Biological Technician Careers
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The average value of the Bachelor degree needed to become a Biological technicians is $873,536.00.
Biological research is an incredibly important facet of modern science. For instance, medical specialists work extensively every day in order to study possible cures for diseases such as atherosclerosis, AIDS, or cancer. Other biological researchers might study genetics, ecology, or microorganisms in order to glean useful knowledge for our society's benefit. However, scientists cannot conduct such complicated and extensive research on their own. This is where the biological technician comes in. Biological technicians work closely with biological researchers in order to ensure that research is performed in an efficient, effective, and useful manner. These technicians might help a biological researcher to set up an experiment, record and organize data, perform basic laboratory procedures, or countless other tasks that would be cumbersome for the researcher to accomplish on his or her own. A job as a biological technician serves as an excellent spring board from which one can launch a career involved in the expansive field of biological research.
Points of Interest
Of the different types of science technicians, biological technicians have some of the most sophisticated roles in the workplace. Although a great deal of these technicians' work consists of mundane tasks such as setup, cleanup, substance preparation, or data recording, many biological technicians are also responsible for performing certain experiments and conducting analyses. This requires the biological technician to apply complex concepts and extensive knowledge to his or her job. Many biological technicians value this aspect of their career because it is far more intellectually stimulating than the careers of other science technicians.
The roles of a biological technician can vary immensely. The field of biology is one of the vastest areas of study that are currently in practice, and a biological technician might find himself or herself performing countless different tasks within his or her career. Some biological technicians focus on a specific specialization, such as microbiology or marine biology, which will aid them should they wish to advance their careers within this specialization. Other biological technicians work in general research facilities which require knowledge of multiple different facets of biology.
Additionally, there are innumerable different companies and organizations that require the work of biological technicians. Wherever laboratory experiments are performed, a biological technician is needed to oversee and conduct certain procedures. This means that a biological technician could work in environments as diverse as a college laboratory or a food production company. Biological technicians might also work for various research organizations, government corporations, or the drug industries.
Nature of the Work
In order to become a biological technician, one must not be afraid of whatever his or her job might present. Biological technicians encounter a variety of different conditions in their work environments, and these technicians must be able to adapt to the many situations that they might find themselves in.
The bulk of a biological technician's time is spent in the laboratory. Usually, such laboratories are very well lit and clean, providing a rather pleasant environment in which to work. However, this will not always be the case. Sometimes, biological technicians will out of necessity work in dark, dank environments in order to preserve the desired conditions of the substance or organism that is currently being tested. Biological technicians cannot pick and choose amongst the variety of tasks that their jobs present; they must be willing and able to adapt to the needs of many different experiments that their employers require.
Biological technicians also spend a considerable amount of time in a typical office environment. These technicians work at computers as they analyze, interpret, and organize the data that has been gathered from an experiment. The biological technician also might have to fill out paperwork and records of the experiment that has been performed. Oftentimes, the biological scientist will defer his or her own paperwork to the biological technician, causing the technician to have to spend many hours at his or her office desk.
Depending on the biologist's specialization, he or she may also spend a considerable amount of time outdoors. For instance, if a biological technician works for an agricultural company, he or she might be expected to consistently go outside and collect samples from a specific crop. Therefore, when selecting a specialization as a biological technician, one must be aware of the different physical demands that each area might require and choose a specialization according to his or her individual abilities.
Training, Qualifications, and Advancement
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In order to become a biological technician, one must achieve at least a bachelor's degree in a related field. Many people are surprised when they learn of the amount of education that is necessary in order to achieve this occupation. Most other science technicians, such as environmental research and protection technicians or chemical technicians, require only an associate's degree in a pertinent field. However, the work of biological technicians is considerably more complicated and specialized than the work of other science technicians. Biological technicians oftentimes must work with extremely delicate organisms or potentially dangerous compounds. They also are required to perform a broad range of different tasks; because biology is such an incredibly enormous field, biological technicians must possess a widespread knowledge of the concepts and practices that are involved in this science.
There are a number of different bachelor's degrees that would be suitable for a biological technician. The first, not surprisingly, would be a bachelor's degree in biology. This degree will ensure that the student has received a well rounded education regarding biology's innumerable components. Other suitable degrees would include a bachelor of science in microbiology, a bachelor of science in cell biology, a bachelor of science in physiology, or a bachelor of science in animal behavior. However, these more specialized degrees could both aid and harm a student in receiving a job after graduation. Many companies look for biological technicians with a certain specialization, but many others would much rather hire someone who knows a little bit about everything involving biology.
