Biological Technicians



Schools and Education

What's Needed:

  • A bachelor's degree in a biological sciences major is generally required for entry-level biotechnology laboratory technician positions. Some positions may be available via an associate's degree in a biology major.
  • Students should consider taking on an internship or other hands-on working opportunity while completing their studies. This added experience can provide a valuable competitive edge in the employment marketplace and greater degrees of familiarity with the laboratory environment.

What you study:

Coursework for a specialized biology degree program will typically include the following subjects:

  • A wide range of biological sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry and biochemistry
  • Basic computer science courses
  • Physics and the physical sciences
  • Laboratory coursework to develop skills in the lab setting

Depending on the desired career path students may wish to add elective coursework in business medicine pharmacy studies or other specialty fields.

What courses you'll take

Below are examples of courses that you might take as part of a of a biology or biotechnology degree.

BiologyUsually spanning several semesters these courses cover major concepts and topics in biology including: origins of life; energy within organisms; chemical basis of life; plant and animal diversity; human and animal physiology; cells; organs; genetics; evolution; and ecology.Give students the core knowledge of the biological sciences that they need to take on advanced and specialized studies.
ChemistryProperties of elements and compounds as related to atomic structures; chemical solutions; stoichiometry organic chemistry and biochemistry. Presents theories about reactivity equilibriums thermodynamics electrochemistry bonding and behavior of materials.Teach chemistry basics as related to biological systems.
Chemistry LaboratoryGives laboratory work that demonstrate and illustrate concepts taught in chemistry classroom.Reinforce chemistry basics through hands-on experiments and introduce laboratory practices that students will use in their field.
Organic ChemistryApplies scientific problem solving to organic or carbon-based compounds. Teaches the terminology concepts related to molecular electronics organic reactions stereochemistry and organic compound structure.Teach basics of organic chemistry which is a part of the foundation knowledge of biology and biological lab work.
OrganismsExplores the life sustaining processes of different types of life forms. Looks at use of life-essential molecules growth reproduction and responses to the organism's environment. Usually includes labs to reinforce concepts and teach scientific methods used in research.Prepare students to work with a variety of life forms within lab and research settings
ElectivesStudents in many biology programs can select from a spectrum of specialized studies such as: botany; entomology; plant biology; neurobiology; advanced molecular biology; environmental toxicology; parasitology and human histology.Enable students to focus on an interest related to the type of lab work they would like to do.

Video Overview

A short overview showing what is involved in being a biotech lab tech. Created for the US Department of Labor.

Certifications and Licensing

No national biotechnology laboratory technician certification program has been established. However some states may offer voluntary certifications for individuals. For example the American Society for Microbiology provides accredited support for voluntary certification programs in the states of California and Florida.

Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Biotechnology laboratory technicians work in the laboratory setting on a full-time basis. Some technicians may work in shifts especially in laboratories that perform testing for health care facilities. Due to the nature of the work performed biotechnology technicians typically must adhere to the set working hours and may be required to perform overtime on critical projects.

Recommended Websites

These useful resources can provide valuable information on educational opportunities job prospects and other news in the field of biotechnology research and development. Additionally biotechnology member organizations offer additional avenues for networking and connecting with others in this important scientific field.

  • U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook — This government website offers a comprehensive range of information on earnings potential job responsibilities and employment prospects for those considering a career as a biotechnology laboratory technician. The site provides an in-depth look at the educational requirements and certifications necessary to achieve success in this growing industry.
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology — Since 1912 FASEB has served as the voice of the science and biotechnology community in the larger community of society and government. Today FASEB sponsors conferences and seminars in the biotechnology field offers job search assistance and publishes a scholarly journal dedicated to experimental biology research results.
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences — One of the most prestigious member organizations for biology and biotechnology professionals AIBS provides educational opportunities for students and scientists and works to represent the views and opinions of its members through the activities of the AIBS Public Policy Office. The organization also offers exclusive scientific peer review services for technicians interested in publishing their findings in the academic environment.
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information — The NCBI operates under the auspices of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and provides in-depth information on current developments and research results in the biotechnology field. The databases tutorials and training materials available on this website will be of particular interest to biotechnology students and newcomers to this exciting career field.
  • USDA National Agricultural Library — Focusing primarily on the agricultural applications and implications of biotechnology research the National Agricultural Library website offers information on cutting-edge research in the field of transgenic livestock bioengineered plants for food and energy production and many other areas of investigation within the biotechnology community.
  • American Society for Microbiology — The oldest professional organization for microbiologists and biotechnology laboratory technicians the American Society for Microbiology publishes numerous scholarly journals and monographs and provides professional development and continuing education opportunities for members on an ongoing basis.

Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column — for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

StateCity / RegionTypical SalarySalary RangeJob Count% of All Jobs
AKAnchorage$34210$30K – $48K1200.07%
AKFairbanks$39650$31K – $57K1000.27%
ALAuburn – Opelika$42460$28K – $66K1300.28%
ARLittle Rock – North Little Rock – Conway$35280$26K – $49K600.02%
AZPhoenix – Mesa – Glendale$33680$25K – $60K4800.03%
AZTucson$27980$22K – $38K2600.07%
CABakersfield – Delano$38820$28K – $47K300.01%
CAFresno$31310$23K – $56K1800.06%
CALos Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area)$46080$28K – $69K14200.04%
CAModesto$36800$26K – $56K400.02%
CAOakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area)$49660$28K – $79K13600.14%
CAOxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura$43430$27K – $71KN/AN/A
CARiverside – San Bernardino – Ontario$38960$26K – $54K4100.04%
CASacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville$33640$26K – $54K5400.07%
CASalinas$48990$24K – $73K500.03%
CASan Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos$42690$25K – $73K22100.18%
CASan Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area)$69940$41K – $94K12600.13%
CASan Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara$43120$31K – $73K8900.10%
CASan Luis Obispo – Paso Robles$44200$34K – $71KN/AN/A
CASanta Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area)$37280$25K – $60K8100.06%
CASanta Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta$48960$25K – $87K500.03%
CASanta Cruz – Watsonville$31440$23K – $51KN/AN/A
CASanta Rosa – Petaluma$39610$32K – $72K400.03%
CAStockton$39540$33K – $48K400.02%
CAVallejo – Fairfield$38990$30K – $63K700.06%
CAVisalia – Porterville$31320$25K – $45K900.07%
COBoulder$45190$30K – $71K1100.07%
CODenver – Aurora – Broomfield$43200$31K – $68K18600.15%
COFort Collins – Loveland$33770$25K – $55K2000.15%
CTBridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk$67980$31K – $81K300.01%
CTHartford – West Hartford – East Hartford$56790$30K – $77K1400.03%
CTNorwich – New London$43490$28K – $51KN/AN/A
DCWashington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area)$45020$27K – $67K9500.04%
DEWilmington (Metro Area)$40620$28K – $59K2400.07%
FLFort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)$37070$26K – $54K700.01%
FLGainesville$31620$22K – $50K2200.19%
FLJacksonville$28680$24K – $39K500.01%
FLMiami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area)$41040$31K – $60K1200.01%
FLNorth Port – Bradenton – Sarasota$42680$27K – $49K600.02%
FLOrlando – Kissimmee – Sanford$34320$23K – $50K2100.02%
FLPanama City – Lynn Haven – Panama City Beach$36020$24K – $54KN/AN/A
FLPort St. Lucie$37250$20K – $55K1400.11%
FLTallahassee$29910$23K – $45K400.03%
FLTampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater$31920$23K – $47K1500.01%
FLWest Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area)$36680$25K – $60K1200.02%
GAAtlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta$42690$28K – $61K2600.01%
GAGainesville$30020$22K – $49K400.05%
HIHonolulu$33030$25K – $53K2400.06%
IAAmes$40100$20K – $60K3200.80%
IADes Moines – West Des Moines$41930$23K – $57KN/AN/A
IDCoeur d'Alene ID$31310$26K – $41K400.07%
IDIdaho Falls$24930$25K – $34K1600.34%
IDLewiston$29750$26K – $39K300.13%
ILChicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area)$43620$25K – $76KN/AN/A
