Biological Technicians

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Biotech Lab Technicians

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.

Course Studies Purpose
Biology Usually 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.
Chemistry Properties 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 Laboratory Gives 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 Chemistry Applies 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.
Organisms Explores 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
Electives Students 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.

State City / Region Typical Salary Salary Range Job Count % of All Jobs
AK Anchorage $34210 $30K – $48K 120 0.07%
AK Fairbanks $39650 $31K – $57K 100 0.27%
AL Auburn – Opelika $42460 $28K – $66K 130 0.28%
AR Little Rock – North Little Rock – Conway $35280 $26K – $49K 60 0.02%
AZ Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale $33680 $25K – $60K 480 0.03%
AZ Tucson $27980 $22K – $38K 260 0.07%
CA Bakersfield – Delano $38820 $28K – $47K 30 0.01%
CA Fresno $31310 $23K – $56K 180 0.06%
CA Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (Metro Area) $46080 $28K – $69K 1420 0.04%
CA Modesto $36800 $26K – $56K 40 0.02%
CA Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (Metro Area) $49660 $28K – $79K 1360 0.14%
CA Oxnard – Thousand Oaks – Ventura $43430 $27K – $71K N/A N/A
CA Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario $38960 $26K – $54K 410 0.04%
CA Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville $33640 $26K – $54K 540 0.07%
CA Salinas $48990 $24K – $73K 50 0.03%
CA San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos $42690 $25K – $73K 2210 0.18%
CA San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (Metro Area) $69940 $41K – $94K 1260 0.13%
CA San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $43120 $31K – $73K 890 0.10%
CA San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles $44200 $34K – $71K N/A N/A
CA Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (Metro Area) $37280 $25K – $60K 810 0.06%
CA Santa Barbara – Santa Maria – Goleta $48960 $25K – $87K 50 0.03%
CA Santa Cruz – Watsonville $31440 $23K – $51K N/A N/A
CA Santa Rosa – Petaluma $39610 $32K – $72K 40 0.03%
CA Stockton $39540 $33K – $48K 40 0.02%
CA Vallejo – Fairfield $38990 $30K – $63K 70 0.06%
CA Visalia – Porterville $31320 $25K – $45K 90 0.07%
CO Boulder $45190 $30K – $71K 110 0.07%
CO Denver – Aurora – Broomfield $43200 $31K – $68K 1860 0.15%
CO Fort Collins – Loveland $33770 $25K – $55K 200 0.15%
CT Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $67980 $31K – $81K 30 0.01%
CT Hartford – West Hartford – East Hartford $56790 $30K – $77K 140 0.03%
CT Norwich – New London $43490 $28K – $51K N/A N/A
DC Washington – Arlington – Alexandria (Metro Area) $45020 $27K – $67K 950 0.04%
DE Wilmington (Metro Area) $40620 $28K – $59K 240 0.07%
FL Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach – Deerfield Beach (Metro Area) $37070 $26K – $54K 70 0.01%
FL Gainesville $31620 $22K – $50K 220 0.19%
FL Jacksonville $28680 $24K – $39K 50 0.01%
FL Miami – Miami Beach – Kendall (Metro Area) $41040 $31K – $60K 120 0.01%
FL North Port – Bradenton – Sarasota $42680 $27K – $49K 60 0.02%
FL Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford $34320 $23K – $50K 210 0.02%
FL Panama City – Lynn Haven – Panama City Beach $36020 $24K – $54K N/A N/A
FL Port St. Lucie $37250 $20K – $55K 140 0.11%