In addition to his or her post-secondary school education, one will also need to possess an ample amount of on-the-job training before becoming a biological technician. Such experience is vital in order to prevent dangerous mistakes or accidents from occurring in a hazardous environment. Some college and university programs amply prepare prospective biological technicians for their careers, with extensive laboratory and experimental experience incorporated into the degree program. Students who have completed such a program will likely find their job training to be much easier and will progress through the training much more quickly. However, other biological technicians might have to undergo as much as one to two years of paid training before being able to perform their job's required tasks on their own.
One of the best aspects of a biological technician's career is its excellent opportunities for advancement. Because a bachelor's degree is required in order to become a biological technician, most of these technicians already possess ample skills and knowledge before beginning their career. This knowledge can easily be expanded upon in order to allow the biological technician to climb the ranks in his or her career.
Biological technicians begin their careers performing rather basic tasks under close supervision. For instance, a novice biological technician might be in charge of the proper preparation of a biologist's work space and the very meticulous cleanup methods after the experiment has been completed. Gradually, the technician will be given more complex tasks that allow them to use their intellect and knowledge to a greater extent. After maintaining a position as a biological technician for a few years, one might have the opportunity to become a biological technician supervisor if his or her performance in the workplace has been positive. Alternately, one could achieve his or her graduate degree and become a biological scientist. In order to become a biological scientist, the biological technician will have to choose a specialization (if he or she has not done so already) and take extra courses that will qualify him or her for the appropriate degree. These courses can usually be taken online or at night while the biological technician continues to work in his or her occupation. After becoming a biological scientist, technicians usually see an average increase in their salary of about 65 percent.
Because biological technicians are needed for so many different tasks, these technicians enjoy a wide expanse of employment opportunities. Biological technicians are generally able to choose their desired place of work from several different possible environments.
Some biological technicians are interested primarily in biology's basic research. These technicians often possess a general biology degree and have obtained a background that details many different aspects of the biological field. Biological technicians who are interested in this facet of the life science field could work in one of many distinct research facilities, both privately owned and government operated. They might research medicine, microbiology, zoology, agriculture, marine biology, or countless other biological specializations.
Some biological technicians might be attracted to a more industrial-based work environment. There are several industries that require the work of biological technicians in order to plan, research, and analyze new products and procedures. For instance, many biological technicians work in the drug industry, in the food processing industry, or in the synthetic materials industry. These technicians enjoy the innovation that their jobs enhance and foster.
Biological technicians also can work in an educational environment. Especially if the biological technician has had some hands-on experience in the research or development fields of biology, he or she will possess excellent insight into this subject that innumerable students will benefit from. After having achieved his or her teaching credentials, a biological technician is more than qualified to teach biology at a high school or middle school level. Some biological technicians work as professor's assistants at colleges and universities. With additional schooling, some biological technicians go on to become biology professors themselves.
The general job growth for biological technicians is expected to occur at a rate of 18 percent through the year 2018, a pace that is considerably faster than the national average. Part of the reason for this excellent growth rate lies in the simple fact that so many different companies and organizations require the work of biological technicians in order to thrive. In addition, many industries are looking to take advantage of the distinct benefits that biological research infers. For instance, agriculture based industries desire biological technicians that can research ways to make their crop yield more money and time efficient. The increasing proportion of elderly persons in our society is also leading to a growing need for medicines and pharmaceuticals, and biological technicians are needed to aid in the research and development of such drugs. Job growth for biological technicians is anticipated to be very healthy in the pharmaceutical specialization.
Overall, the job outlook for biological technicians is anticipated to be very positive across the board. However, as is true for any field, some specializations of biological occupations are expected to experience better job growth than others.
The only area of biological occupations that is expected to experience a negative job outlook is manufacturing. The amount of available jobs available for biological technicians in the area of manufacturing is expected to increase by about one percent overall. However, those who are involved in food manufacturing will see a decrease in available jobs of about five percent, while those who are involved in chemical manufacturing will see a decrease of as much as 34 percent. The job outlook for biological technicians in the manufacturing specialization is expected to be positive only for those who work in medical manufacturing. These technicians will see an increase in available jobs of about 17 percent.
In fact, any biological technician who is involved in medicine and health care overall will see excellent growth in their field. Biological technicians who perform research in the offices of health care practices and corporations will see an increase in available jobs of roughly 36 percent. In hospitals, biological technicians can anticipate a job growth of about 10 percent. In outpatient care services, job growth is expected to occur at a rate of 21 percent, while job growth will occur at a rate of 26 percent in general ambulatory health care services.
