Biotechnicians, also known as biological technicians, work in specialized areas of biology using tools and technology associated with biological research. This career is for individuals who pay attention to detail, think analytically and cooperate with others. Biotechnicians usually seek supportive management, good working conditions and job security.
Biotechnicians assist biological scientists in laboratories. They work with biologists who study living organisms and maintain, set up and operate laboratory equipment. They also conduct research by making observations, calculating results and recording these results. Typically, biotechnicians analyze organic substances, such as blood, food and drugs. Other titles that biotechnicians may have are biological technician, laboratory technician, biological science laboratory technician and research assistant.
Biotechnicians can be found working for pharmaceutical companies or in areas of microbiology and biotechnology. They may help develop and manufacture medicine or work as lab assistants who study infectious agents or living organisms. Biotechnicians may also work in biotechnology and apply research, such as gene splicing, directly to product development.
Work Environment and Hours
Most biotechnicians work in laboratories and work regular hours. Some biotechnicians work irregular hours to monitor experiments that cannot be completed during conventional working hours. Biotechnicians may be exposed to hazards from chemicals, toxic materials or typical on-the-job tools. However, such conditions pose little threat when proper safety procedures are followed.
Biotechnicians require a bachelor's degree in biology or a closely related scientific field. Communication skills are important, because biotechnicians report their findings either orally or in writing. They should be able to work well with others, as collaborative research is common. Biotechnicians should have strong computer skills. They organize well, are attentive to detail, are analytical thinkers and are well trained in interpreting scientific results.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the mean hourly wage of a biotechnician was $19.11 in 2012 and the mean annual wage was $39,750. Job growth is predicted to be about 10 percent during the decade of 2012 through 2022, which is as fast as average.
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