What Does a Biological Science Technician Do?

B. Turner

A biological science technician plays a support role in scientific studies and medical research. While there are many types of science technician jobs, the biological science technician is focused on exploring the living organism. He may work outdoors collecting data samples, or in the laboratory, where he is responsible for analyzing and studying these samples. The exact job description for employees in this field can vary dramatically among companies, or even from one project to the next within the same organization.

A biological science tech working.
A biological science tech working.

Generally, science technicians work under the direct supervision of more highly-trained scientists. A biological science technician typically only requires a certificate or two-year degree rather than an undergraduate degree or higher. Some have only a high school diploma, and learn the skills they need in the workplace through on-the-job training. Given that a doctoral degree is typically required to lead a scientific research project, technicians are usually limited to filling support roles rather than taking the reins of a project.

A biological science technician who works outdoors spends his work day collecting data samples that can be analyzed later in the lab. These samples could include anything from water samples to animal droppings, as well as insects and plant life. These technicians also use surveying and other complex equipment to record test results in the field, which are then logged carefully into a notebook or computer. Technicians who work outdoors may also be responsible for tracking wildlife, exploring soil conditions in an area, or even performing tests related to marine life.

Those who work primarily indoors in the laboratory use highly sophisticated equipment to analyze samples and perform tests. They may help setup or monitor a scientific experiment as part of a research project, and record results for further analysis. The job of the biological science technician is highly varied, and these employees may find themselves studying materials ranging from food to bacteria. Technicians also study the things that can impact living organisms, including pollution, chemicals, and medicines.

There are many types of biological science technician jobs to choose from, and each offers its own challenges and rewards. The United States (US) government employees these technicians through the US Department of Agriculture, or the US Geological Survey. Others work in private farms, fish hatcheries, or zoos. A biological science technician can also find employment in a forest or wildlife refuge. Many are employed by hospitals and universities, where they perform important research related to health and medicine, while others help develop new products for private manufacturers.

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