teaching/Research Laboratory Technician Dominican University of California San Rafael, CA Oct 01, 2013 $45,854
Lab Research Technician II Central Michigan University Mount Pleasant, MI Apr 01, 2014 $45,037
Research Lab Tech III/Supervisor The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Sep 01, 2013 $45,000
Research Lab Technician III The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Mar 01, 2015 $44,694
Research Lab Tech III/Supervisor The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Aug 01, 2013 $43,680
Research Lab Tech III/Supervisor The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Jan 11, 2016 $43,430
Research Lab Tech III/Supervisor The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Oct 15, 2015 $43,430
Research Lab Tech III/Supervisor The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Jan 06, 2016 $40,521
Research Lab Technician Intermediate University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Jun 01, 2015 $40,148
Research Lab Tech Senior University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Mar 02, 2015 $40,000
Research Lab Technician Intermediate University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Mar 01, 2014 $40,000
Research Laboratory Tech Senior University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Oct 01, 2015 $39,889
Research Laboratory Tech Senior University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Jan 12, 2015 $39,889
Lab Research Technician The University of Vermont Burlington, VT Dec 07, 2014 $39,131
Research Lab Tech Intermediate University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Jan 07, 2013 $34,861
Laboratory Research Technician The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Middlebury, VT Apr 06, 2016 $34,853
Laboratory Research Technician The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Middlebury, VT Aug 31, 2015 $34,853
Research Laboratory Technician Intermediate University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Sep 01, 2015 $34,723
Laboratory Research Technician University of Maryland, Baltimore Baltimore, MD May 15, 2014 $34,500
Research Laboratory Technician II Creighton University Omaha, NE Jan 15, 2015 $34,395
Tech Research Lab C Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Jun 15, 2013 $34,200
Research Laboratory Technician Senior University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Feb 01, 2013 $34,000

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Top Skills for A Research Laboratory Technician

LabEquipmentLaboratoryProceduresSafetyProceduresRCellCultureRawMaterialsAnalyticalPHMetersRt-PcrProteinPurificationViscosityHplcRoutineChemistryResearchProjectsNewProductDevelopmentChromatographyElisaDataEntryDataCollection

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Top Research Laboratory Technician Skills

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Laboratory Procedures
  3. Safety Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Gathered and supported the transfer of information and lab equipment to a business that acquired portions of the company.
  • Performed microbial laboratory procedures, including culture maintenance, serial dilution plate counts, and media preparation.
  • Planned and performed various molecular biology techniques; documented and analyzed data/results to assist principal investigator and research scientists in experimentation.
  • Performed cell culture studies on B2B cells for the effects of viral infection using sterile techniques.
  • Analyze raw materials - Analysis of experiment results - Generate reports - Performed statistical analysis of results

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