FL Tallahassee $29910 $23K – $45K 40 0.03%
FL Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater $31920 $23K – $47K 150 0.01%
FL West Palm Beach – Boca Raton – Boynton Beach (Metro Area) $36680 $25K – $60K 120 0.02%
GA Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta $42690 $28K – $61K 260 0.01%
GA Gainesville $30020 $22K – $49K 40 0.05%
HI Honolulu $33030 $25K – $53K 240 0.06%
IA Ames $40100 $20K – $60K 320 0.80%
IA Des Moines – West Des Moines $41930 $23K – $57K N/A N/A
ID Coeur d’Alene ID $31310 $26K – $41K 40 0.07%
ID Idaho Falls $24930 $25K – $34K 160 0.34%
ID Lewiston $29750 $26K – $39K 30 0.13%
IL Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (Metro Area) $43620 $25K – $76K N/A N/A
IL Lake County – Kenosha County (Metro Area) $39720 $25K – $63K 50 0.01%
IL Peoria $53770 $23K – $62K 70 0.04%
IN Bloomington $55250 $33K – $100K 40 0.05%
IN Gary (Metro Area) $34310 $27K – $48K 50 0.02%
IN Indianapolis – Carmel $40040 $24K – $73K N/A N/A
IN Lafayette $35880 $21K – $57K 300 0.35%
KS Manhattan N/A N/A – N/A 140 0.28%
KY Lexington – Fayette $28480 $20K – $41K 200 0.08%
KY Louisville – Jefferson County $33680 $23K – $44K 40 0.01%
LA Baton Rouge $40390 $28K – $62K N/A N/A
LA Lake Charles $35040 $24K – $68K N/A N/A
LA New Orleans – Metairie – Kenner $29430 $20K – $56K 140 0.03%
LA Shreveport – Bossier City $34750 $24K – $58K N/A N/A
MA Barnstable Town $44850 $33K – $71K 180 0.19%
MA Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (Metro Area) $43810 $29K – $66K 4390 0.26%
MA Framingham (Metro Area) $52060 $34K – $68K 230 0.14%
MA Lowell – Billerica – Chelmsford (Metro Area) $37810 $27K – $59K N/A N/A
MA Worcester $38910 $28K – $57K 550 0.22%
MD Bethesda – Rockville – Frederick (Metro Area) $50470 $34K – $77K 1520 0.27%
ME Portland – South Portland – Biddeford $45130 $32K – $67K 190 0.10%
MI Ann Arbor $34230 $19K – $50K 1860 0.96%
MI Kalamazoo – Portage $19240 $16K – $49K 120 0.09%
MI Lansing – East Lansing $34420 $23K – $52K 50 0.02%
MI Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills (Metro Area) $35460 $27K – $47K 100 0.01%
MN Duluth $40200 $28K – $55K 60 0.05%
MN Minneapolis – St. Paul – Bloomington $37680 $26K – $61K 490 0.03%
MO Columbia $31310 $22K – $60K 110 0.13%
MO Kansas City $35740 $26K – $55K 320 0.03%
MO St. Louis $34220 $25K – $59K 140 0.01%
MT Missoula $31320 $22K – $52K 90 0.17%
NC Charlotte – Gastonia – Rock Hill $33420 $25K – $46K 40 0.01%
NC Durham – Chapel Hill $39740 $28K – $58K 570 0.21%
NC Greenville $30270 $23K – $51K 70 0.10%
NC Raleigh – Cary N/A N/A – N/A 240 0.05%
NC Rocky Mount $38450 $32K – $46K N/A N/A
ND Fargo $29910 $20K – $59K 90 0.07%
NE Lincoln $34460 $20K – $50K 130 0.08%
NE Omaha – Council Bluffs $36620 $26K – $70K 150 0.03%
NH Rochester – Dover $42400 $32K – $58K 40 0.07%
NJ Camden (Metro Area) $38780 $31K – $61K 90 0.02%
NJ Edison – New Brunswick (Metro Area) $48260 $33K – $74K 1280 0.13%
NJ Newark – Union (Metro Area) $44,450 $28K – $70K 460 0.05%
NJ Trenton – Ewing $57,000 $33K – $87K N/A N/A
NM Albuquerque $33,150 $25K – $47K 150 0.04%
NV Las Vegas – Paradise $38,790 $31K – $83K 80 0.01%
NV Reno – Sparks $34,540 $26K – $55K N/A N/A
NY Albany – Schenectady – Troy $43,200 $35K – $49K 860 0.20%
NY Ithaca $36,830 $31K – $55K 70 0.14%
NY Nassau – Suffolk (Metro Area) $36,550 $23K – $62K 260 0.02%
NY New York – White Plains – Wayne (Metro Area) $44,510 $30K – $59K 1,220 0.02%
NY Poughkeepsie – Newburgh – Middletown $41,730 $28K – $59K 70 0.03%
