Science Technology

Science technology is a broad field offering diverse career options. You might investigate crime scenes, help scientists with lab experiments or create new crops that produce more food. Read on to learn more about job options and related career outlooks. See what certificate, diploma or associate's degree programs can prepare you for employment.

Is Science Technology for Me?

Career Overview

Science technicians help scientists in labs with research and development. Science technicians keep records of experiments and tests, analyze results and maintain equipment. Your duties could include monitoring tests for product development. You might observe manufacturing procedures or test products for quality.

As a science technician, you might find work in research laboratories, product development labs or crime labs. You could get hired in a variety of industries, including agriculture, pharmaceutical, food processing or manufacturing. Environmental testing firms and government agencies are other potential employers.

Specializations

Science technology is a diverse field with an array of employment specializations, including biological technician, forensic science technician and environmental science and protection technician. Biological technicians may work in medical research or in the development of drugs or other products. For instance, you might use biotechnological skills to help create food crops that are more productive and more resistant to insect damage.

Forensic science technicians utilize scientific skills to investigate crimes and identify potential suspects. Your responsibilities might include gathering physical evidence at crime scenes or analyzing and testing evidence in a lab. Forensic science technicians usually specialize in lab work or crime scene investigations. Forensic science technicians may work at crime labs, medical examiners' offices or police agencies.

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biological technicians earned median annual pay of $40,710 as of 2013 (www.bls.gov). Forensic science technicians made a median yearly wage of $54,360 as of 2013, the BLS said. Jobs for biological technicians are projected to grow 10% between 2012 and 2022, according to BLS projections, and employment of forensic science technicians is expected to increase 6%.

How Can I Work in Science Technology?

Education

You may find associate's and bachelor's degree programs in scientific technology or laboratory science technology. You could enter the work force with an associate's degree or continue studying for a bachelor's degree. You'll typically learn scientific theories and practice technical skills through lab work. Hands-on lab experience is an important part of these educational programs, and potential employers may look for this when hiring. You may study biology, lab safety procedures and technical writing, as well as chemistry, instrument analysis and hazardous materials.

An associate's degree or certificate in applied science or a scientific technology specialization may qualify you for some science technology jobs, but you'll need a bachelor's degree for other careers. You may need to receive on-the-job training even if you have a formal education. Biological technicians typically need a bachelor's degree in biology, biological technology or another relevant major. Forensic science technicians typically require a bachelor's degree in forensic science, forensic science technology or one of the natural sciences. According to the BLS, some rural police departments might hire crime scene investigators with just a high school diploma.

Some schools offer certificate, diploma or associate's degree programs in forensic science technology or biological lab technology. You might qualify for entry-level technician positions in industrial and biomedical laboratories or in the energy industry after earning an associate's degree in energy and science technology.

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