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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
  • $39,000

    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 Career Paths

Research Laboratory Technician
Research Technician Research Associate Scientist
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Research Technician Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Research Technician Research Associate Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Laboratory Technician Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Laboratory Technician Laboratory Manager Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Assurance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Laboratory Technician Laboratory Manager Quality Control Manager
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Scientist Consultant Product Manager
Product Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Scientist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Chemist Supervisor Superintendent
Quality Control Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Chemist Quality Assurance Specialist Quality Engineer
Quality Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Chemist Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager
Research And Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Analyst Quality Assurance Analyst Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Analyst Analyst Senior Analyst
Analytical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Analyst Analyst Senior Data Analyst-
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Physician Assistant Clinical Coordinator Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Physician Assistant Physician Clinical Research Coordinator
Senior Research Coordinator
5 Yearsyrs
Physician Assistant Assistant Professor Senior Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Technician Quality Control Chemist Research Scientist
Lead Scientist
7 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Staff Scientist
Senior Associate Scientist
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Research Biologist 4.1 years
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Research Assistant 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Research Laboratory Technician
Internship 8.3%
Volunteer 5.2%
Researcher 3.8%
Tutor 3.1%
Cashier 2.6%
Technician 2.4%
Top Careers After Research Laboratory Technician
Internship 5.4%
Volunteer 4.6%
Scientist 4.2%
Teacher 2.5%
Chemist 2.4%

Do you work as a Research Laboratory Technician?

Average Yearly Salary
$39,000
Show Salaries
$31,000
Min 10%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Accenture Federal Services
Highest Paying City
San Carlos, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.6 years
How much does a Research Laboratory Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Research Laboratory Technician in the United States is $39,496 per year or $19 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $31,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $49,000.

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 Jul 15, 2015 $51,730
Research Lab Technician III The University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Nov 01, 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 Oct 15, 2015 $43,430
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 Jan 06, 2016 $40,521
Research Lab Technician Intermediate University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Jun 01, 2015 $40,148
Research Lab Technician Intermediate University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Mar 01, 2014 $40,000
Research Lab Tech Senior University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Mar 02, 2015 $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 Aug 31, 2015 $34,853
Laboratory Research Technician The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Middlebury, VT Apr 06, 2016 $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

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Cell Culture
  3. Rt-Pcr
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Negotiated and organized all lab equipment repairs and replacements.
  • Performed standard laboratory procedures such as maintaining cell cultures requiring the use of sterile technique, preparing slides and media.
  • Conducted immunological testing and RT-PCR to assist research in pregnancy and ovarian cancer.
  • Determined specific regions of protein-protein interaction between ion transporters in the kidney.
  • Planned, performed, and analyzed research projects, including preparing necessary equipment and chemicals/formulas needed to run experiments.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Research Laboratory Technicians

  1. Alaska
  2. New Jersey
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Iowa
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Minnesota
  7. California
  8. North Dakota
  9. Kansas
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (66 jobs)
  • (482 jobs)
  • (1,109 jobs)
  • (170 jobs)
  • (94 jobs)
  • (254 jobs)
  • (1,837 jobs)
  • (64 jobs)
  • (80 jobs)
  • (708 jobs)

Research Laboratory Technician Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,509 Research Laboratory Technician resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Research Laboratory Technician Resume

View Resume Examples

Research Laboratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

45.6%

Male

42.6%

Unknown

11.8%
Ethnicity

White

57.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.4%

Asian

12.6%

Black or African American

10.8%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

42.1%

French

9.3%

Chinese

7.9%

German

7.1%

Mandarin

6.4%

Korean

4.3%

Italian

3.6%

Arabic

3.6%

Vietnamese

2.9%

Japanese

2.9%

Hindi

2.1%

Turkish

1.4%

Polish

1.4%

Dutch

0.7%

Danish

0.7%

Khmer

0.7%

Yoruba

0.7%

Malay

0.7%

Russian

0.7%

Nepali

0.7%
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Research Laboratory Technician Education

Schools

University of Missouri - Columbia

8.7%

University of Florida

6.6%

Pennsylvania State University

5.6%

Michigan State University

5.2%

Virginia Commonwealth University

5.2%

Texas A&M University

5.2%

Northeastern University

5.2%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.9%

University of Connecticut

4.9%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

4.5%

University of Utah

4.5%

University of Washington

4.5%

University of Kentucky

4.5%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

4.5%

Drexel University

4.5%

Johns Hopkins University

4.5%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.2%

North Carolina State University

4.2%

Temple University

4.2%

University of Phoenix

4.2%
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Majors

Biology

31.8%

Chemistry

11.1%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

9.3%

Business

5.2%

Microbiology

4.2%

Biotechnology

4.2%

Environmental Science

4.1%

Chemical Engineering

3.3%

Psychology

2.8%

Nursing

2.7%

Pharmacy

2.5%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

2.4%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

2.3%

Mechanical Engineering

2.3%

Geology

2.2%

Biomedical Engineering

2.0%

Zoology

1.9%

Public Health

1.9%

Medicine

1.9%

Neuroscience

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.3%

Masters

24.6%

Other

10.2%

Doctorate

7.3%

Associate

5.6%

Certificate

2.3%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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Updated May 19, 2020