NY Rochester $38,710 $23K – $54K 80 0.02%
NY Syracuse $29,580 $22K – $38K N/A N/A
OH Akron $32,640 $26K – $45K 30 0.01%
OH Cincinnati – Middletown $40,470 $25K – $65K 1,130 0.12%
OH Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor $34,180 $26K – $48K 410 0.04%
OH Columbus $34,360 $26K – $53K 810 0.09%
OH Dayton $34,800 $20K – $56K 100 0.03%
OH Toledo $31,230 $25K – $46K 110 0.04%
OK Oklahoma City $33,860 $22K – $49K 910 0.16%
OR Bend $35,390 $31K – $46K N/A N/A
OR Corvallis $34,910 $25K – $54K 360 1.07%
OR Eugene – Springfield $35,500 $28K – $57K 180 0.13%
OR Medford $35,550 $29K – $46K 70 0.10%
OR Portland – Vancouver – Hillsboro $39,910 $28K – $61K 1,010 0.10%
PA Allentown – Bethlehem – Easton $35,380 $27K – $48K 60 0.02%
PA Harrisburg – Carlisle $28,430 $25K – $67K N/A N/A
PA Philadelphia (Metro Area) $48,740 $33K – $71K 2,080 0.11%
PA Pittsburgh $36,810 $23K – $57K 1,380 0.12%
PA Reading $34,510 $25K – $59K 50 0.03%
PA Scranton – Wilkes – Barre $37,920 $21K – $59K 80 0.03%
PA State College $44,190 $24K – $64K 30 0.05%
PR San Juan – Caguas – Guaynabo $31,320 $22K – $45K 220 0.03%
RI Providence – Fall River – Warwick $35,940 $23K – $63K 150 0.03%
SC Charleston – North Charleston – Summerville $40,390 $25K – $66K 200 0.07%
SC Columbia $35,610 $25K – $62K 40 0.01%
SC Greenville – Mauldin – Easley $41,860 $29K – $56K 120 0.04%
SD Sioux Falls $31,770 $24K – $45K 50 0.04%
TN Chattanooga $34,490 $22K – $43K N/A N/A
TN Cleveland $35,050 $32K – $38K N/A N/A
TN Johnson City $30,810 $23K – $45K 90 0.11%
TN Knoxville $35,560 $23K – $61K 70 0.02%
TN Memphis $35,360 $26K – $56K 240 0.04%
TN Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin $33,390 $25K – $62K 280 0.04%
TX Amarillo $40,240 $25K – $48K 120 0.11%
TX Austin – Round Rock – San Marcos $46,810 $27K – $102K 230 0.03%
TX College Station – Bryan $26,840 $20K – $52K 120 0.13%
TX Dallas – Plano – Irving (Metro Area) $42,010 $27K – $59K 190 0.01%
TX Fort Worth – Arlington (Metro Area) $33,850 $25K – $51K 240 0.03%
TX Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown $37,210 $26K – $56K 1,750 0.07%
TX Killeen – Temple – Fort Hood $39,060 $25K – $59K 50 0.04%
TX Lubbock $22,860 $20K – $54K 140 0.11%
TX McAllen – Edinburg – Mission $31,310 $25K – $52K 80 0.04%
TX San Antonio – New Braunfels $35,500 $25K – $57K 260 0.03%
TX Waco $35,260 $27K – $45K N/A N/A
UT Logan $29,320 $20K – $48K 80 0.16%
UT Salt Lake City $27,990 $21K – $50K N/A N/A
VA Blacksburg – Christiansburg – Radford $37,500 $31K – $65K 50 0.07%
VA Charlottesville $51,280 $38K – $70K 140 0.15%
VA Richmond $35,360 $31K – $55K 300 0.05%
VA Roanoke $25,220 $21K – $39K N/A N/A
VA Virginia Beach – Norfolk – Newport News $35,110 $25K – $54K 140 0.02%
VT Burlington – South Burlington $37,330 $22K – $62K 60 0.05%
WA Bremerton – Silverdale $44,430 $33K – $60K 40 0.05%
WA Mount Vernon – Anacortes $33,420 $23K – $43K 50 0.11%
WA Olympia $36,910 $28K – $49K 90 0.10%
WA Seattle – Bellevue – Everett (Metro Area) $43,220 $30K – $62K 1,980 0.14%
WA Spokane $40,950 $31K – $58K 80 0.04%
WA Tacoma (Metro Area) $36,900 $31K – $47K 80 0.03%
WA Wenatchee – East Wenatchee $31,320 $25K – $56K 90 0.22%
WA Yakima $38,410 $23K – $62K 50 0.06%
WI Green Bay $24,930 $21K – $44K 40 0.02%
WI Madison $37,680 $27K – $56K 1,020 0.30%
WI Milwaukee – Waukesha – West Allis $44,940 $29K – $60K 170 0.02%
WV Huntington – Ashland $39,890 $27K – $63K N/A N/A

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