Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.
Biological technicians typically do the following:
Set up, maintain, and clean laboratory instruments and equipment, such as microscopes, scales, and test tubes
Gather and prepare biological samples, such as blood, food, and bacteria cultures, for laboratory analysis
Conduct biological tests and experiments
Document their work, including procedures, observations, and results
Analyze experimental data and interpret results
Write reports that summarize their findings
Most biological technicians work on teams. Biological technicians typically are responsible for doing scientific tests, experiments, and analyses under the supervision of biologists or other scientists who direct and evaluate their work. Biological technicians use traditional laboratory instruments, advanced robotics, and automated equipment to conduct experiments. They use specialized computer software to collect, analyze, and model experimental data. Some biological technicians collect samples in the field, so they may need certain skills, such as the ability to hike long distances over sometimes rugged terrain to collect water samples.
Biological technicians work in many research areas. They may assist medical researchers by helping to develop new medicines and treatments used to prevent, treat, or cure diseases.
Biological technicians working in a microbiological context, sometimes referred to as laboratory assistants, typically study living microbes and perform techniques specific to microbiology, such as growing cultures in petri dishes or staining specimens to aid in their identification.
Technicians working in biotechnology apply the knowledge and techniques they have gained from basic research to product development.
Biological technicians also may work in private industry and assist in the study of a wide range of topics concerning mining and industrial production. They may test samples in environmental impact studies, or monitor production processes to help ensure that products are not contaminated.
Biological technicians working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other government agencies may perform biological testing to support agricultural research and wildlife and resource management goals.