Biology Lab Technician

Explore the job duties of biology lab technicians, and get employment outlook and salary info for this position. Review the educational requirements for becoming a biology lab technician, and find out what you'd study in an undergraduate degree program related to this field.

Is Work as a Biology Lab Technician for Me?

Career Overview

Biology is a broad field that involves the study of living organisms. Biology lab technicians help scientists carry out research experiments, collect data and set up research equipment. Biology technicians typically work with biological and medical scientists, usually as part of a private company or a research university. Biology technicians can conduct research in many different areas, such as drug development, animal research and DNA structures. Research usually takes place in a laboratory, but you may end up working in a variety of settings. If you work in a manufacturing setting, you may work a set eight-hour shift, since production facilities normally operate 24 hours a day.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that biology technicians would experience a 10% increase in job opportunities between 2012 and 2022, which is considered to be as fast as the average among all occupations during that period (www.bls.gov). This growth may be due to the projected increase in biotechnology research in the coming years. Technicians who have lab experience were expected to have the best job prospects. The median yearly income of biology technicians was $40,710 in 2013. The highest-paid technicians were usually found in physician offices.

How Can I Become a Biology Lab Technician?

Education

You may be able to find some lab technician positions with an associate's degree, but most employers of biology technicians look for applicants who have a bachelor's degree. In addition to formal education, you may receive hands-on training from your employer. The amount of time you spend in training may vary based on how much experience you have with operating lab equipment. High school courses in math and science can help you prepare for a postsecondary education in biology.

Associate's Programs

An associate's degree with an emphasis in biology might be a good starting point if you wish to become a biology lab technician. Schools may offer biological science courses, such as animal biology, organic chemistry, human anatomy, ecology and microbiology. Some associate's degree programs in biology are designed to prepare you for a 4-year biology degree program.

Bachelor's Programs

A bachelor's degree in biology can be a good choice if you are able to commit your time to a 4-year degree and wish to have better job prospects. A bachelor's degree program in biology may offer classes such as bioethics, genetics, immunology, the structure of the human body and ecology of environmental issues. Some schools may offer different program options in related fields such as cellular biology, developmental biology, evolution, ecology and physiology.

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