Biological Technician Jobs and Salary Facts
Explore the career requirements for biological technicians. Get the facts about education requirements, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you.
What Is a Biological Technician?
Biological technicians analyze living organisms in scientific or medical laboratories. They often perform applied scientific research experiments and may assist in the process of developing new medicines. To do this, they must gather and prepare various biological samples, such as blood or bacteria cultures. Biological technicians take detailed notes throughout their experiments, analyze their results and present the findings in reports. They are also responsible for cleaning and maintaining laboratory equipment. They may work for private organizations, government agencies and more. The following table provides an overview of some of the things you need to know about entering this field.
|Degree Required||Bachelor's degree|
|Education Field of Study||Biology|
|Key Responsibilities||Collect & prepare biological specimens; perform lab tests; analyze/document results; report findings; maintain laboratory & equipment|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||7% growth*|
|Average Salary (2018)||$48,060*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Education is Required For Biological Technician Jobs?
A bachelor's degrees is usually necessary for a job as a biological technician. You could pursue a degree in biology, biotechnology or a related field. You can acquire training in an associate's degree program at a 2-year community college, or in a 4-year university program. Associate's degree programs blend concepts of biology, like DNA, genetics and cell biology, with concepts of computing and other technologies, like Java programming, biotechnology instrumentation and information technology.
A typical bachelor's degree biology curriculum might include classes in organic and inorganic chemistry, cell structure and genetics. You might also study ecology, evolution, cell respiration, biochemistry, histology, human physiology and endocrinology. In addition to a degree, you'll need to have mechanical aptitude, along with excellent communication and critical thinking skills.
What Will My Job Duties Consist Of?
Depending on the field in which you work, your duties as a biological technician may vary. For example, if you work in biotechnology, you may have the responsibility of researching recombinant DNA. Technicians working in medical laboratory facilities may assist with the research necessary to find cures for diseases.
You'll analyze research data and write reports based on your findings. Your duties may encompass analyzing bodily fluids, drug substances or foods. Some other tasks include maintaining laboratory equipment, performing set-up procedures in the laboratory, and preparing samples for analysis.
What Other Jobs Could I Qualify For?
A degree in biology gives you several job options. Along with biological technician, your career choices include microbiological laboratory technician, animal technician, research associate or environmental technician. Wildlife biology technician and forensic science technician are other job options. Additional or specialized training may be needed for some of these jobs.
What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for all biological technicians was $48,060 in May 2018. During that month, the research and development industry employed the most biological technicians, paying an average salary of $50,630. Academic institutions also employed a substantial number of biological technicians, and paid an average of $47,070 per year.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
A few closely related careers include microbiologists, zoologists and wildlife biologists, and forensic science technicians. Microbiologists study various microorganisms, such as bacteria or parasites, to learn about their life cycles and how they interact with their environments. Zoologists and wildlife biologists study various aspects of wildlife, including species interactions, human impact on their habitats or animal behavior. Forensic science technicians collect and analyze data from a crime scene. They typically work in a laboratory setting and present their findings in detailed reports.