Biological Technicians

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Also known as:
Bacteriology Technician, Biochemistry Technician, Biology Laboratory Assistant, Marine Fisheries Technician, Microbiology Technician, Wildlife Technician

ABOUT BIOLOGICAL TECHNICIAN CAREERS
Video transcript

Biological technicians apply expert knowledge and practical ability to a range of laboratory tasks. They may be involved in groundbreaking research to cure a devastating disease or in analyzing evidence that can close a criminal case. These technicians assist biological and medical scientists. They're found in biotechnology companies and at health 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-interface tools, and electronic devices.

The work usually involves living organisms or organic matter such as food, blood, drugs, or infectious substances. Biological technicians often need to wear protective gear while handling and analyzing specimens. They monitor experiments and keep careful records which will later help them prepare detailed reports.

Technicians often work in teams or under the close supervision of a more experienced scientist. Entry-level positions require at least an associate's degree. Excellent math and communication skills and higher-level coursework can help a technician advance to the position of technologist. That brings with it higher technical responsibility and higher pay.

This is a career where your efforts could be part of a scientific breakthrough that improves lives all over the world.

SNAPSHOT
Assist biological and medical scientists. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, collect data and samples, make observations, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
LOW
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
LOW
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Provide technical support and services for scientists and engineers working in fields such as agriculture, environmental science, resource management, biology, and health sciences.

Monitor and observe experiments, recording production and test data for evaluation by research personnel.

Analyze experimental data and interpret results to write reports and summaries of findings.

Clean, maintain and prepare supplies and work areas.

Isolate, identify and prepare specimens for examination.

Place orders for laboratory equipment and supplies.

Conduct research or assist in the conduct of research, including the collection of information and samples, such as blood, water, soil, plants and animals.

Use computers, computer-interfaced equipment, robotics or high-technology industrial applications to perform work duties.

Input data into databases.

Keep detailed logs of all work-related activities.

Monitor laboratory work to ensure compliance with set standards.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
TOP SKILLS
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Science Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.