Biological technicians are also needed in great numbers by various corporations. For instance, biological technicians are needed by some companies to oversee the proper sale of various hazardous biological compounds that could not be handled correctly by someone without ample experience in the life science field. Biological technicians involved in the sale of such products can expect a job growth of about 20 percent in the coming years. Additionally, some biological technicians are responsible for a large portion of the management of these enterprises. These biological technicians can anticipate job growth to occur at a rate of about 6 percent.
Many people do not realize that biological technicians play such a large role in the processes of waste management and disposal. However, research performed by these workers is vital in order to ensure that waste is disposed of properly and responsibly. Therefore, biological technicians will be needed in growing numbers over the coming years. Through the year 2018, biological technicians can expect job growth to occur at a rate of 23 to 25 percent in the field of waste management.
Biological technicians who are involved in the educational field will also experience very healthy job conditions through 2018. The need for more and more biological workers in our society has led to a need for more and more biology teachers and professors to produce said workers. In the area of biological education, biological technicians can expect to experience an increase in available jobs of roughly 22 percent.
Because there are so many different roles that a biological technician might be required to fill, the annual earnings of a biological technician vary considerably between different specializations and places of employment. Other factors might include the technician's personal experience and education; obviously, the more knowledgeable a biological technician is, the more likely he or she is to experience a greater salary.
The average salary for a general biological technician is roughly $40,000 per year. The lowest ten percent of biological technicians earn less than $32,150 per year, while the highest ten percent can earn in excess of $51,477 annually. Biological technician supervisors tend to earn about ten percent more than basic biological technicians. Biological technicians who move on to become biological researchers earn a great deal more per year. On average, these researchers make about $70,000 annually, although some experienced biologists earn over $120,000 per year.
A biological technician earns roughly $18.21 per hour. However, many biological technicians work enormous amounts of overtime in order to complete certain tests and experiments by certain deadline. Also, the hourly wage of a biological technician varies greatly depending on his or her specialization. Technicians who labor in the areas of biology that are in the most demand of research work, such as medicine and health care, earn as much as $21.32 per hour. Biological technicians who are involved in areas such as chemical or food manufacturing might be paid as little as $17.02 per hour.
Although there is a plethora of opportunities available for biological technicians, one might consider an occupation as a different type of science technician as well. Practically all fields of science require the work of a technician in order to ensure that research and experiments can be performed smoothly and efficiently. The following is an overview of several science technician careers that one may wish to consider.
• Forensic Science Technician Forensic science technicians perform crucial tasks in the justice system. These technicians assist in the experiments that investigators use to identify a criminal or suspect of a crime scene. Forensic science technicians might study the DNA of a suspect or research various weapons that may have been used in a crime.
• Agricultural Science Technicians Agricultural science technicians study soil, crops, and animals to ensure that our Earth achieves a state of agricultural balance. These technicians study methods to make agriculture more efficient, research ecological implications of human agricultural actions, and help industries to make the decisions that are best for them and their consumers.
• Nuclear Technicians Nuclear technicians assist nuclear specialists and physicists in their research. These technicians look extensively into the physical properties of nuclear technology and research the effects of nuclear equipment on the Earth's environment. Nuclear technicians are vital in ensuring that radiation does not pose a threat in our society.
• Geological Technicians In a society that is so reliant on various types of gas, geological technicians have earned themselves a very important role in the proper functioning of modern transportation. These technicians collect samples of geological content and study them for their composition percentages. The work of geological technicians may prove to be extremely beneficial in the maintenance of an automobile-based society.
• Environmental Preservation and Protection Technicians Lately, it has become more apparent than ever that measures must be taken to ensure the good health of our planet. Environmental preservation and protection technicians work closely with their corresponding ecologists to study the well-being of the environment. These technicians collect environmental samples, perform tests on the samples, and interpret the results in order to prevent any excesses of pollutants or imbalances in elemental compositions.
•Chemical Technicians Like biological technicians, chemical technicians possess an enormous variety of different tasks that they must complete. These technicians study chemical compounds of all natures, whether they be synthetic, environmental, or biological. This research is used by many different corporations, such as industries that wish to ensure the safety of a certain chemical product. There is some overlap between the work of chemical technicians and biological technicians.
•Astrological Technicians Astrological technicians work with astrologists in studying the movements of the stars and planets. These technicians might set up numerous different experiments that use astrological equipment in new and innovative ways. The work of these technicians provides crucial information to the aerospace field, which works to provide new means of transportation throughout the universe.
Sources of Additional Information
An occupation as a biological technician is respected and encouraged throughout the world. There are many different websites that provide comprehensive information about a biological technician's career. These websites include:
- BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Princeton Review
- Sloan Career Cornerstone
- Diploma Guide
- National Institute of Health - Life Works