A biological technician collects samples for analysis and performs experiments on substances using lab equipment. They also maintain and clean the equipment they use as well as assist other biological and medical scientists with their experiments and tests. Biological technicians may also be called laboratory assistants.
Watch a video to learn what a biological technician:
How to Become a Biological Technician
Biological technicians generally have a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences. When choosing a college program, it’s important to make sure that the curriculum includes biology courses with lab work experience. According to O*NET OnLine, almost 50% of those surveyed held a bachelor’s degree. Others continued with their education to earn a master’s degree or certification after their bachelors.
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Job Description of a Biological Technician
Biological technicians perform lab experiments on collected samples for research. They use lab equipment, robotics, and computers in their daily tasks to analyze substances such as blood, water, soil, or other tissue. During the experiments, they would make observations and record their results. They may also need to submit a report to other scientists about their findings. In addition to experiments, biological technicians would know how to set-up, operate, and sanitize lab equipment to ensure substances are not exposed to cross-contamination.
The Department of the Interior posted a job on USAjobs.gov for a Biological Science Technician with the following responsibilities:
- Uses a variety of databases and reporting systems to store, compile, and analyze data from studies.
- Collects biological samples ensuring correct documentation, reporting, storage, transport and delivery of samples taken.
- Uses established automated databases to enter, organize and perform preliminary analysis of collected data, using standard statistical methods in preparation of reports.
- Determines approach and then summarizes data using a variety of database software programs or other presentation approaches, ensuring records are detailed, precise and accurately transferred.
- Enters and retrieves data from geographic information systems and/or other information management systems.
- Participates in multifaceted wildlife studies, including carrying out a variety of research and survey methods, analyzing established data, and monitoring environmental elements related to conservation, management, and/or control of wildlife.
- Assists with performing biological studies for determining the manner and extent to which wildlife populations are affected by management activities.
- Assists in the capture and care of wildlife species. Assists in the control on non-native invasive species.
- Assists team as needed for general tasks around of the duty station/office.
- Loads and unloads materials and equipment, cleans grounds, collects and disposes of refuse and performs a variety of light maintenance and housekeeping tasks involving the use of hand and power tools and equipment.
Biological Technician Career Video Transcript
Biological technicians may be involved in projects from ground breaking research, to cure a devastating disease, to sequencing DNA evidence that can help solve a criminal case. These technicians assist biological and medical scientists. They’re found in biotechnology companies and at medical and research facilities. They may work for the government or for private firms that make food products or pharmaceuticals. They set up, operate, and maintain laboratory equipment used in experiments and production. This increasingly includes working with robots, computer-interfaced tools, and electronic devices. The work usually involves living organisms or organic matter such as food, blood, or infectious substances.
Biological technicians often need to wear protective gear while handling and analyzing specimens. They monitor experiments and keep careful records that they later use to write detailed reports. Technicians often work in teams or under the close supervision of a more experienced scientist. Most technicians have a bachelor’s degree, although some entry level positions require only an associate’s degree, often in a biology-related program. Excellent math and communication skills and higher-level coursework can help a technician advance to the position of technologist. This is a career where your efforts could be part of a scientific breakthrough that improves lives all over the world.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Biological Technician.
National Center for O*NET Development. 19-4021.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.