ILLake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area)$39720$25K – $63K500.01%
ILPeoria$53770$23K – $62K700.04%
INBloomington$55250$33K – $100K400.05%
INGary (Metro Area)$34310$27K – $48K500.02%
INIndianapolis – Carmel$40040$24K – $73KN/AN/A
INLafayette$35880$21K – $57K3000.35%
KSManhattanN/AN/A – N/A1400.28%
KYLexington – Fayette$28480$20K – $41K2000.08%
KYLouisville – Jefferson County$33680$23K – $44K400.01%
LABaton Rouge$40390$28K – $62KN/AN/A
LALake Charles$35040$24K – $68KN/AN/A
LANew Orleans – Metairie – Kenner$29430$20K – $56K1400.03%
LAShreveport – Bossier City$34750$24K – $58KN/AN/A
MABarnstable Town$44850$33K – $71K1800.19%
MABoston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area)$43810$29K – $66K43900.26%
MAFramingham (Metro Area)$52060$34K – $68K2300.14%
MALowell – Billerica – Chelmsford (Metro Area)$37810$27K – $59KN/AN/A
MAWorcester$38910$28K – $57K5500.22%
MDBethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area)$50470$34K – $77K15200.27%
MEPortland – South Portland – Biddeford$45130$32K – $67K1900.10%
MIAnn Arbor$34230$19K – $50K18600.96%
MIKalamazoo – Portage$19240$16K – $49K1200.09%
MILansing – East Lansing$34420$23K – $52K500.02%
MIWarren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area)$35460$27K – $47K1000.01%
MNDuluth$40200$28K – $55K600.05%
MNMinneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington$37680$26K – $61K4900.03%
MOColumbia$31310$22K – $60K1100.13%
MOKansas City$35740$26K – $55K3200.03%
MOSt. Louis$34220$25K – $59K1400.01%
MTMissoula$31320$22K – $52K900.17%
NCCharlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill$33420$25K – $46K400.01%
NCDurham – Chapel Hill$$28K – $58K5700.21%
NCGreenville$30270$23K – $51K700.10%
NCRaleigh – CaryN/AN/A – N/A2400.05%
NCRocky Mount$38450$32K – $46KN/AN/A
NDFargo$29910$20K – $59K900.07%
NELincoln$34460$20K – $50K1300.08%
NEOmaha – Council Bluffs$36620$26K – $70K1500.03%
NHRochester – Dover$42400$32K – $58K400.07%
NJCamden (Metro Area)$38780$31K – $61K900.02%
NJEdison – New Brunswick (Metro Area)$48260$33K – $74K12800.13%
NJNewark – Union (Metro Area)$44,450$28K – $70K4600.05%
NJTrenton – Ewing$57,000$33K – $87KN/AN/A
NMAlbuquerque$33,150$25K – $47K1500.04%
NVLas Vegas – Paradise$38,790$31K – $83K800.01%
NVReno – Sparks$34,540$26K – $55KN/AN/A
NYAlbany – Schenectady – Troy$43,200$35K – $49K8600.20%
NYIthaca$36,830$31K – $55K700.14%
NYNassau – Suffolk (Metro Area)$36,550$23K – $62K2600.02%
NYNew York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area)$44,510$30K – $59K1,2200.02%
NYPoughkeepsie – Newburgh – Middletown$41,730$28K – $59K700.03%
NYRochester$38,710$23K – $54K800.02%
NYSyracuse$29,580$22K – $38KN/AN/A
OHAkron$32,640$26K – $45K300.01%
OHCincinnati – Middletown$40,470$25K – $65K1,1300.12%
OHCleveland – Elyria – Mentor$34,180$26K – $48K4100.04%
OHColumbus$34,360$26K – $53K810

Related Articles

MyPerfectResume Staff Writer

MyPerfectResume Staff Writer

At MyPerfectResume, we are passionate about two things: sharing our knowledge about the workforce and providing exceptional tools to help jobseekers get ahead. Thanks to our well-rounded assemblage of experts, we offer industry-specific resume and cover letter writing tips and career advice for almost every job. MyPerfectResume culls detailed advice…

More Articles by MyPerfectResume Staff Writer