A research technician is responsible for assisting in research studies and laboratory experiments. Research technicians operate laboratory tools and equipment, process data for experiments, collect samples for study, analyze existing research materials, analyze experiment results, manage inventories and stock supplies, record observations, and create reports for further examination. A research technician must have strong analytical and scientific knowledge, as well as a passion for research writing and investigations crucial for this kind of industry.

Research Technician Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real research technician resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Assist in managing NMR instruments.
  • Create scripts for IBM SPSS to automate what usually require manpower.
  • Manage a DNA database and work with researchers to retrieve or send out samples and results.
  • Manage and execute quantitative and qualitative research tasks in evaluating federally-fund public education interventions using SAS statistical programming.
  • Prepare reagents for use in processing samples, DNA and RNA extractions, and QC.
  • Perform and master the procedures and processes require for non-intrusive biological research and data collection on whale shark behavior and social interactions
  • Consult with public on wildlife issues and questions.
  • Load the resultant pallet on SDS-PAGE in duplicates.
  • Present findings of study results to internal CDC audiences.
  • Drug administration, mouse dissections, RNA isolation and RT-PCR.
Research Technician Traits
Observational skills show that you are capable of gathering information about the workplace around you through a means of communication.
Technical skills refer to specific ability or knowledge that is needed to carry out every day responsibilities, such as physical or digital tasks.
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.

Research Technician Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, research technician jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a research technician?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of research technician opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 5,700.

A research technician annual salary averages $41,730, which breaks down to $20.06 an hour. However, research technicians can earn anywhere from upwards of $32,000 to $54,000 a year. This means that the top-earning research technicians make $22,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a research technician, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a laboratory analyst, microbiologist, laboratory internship, and postdoctoral research associate.

Research Technician Jobs You Might Like

Research Technician Resume Examples

Research Technician Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 11% of Research Technicians are proficient in Cell Culture, Laboratory Equipment, and Research Projects. They’re also known for soft skills such as Observational skills, Technical skills, and Analytical skills.

We break down the percentage of Research Technicians that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Cell Culture, 11%

    Supervised laboratory personnel involved in the cell culture aspect of colon carcinoma research while improving experimental design.

  • Laboratory Equipment, 8%

    Executed and coordinated scheduled verification and calibration on laboratory equipment

  • Research Projects, 8%

    Participated in collaborating research projects including design and implementation of experiments, data analysis using statistical techniques and preparation of manuscripts.

  • Data Collection, 6%

    Managed survey administration component including data collection procedures for a randomized control trial focused on a teen health program.

  • Lab Equipment, 6%

    Moved sensitive lab equipment and oversaw moving of equipment from University of Pennsylvania to University of Kentucky.

  • Animal Care, 4%

    Observe and report problems involving animal care equipment and environmental support systems.

Some of the skills we found on research technician resumes included "cell culture," "laboratory equipment," and "research projects." We have detailed the most important research technician responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a research technician to have in this position are observational skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a research technician resume, you'll understand why: "biological technicians must constantly monitor their experiments" According to resumes we found, observational skills can be used by a research technician in order to "worked with research projects involving experimental, observational, and survey data. "
  • Another commonly found skill for being able to perform research technician duties is the following: technical skills. According to a research technician resume, "biological technicians need to set up and operate sophisticated equipment and instruments." Check out this example of how research technicians use technical skills: "provided data entry edited technical documentation using automated text processing tags"
  • Research technicians are also known for analytical skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a research technician resume: "biological technicians need to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "worked closely with research coordinator and patient participants to obtain clinical study data under stringent fda and manufacturer regulations. "
  • In order for certain research technician responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "communication skills." According to a research technician resume, "biological technicians must understand and follow the instructions of their managing scientists" As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "ensured quality control of lab procedures, staff communication, instrument maintenance and osha/fda compliance. "
  • See the full list of research technician skills.

    We've found that 74.1% of research technicians have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 11.3% earned their master's degrees before becoming a research technician. While it's true that most research technicians have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every nine research technicians did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those research technicians who do attend college, typically earn either biology degrees or biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for research technicians include chemistry degrees or psychology degrees.

