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Become A Research Technician

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Working As A Research Technician

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $48,500

    Average Salary

What Does A Research 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 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 Research Technician?

Research Technician Jobs

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Research Technician Career Paths

Research Technician
Laboratory Manager Project Manager Program Manager
Associate Director
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Research Coordinator Senior Clinical Research Associate
Clinical Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist Licensed Practical Nurse Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager President Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Research Fellow Instructor Software Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Research Fellow Post Doctoral Researcher Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Principal Scientist
12 Yearsyrs
Research Scientist Assistant Professor Program Director
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Research Coordinator Regulatory Affairs Specialist
Regulatory Affairs Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Research Associate Senior Scientist Research And Development Manager
Research And Development Director
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Research Associate Scientist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Scientist Project Manager Product Manager
Research And Development Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Research Analyst Research Manager
Research Director
7 Yearsyrs
Fellow Research Associate
Research Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist Research Associate Research Analyst
Research Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Associate Scientist
Senior Associate Scientist
7 Yearsyrs
Scientist Research Scientist
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Associate Scientist Scientist
Senior Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Research Specialist Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Manager Operations Manager Program Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Research Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Research Scientist 3.8 years
Research Biologist 3.6 years
Research Associate 2.6 years
Research Assistant 1.7 years
Research Aide 1.2 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 11.3%
Volunteer 5.4%
Technician 3.5%
Researcher 3.3%
Assistant 2.1%
Cashier 1.8%
Top Employers After
Internship 5.5%
Scientist 5.0%
Volunteer 3.3%
Technician 2.9%
Fellow 2.9%
Consultant 2.7%

Do you work as a Research Technician?

Research Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

49.3%

Male

46.7%

Unknown

4.0%
Ethnicity

White

75.0%

Asian

13.3%

Hispanic or Latino

8.6%

Unknown

2.3%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.5%

French

13.2%

Chinese

7.5%

Mandarin

6.0%

German

5.1%

Russian

3.8%

Japanese

3.2%

Portuguese

2.6%

Korean

2.3%

Cantonese

2.1%

Hindi

1.9%

Italian

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Greek

0.9%

Hebrew

0.9%

Filipino

0.8%

Urdu

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Arabic

0.8%

Turkish

0.6%
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Research Technician Education

Schools

North Carolina State University

7.6%

Pennsylvania State University

7.1%

Johns Hopkins University

6.4%

University of Georgia

5.9%

University of Arizona

5.9%

University of Washington

5.8%

Northeastern University

5.5%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

5.4%

Michigan State University

5.3%

University of Houston

4.6%

Drexel University

4.3%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.2%

Oregon State University

4.1%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.1%

Purdue University

3.9%

Texas Tech University

3.8%

Cornell University

3.7%

University of Florida

3.6%
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Majors

Biology

27.4%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

9.6%

Chemistry

7.9%

Business

6.3%

Environmental Science

4.9%

Microbiology

4.6%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

4.4%

Biotechnology

4.1%

Psychology

4.0%

Nursing

3.2%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

2.8%

Animal Science

2.7%

Medical Assisting Services

2.4%

Biomedical Engineering

2.4%

Zoology

2.3%

Biomedical Sciences

2.3%

Neuroscience

2.3%

Public Health

2.2%

Pharmacy

2.1%

Plant Sciences

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.3%

Masters

30.1%

Other

11.0%

Doctorate

10.9%

Associate

4.9%

Certificate

3.1%

Diploma

0.6%

License

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

Real Research Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research Technician Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 02, 2017 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Technician II Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2011 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Technician III Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Feb 01, 2014 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Technician Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 10, 2016 $50,000
Research Technician III Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jun 16, 2014 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Technician III Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Aug 11, 2013 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Technician III Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 03, 2013 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Technician Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 18, 2018 $47,000
Research Technician Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Nov 10, 2015 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Technician III Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 15, 2013 $47,000 -
$57,000
Research Technician Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jun 16, 2017 $47,000
Research Technician 3 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jul 01, 2013 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Technician III Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 02, 2014 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Technician III Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Apr 01, 2013 $45,000 -
$55,000
Research Technician II Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Dec 13, 2015 $42,000 -
$52,000
Research Technician Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 18, 2015 $40,000 -
$50,000

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Top Skills for A Research Technician

LaboratoryEquipmentLabSuppliesCellCultureLaboratoryTechniquesSurgicalProceduresTissueCultureRt-PcrProteinPurificationSafetyMolecularBiologyTechniquesResearchProjectsDataCollectionElisaDna/RnaCellLinesDataAnalysisGELElectrophoresisDataEntryHplcFlowCytometry

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  1. Laboratory Equipment
  2. Lab Supplies
  3. Cell Culture
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed and presented design requirements of new laboratory equipment to engineering staff.
  • Maintain biological laboratory procedure and equipment, order lab supplies.
  • Maintain mammalian cell cultures and isolate and type DNA from whole blood.
  • Researched pediatric hematology and oncology; maintained cell colony and performed molecular and cellular biology laboratory techniques.
  • Carried out surgical procedures on laboratory animals; performed experiments; analyzed data; and kept accurate and up-to-date records.

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