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Become A Scientific Technician

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Working As A Scientific Technician

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • $76,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Scientific 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 Scientific 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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Scientific Technician Jobs

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Do you work as a Scientific Technician?

Average Yearly Salary
$76,000
Show Salaries
$37,000
Min 10%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Median 50%
$155,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Highest Paying City
Washington, DC
Highest Paying State
District of Columbia
Avg Experience Level
2.4 years
How much does a Scientific Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Scientific Technician in the United States is $76,077 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $37,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $156,000.

Real Scientific Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Scientific Tech Professional Carnegie Mellon University Fieldbrook, CA Mar 01, 2010 $96,607
Scientific Technologist/Senior Beverage Scientist Kerry Inc. Beloit, WI Feb 09, 2016 $93,978
Scientific Technician-Software Engineer Sap Labs, LLC Palo Alto, CA Oct 01, 2012 $93,000
Scientific Technician Madewell Products Corporation Alpharetta, GA Nov 09, 2009 $79,200
Scientific Technician Madewell Products Corporation Alpharetta, GA Nov 16, 2009 $79,200
Scientific Technician Madewell Products Corporation Alpharetta, GA Nov 23, 2009 $79,200
Senior Scientific Technician-Engineering Petroval, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 14, 2016 $75,000
Scientific Technician Lasertel, Inc. Tucson, AZ Sep 13, 2012 $68,016
Scientific Technician Lasertel, Inc. Tucson, AZ Jun 16, 2011 $66,040
Senior Scientific Technician Electronic Stamping Corporation CA Oct 01, 2012 $66,005
Scientific Technician Lasertel, Inc. Tucson, AZ Oct 09, 2009 $64,500
Scientific Technician: Metallurgy Flsmidth Inc. Bethlehem, PA Oct 01, 2009 $63,024
Scientific Technologist Amspec Services LLC Texas City, TX Apr 08, 2014 $55,000
Scientific Technician Croll Reynolds Co., Inc. Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ May 20, 2010 $53,000
Scientific Technician Lasertel, Inc. Tucson, AZ Jun 16, 2011 $42,682 -
$68,016
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Oct 15, 2011 $37,570
Scientific Technician/Technologist Dallas Aerial Surveys, Inc. Dallas, TX Sep 16, 2010 $36,358
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Jan 01, 2011 $36,000
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Jan 15, 2013 $35,329
Scientific Technician Institute for Cancer Reseach Philadelphia, PA Jan 15, 2013 $35,329
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Nov 07, 2011 $35,000
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA May 01, 2012 $35,000
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Jan 16, 2009 $34,400
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Jun 01, 2012 $34,000
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Jul 01, 2012 $34,000
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Aug 11, 2011 $34,000
Scientific Technician Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia, PA Nov 29, 2009 $34,000

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Top Skills for A Scientific Technician

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. DNA
  3. GPS
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained inventory of chemicals and other items for labs, and performed routine maintenance of lab equipment and instruments.
  • Conducted angler interviews, including DNA samples, scale samples, CWT retrieval, lengths, and species type.
  • Plotted on a GPS the dart tags (model FT-1-94) and recovery location to estimate distance of drift.
  • Trained and experienced with oral implantation of radio telemetry tags into the stomachs of Coho salmon.
  • Conducted Chinook creel surveys on the Columbia, took scale samples and checked for CWT.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Scientific Technicians

  1. Minnesota
  2. Iowa
  3. Wisconsin
  4. North Dakota
  5. Maine
  6. Nebraska
  7. Kansas
  8. Illinois
  9. New Mexico
  10. Colorado
  • (323 jobs)
  • (247 jobs)
  • (269 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (84 jobs)
  • (80 jobs)
  • (130 jobs)
  • (459 jobs)
  • (101 jobs)
  • (269 jobs)

Scientific Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

49.8%

Female

36.0%

Unknown

14.2%
Ethnicity

White

68.1%

Hispanic or Latino

12.1%

Asian

9.8%

Black or African American

6.3%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

Portuguese

16.7%

French

16.7%

Scientific Technician Education

Schools

Evergreen State College

15.8%

Central Washington University

10.9%

Western Washington University

9.9%

University of Washington

8.9%

Oregon State University

7.9%

University of Maine

6.9%

Washington State University

4.0%

Eastern Washington University

4.0%

Drexel University

4.0%

University of Idaho

4.0%

Pennsylvania State University

3.0%

Case Western Reserve University

3.0%

Thomas Jefferson University

3.0%

Portland State University

3.0%

University of Nevada - Reno

2.0%

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

2.0%

Star Technical Institute

2.0%

Arizona State University

2.0%

Temple University

2.0%

American University

2.0%
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Majors

Biology

26.8%

Environmental Science

18.2%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

8.1%

Chemistry

8.1%

Geology

5.1%

Wildlife Management

4.5%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

3.0%

Zoology

3.0%

Electrical Engineering

2.5%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

2.5%

Geography

2.5%

Psychology

2.0%

Computer Science

2.0%

Education

2.0%

Criminal Justice

2.0%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

1.5%

Microbiology

1.5%

Fishing And Fisheries Sciences And Management

1.5%

Business

1.5%

Biomedical Engineering

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

50.9%

Masters

23.7%

Other

12.9%

Certificate

4.7%

Doctorate

4.3%

Associate

2.9%

Diploma

0.7%
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