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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
  • $41,000

    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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Research Technician Career Paths

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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
Research Trainee 0.8 years
Top Careers Before Research Technician
Internship 11.4%
Volunteer 5.3%
Technician 3.3%
Researcher 3.3%
Cashier 2.6%
Assistant 2.1%
Top Careers After Research Technician
Internship 5.4%
Scientist 4.4%
Volunteer 3.6%
Technician 3.2%
Consultant 2.6%

Do you work as a Research Technician?

Research Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

46.1%

Male

43.0%

Unknown

10.9%
Ethnicity

White

58.9%

Asian

13.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.0%

Black or African American

10.4%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.6%

French

13.7%

Chinese

7.3%

Mandarin

5.2%

German

5.1%

Russian

3.8%

Portuguese

3.0%

Japanese

2.8%

Korean

2.4%

Cantonese

2.0%

Italian

2.0%

Hindi

1.8%

Polish

1.0%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Hebrew

0.8%

Arabic

0.8%

Tamil

0.7%

Filipino

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%
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Research Technician Education

Schools

North Carolina State University

8.3%

University of Washington

7.6%

University of Arizona

6.3%

Pennsylvania State University

6.0%

Johns Hopkins University

5.9%

Texas A&M University

5.2%

Michigan State University

5.1%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

5.0%

Arizona State University

4.9%

Northeastern University

4.8%

University of Houston

4.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.6%

University of Georgia

4.6%

Purdue University

4.2%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.2%

University of Phoenix

3.8%

University of California - San Diego

3.8%

Boston University

3.8%

Drexel University

3.6%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.5%
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Majors

Biology

27.9%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

9.5%

Chemistry

7.6%

Business

5.9%

Environmental Science

4.6%

Microbiology

4.4%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

4.2%

Biotechnology

4.1%

Psychology

4.1%

Nursing

3.5%

Medical Assisting Services

3.0%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

2.8%

Animal Science

2.5%

Public Health

2.4%

Pharmacy

2.4%

Biomedical Sciences

2.3%

Neuroscience

2.3%

Biomedical Engineering

2.3%

Zoology

2.2%

Health Care Administration

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.0%

Masters

29.2%

Other

10.8%

Doctorate

10.0%

Associate

5.2%

Certificate

3.1%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$41,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$29,000
Min 10%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$41,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Shell
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Research Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Research Technician in the United States is $41,406 per year or $20 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $29,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $58,000.

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 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jan 10, 2016 $50,000
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 Feb 01, 2014 $50,000 -
$60,000
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 Nov 03, 2013 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Technician II Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Sep 16, 2011 $50,000 -
$60,000
Research Technician Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Jun 16, 2017 $47,000
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 III Howard Hughes Medical Institute Ashburn, VA Mar 02, 2014 $45,000 -
$55,000
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 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

  1. Cell Culture
  2. Lab Equipment
  3. Laboratory Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided cell culture services for entire laboratory.
  • Conducted inventory management and control of lab equipment and chemicals.
  • Calibrated, repaired various models and platforms of computer systems, and constructed specialized research and laboratory equipment.
  • 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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Top 10 Best States for Research Technicians

  1. New Mexico
  2. Arizona
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Jersey
  5. Minnesota
  6. New York
  7. Virginia
  8. Florida
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Wisconsin
  • (137 jobs)
  • (495 jobs)
  • (223 jobs)
  • (683 jobs)
  • (418 jobs)
  • (1,151 jobs)
  • (657 jobs)
  • (654 jobs)
  • (1,294 jobs)
  • (363 jobs)

Top Research Technician Employers

Jobs From Top Research Technician Employers

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