    Once you're ready to become a research technician, you should explore the companies that typically hire research technicians. According to research technician resumes that we searched through, research technicians are hired the most by Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Partners Healthcare Group. Currently, Johns Hopkins University has 55 research technician job openings, while there are 52 at Massachusetts General Hospital and 51 at Partners Healthcare Group.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, research technicians tend to earn the biggest salaries at Chevron, Xerox, and Genentech. Take Chevron for example. The median research technician salary is $124,803. At Xerox, research technicians earn an average of $107,194, while the average at Genentech is $90,006. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on research technician salaries across the United States.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious research technicians are:

      What Laboratory Analysts Do

      A Laboratory Analyst helps conduct experiments, run laboratory tests, and analyze results. They compile and record data for the documentation needed for testing and report preparation.

      In this section, we compare the average research technician annual salary with that of a laboratory analyst. Typically, laboratory analysts earn a $3,338 higher salary than research technicians earn annually.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between research technicians and laboratory analysts are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like lab equipment, data analysis, and data entry.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A research technician responsibility is more likely to require skills like "cell culture," "laboratory equipment," "research projects," and "data collection." Whereas a laboratory analyst requires skills like "test methods," "diagnostic tests," "lims," and "analytical methods." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      On average, laboratory analysts reach lower levels of education than research technicians. Laboratory analysts are 10.1% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 6.1% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Microbiologist?

      Microbiologists are responsible for studying the microscopic organisms causing infections and environmental damage, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Their work focuses on the identification and growth of these microbes to better understand their characteristics that may help in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious and bacterial diseases. They use sophisticated technologies and machinery to study microbes and perform their tasks. These scientists are also responsible for developing best practices and techniques for routine sampling and research. Microbiologists may work in various settings, including laboratories, research institutes, and hospitals.

      Next up, we have the microbiologist profession to look over. This career brings along a higher average salary when compared to a research technician annual salary. In fact, microbiologists salary difference is $17,200 higher than the salary of research technicians per year.

      A similarity between the two careers of research technicians and microbiologists are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "cell culture," "lab equipment," and "data analysis. "

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real research technician resumes. While research technician responsibilities can utilize skills like "laboratory equipment," "research projects," "data collection," and "animal care," some microbiologists use skills like "microbiology," "raw materials," "test methods," and "diagnostic tests."

      On the topic of education, microbiologists earn similar levels of education than research technicians. In general, they're 0.4% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 6.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Laboratory Internship Compares

      A laboratory intern is responsible for assisting laboratory operations and perform examinations and experiments under the supervision of tenured laboratory staff. Laboratory interns shadow all the laboratory processes, document their observations, and conduct an in-depth analysis of the results. They must have excellent knowledge of scientific procedures, demonstrating their class learnings to practical applications. A laboratory intern must be detail-oriented, especially on conducting and verifying the accuracy of research materials. It is also required for a laboratory intern to be a fast-learner, understanding the scientific complexities to master various approaches.

      The laboratory internship profession generally makes a lower amount of money when compared to the average salary of research technicians. The difference in salaries is laboratory interns making $10,665 lower than research technicians.

      By looking over several research technicians and laboratory interns resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "cell culture," "laboratory equipment," and "research projects." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a research technician is likely to be skilled in "animal care," "data entry," "biochemistry," and "pi," while a typical laboratory internship is skilled in "chemistry," "python," "diagnostic tests," and "c++."

      Laboratory interns typically study at lower levels compared with research technicians. For example, they're 17.8% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 5.9% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Postdoctoral Research Associate

      A postdoctoral research associate is responsible for assisting the educational institution's research department, writing research reports, analyzing research methods, and collecting information and related studies to support the research claims. Postdoctoral research associates must have excellent communication skills, both oral and written, reporting research updates to the research head, performing adjustments as needed, and gaining more expertise on the subject by brainstorming and discussing strategic procedures for the study. They may also conduct field investigation or coordinate with other institutions for additional reference, depending on the research's scope and limitation.

      Now, we'll look at postdoctoral research associates, who generally average a higher pay when compared to research technicians annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $7,712 per year.

      While both research technicians and postdoctoral research associates complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like cell culture, research projects, and data collection, the two careers also vary in other skills.

      Each job requires different skills like "laboratory equipment," "lab equipment," "animal care," and "data entry," which might show up on a research technician resume. Whereas postdoctoral research associate might include skills like "python," "chemistry," "post-doctoral," and "c++."

      The average resume of postdoctoral research associates showed that they earn lower levels of education to research technicians. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 19.8% less. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 78.0%.