How to Become a Biological Technician
Most biological technicians gain laboratory experience while in school.
Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. It is important for prospective biological technicians to gain laboratory experience while they are in school.
Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. Most colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in the biological sciences.
Biological science programs usually include courses in general biology, as well as in specific subfields such as ecology, microbiology, and physiology. In addition to taking courses in biology, students must study chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Computer science courses are helpful for learning how to model and simulate biological processes and for learning how to operate some laboratory equipment.
Laboratory experience is important for prospective biological technicians, and students should take biology courses that emphasize laboratory work.
Analytical skills. Biological technicians need to be able to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision.
Communication skills. Biological technicians must be able to understand and follow the instructions of their managing scientists. They also need to be able to clearly communicate their processes and findings in written reports.
Critical-thinking skills. Biological technicians draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.
Observational skills. Biological technicians must constantly monitor their experiments. They need to keep a complete, accurate record of their work, such as the conditions under which the experiment was carried out, the procedures they followed, and the results they obtained.
Technical skills. Biological technicians must be able to set up and operate sophisticated equipment and instruments. They also may need to adjust equipment to ensure that experiments are conducted properly.
Prospective biological technicians should have laboratory experience. In addition to coursework, laboratory experience may be gained during summer internships with prospective employers, such as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers, or in university laboratories.
Biological technicians may advance to scientist positions, such as a microbiologist, after a few years of experience working as a technician or after earning a graduate degree. Gaining more experience and higher levels of education often allows biological technicians to move into positions such as natural sciences managers or postsecondary teachers.