Bioinformatics Technician: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a bioinformatics technician. Learn about education requirements, job duties and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Bioinformatics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is A Bioinformatics Technician?

Bioinformatics applies information management and computational technology to the analysis, manipulation and storage of biological data. Technicians in this field work with scientists in fields including medical informatics, biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceuticals. Typical tasks include adjusting software programs, applications, and databases to the needs of an analytical project and collecting and compiling data for analysis. They need strong technology skills as well as background knowledge on the information being compiled and analyzed. The following table summarizes career facts for bioinformatics technicians.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Bioinformatics, computer science, computational biology
Key Responsibilities Maintaining databases of genomic information, data analysis
Job Outlook (2014-2024) -2% for all statistical assistants*
Median Salary (2015) $42,700 for all statistical assistants*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need for a Career as a Bioinformatics Technician?

About half of bioinformatics technicians hold a bachelor's degree, with most of the remainder holding master's or doctoral degrees, according to O*Net Online. If you're interested in working as a bioinformatics technician, you should consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in bioinformatics. These may be offered may be offered by either biology or computer science departments, because bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field applies computer science and information technology to the life sciences. You could get a bachelor's degree in computer science with a bioinformatics specialization, or, alternatively, you could get a degree in bioinformatics and computational biology, which is usually offered in biology departments. Regardless of which option you choose, you should expect to take a number of courses in biology, computer science, mathematics and statistics.

If you have a bachelor's degree in a life science or computer science but would like to acquire the bioinformatics foundation necessary to become a bioinformatics technician, you could enroll in a bioinformatics certificate program. Certificate programs focus on the mathematical and technical aspects of bioinformatics and can be completed in one year.

What Job Duties Might I Have?

As a bioinformatics technician, you would be responsible for storing genomics or proteomics data in large databases and maintaining these databases. Some jobs might also require you to create research databases. You should also expect to use statistical analysis software to analyze large amounts of data and perhaps even develop your own software tools. You might also convert experimental data into a more user-friendly format that can be easily accessed by the scientists with whom you work.

What Salary Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies bioinformatics technicians among statistical assistants (www.bls.gov). This group made a median annual wage of $42,700 and an average hourly wage of $20.53 in 2015, according to BLS figures.

What Are Some Alternative Related Careers?

Statistical assistants are also employed by the government, by insurance companies, and in the finance industries. For example, actuarial clerks assist actuaries in making risk assessments for health, life, and property insurance companies. Actuarial clerks might also work within a business to analyze the risk of a particular business strategies. Many statistical assistants hold a bachelor's degree, although some positions may not require one.

Bioinformatics technicians also share certain knowledge with bioinformatics scientists. However, whereas the technicians need to have slightly more comprehensive knowledge of computer technology, scientists need a much deeper understanding of bioinformtics theory. As this occupation requires at least a master's degree, it may be a reasonable next step for bioinformatics technicians who wish to continue climbing the career ladder.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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