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Summary Report for:
19-4021.00 - Biological Technicians

Assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, make observations, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.

Sample of reported job titles: Biological Technician, Research Associate, Laboratory Technician, Biological Science Laboratory Technician, Research Specialist, Research Assistant, Research Technician, Environmental Technician, Resource Biologist, Wildlife Biology Technician

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Conduct research or assist in the conduct of research, including the collection of information and samples, such as blood, water, soil, plants and animals.
  • Analyze experimental data and interpret results to write reports and summaries of findings.
  • Keep detailed logs of all work-related activities.
  • Use computers, computer-interfaced equipment, robotics or high-technology industrial applications to perform work duties.
  • Clean, maintain and prepare supplies and work areas.
  • Set up, adjust, calibrate, clean, maintain, and troubleshoot laboratory and field equipment.
  • Measure or weigh compounds and solutions for use in testing or animal feed.
  • Isolate, identify and prepare specimens for examination.
  • Conduct standardized biological, microbiological or biochemical tests and laboratory analyses to evaluate the quantity or quality of physical or chemical substances in food or other products.
  • Examine animals and specimens to detect the presence of disease or other problems.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Deoxyribonucleic sequence analyzers — Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA sequencers; Inherit sequencing analysis systems
Manual or electronic hematology differential cell counters — Automated cell counters; Coulter counters; Hematology cell counters
Robotic or automated liquid handling systems — Automatic pipetters; Liquid handling robots; Robotic laboratory equipment
Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters — Cytofluorographs; Fluorometers
Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers — Polymerase chain reaction PCR equipment; Polymerase chain reaction PCR thermocyclers

Technology used in this occupation:

Analytical or scientific software — BD Biosciences CellQuest; Gene Codes Sequencher; PolyBayes software; Systat Software Table Curve
Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Microsoft Access; Thomson EndNote
Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software; Graphics software; Harvard Graphics software
Spreadsheet software — IBM Lotus 1-2-3; Microsoft Excel
Word processing software — Corel WordPerfect software; Microsoft Word

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Knowledge

Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
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.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Skills

Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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.
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.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

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Abilities

Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

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Work Activities

Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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Work Context

Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 90% responded “Every day.”
Face-to-Face Discussions — 64% responded “Every day.”
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
Electronic Mail — 54% responded “Every day.”
Freedom to Make Decisions — 49% responded “A lot of freedom.”
Structured versus Unstructured Work — 41% responded “Some freedom.”
Contact With Others — 41% responded “Constant contact with others.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 36% responded “Very important.”
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 37% responded “Moderate results.”
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 37% responded “Continually or almost continually.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
76   Bachelor's degree
  High school diploma or equivalent Help
  Master's degree

This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:

Life Sciences — Biology Technician/Biotechnology Laboratory Technician

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Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Apprenticeships

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Interests

Interest code: RIC

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Styles

Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

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Work Values

Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Related Occupations

19-4011.01 Agricultural Technicians   Green Occupation Green
19-4011.02 Food Science Technicians
19-4031.00 Chemical Technicians Green Occupation
19-4041.01 Geophysical Data Technicians Green Occupation
19-4061.00 Social Science Research Assistants
19-4091.00 Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health Green Occupation
19-4092.00 Forensic Science Technicians
29-2011.00 Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists
29-2011.03 Histotechnologists and Histologic Technicians   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook  
29-2012.00 Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians Bright Outlook

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2013) $19.57 hourly, $40,710 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 80,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Average (8% to 14%) Average (8% to 14%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 32,100
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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