In Summary - Biology Laboratory Technician
Biology Laboratory Technicians typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Biology Laboratory Technician
Biology laboratory (lab) technicians help scientists to develop new processes and products, do experiments, or analyse and test biological samples by preparing specimens and manual tests in accordance with detailed instructions.
Biology lab technicians look after the day-to-day running of the laboratory. They clean, sterilise and repair equipment such as test tubes. They monitor stock, sometimes using computers, and order replacements when necessary.
Technicians are involved in a wide variety of biological tasks and investigations. In pharmaceutical companies, they may examine how a disease develops and spreads, and help scientists to test the strength and possible side effects of a new drug.
Some technicians work in education laboratories, helping teachers and students by maintaining equipment, and setting up and clearing away experiments.
In the food industry technicians may test food safety, check for harmful micro-organisms, or control the helpful micro-organisms used to make products like bread, yogurt, cheese and wine.
In forensic science technicians prepare samples from body fluids like blood and saliva.
Biological lab technicians monitor samples from plants and animals, including bacterial and tissue cultures. They may look after laboratory animals, or help to breed animals especially for research.
Most commonly reported Work 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.
Most commonly reported 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.
Interests - Biology Laboratory Technician
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a biology laboratory technician, you must be thorough, methodical and accurate in setting up and carrying out experiments. You must be able to record test results, and write technical reports. Good teamwork skills are very important, because technicians work closely with researchers, scientists, or teachers. You must be prepared to learn to use complicated equipment and computers.
Technicians are often trained in the workplace, so you must be willing to learn and develop new knowledge and skills. Health and safety is a high priority, and you must keep to procedures, accept health checks and use protective clothing and equipment when needed.
Entry Requirements - Biology Laboratory Technician
Pay & Salary - Biology Laboratory Technician
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 34k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.