Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. It is important for prospective biological technicians to gain laboratory experience while they are in school.
Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. Most colleges and universities offer bachelor's degree programs in biological science.
Biological science programs usually include courses in general biology, as well as in specific subfields such as ecology, microbiology, and molecular biology. In addition to taking courses in biology, students must study chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Computer science courses are helpful for modeling and simulating biological processes and for operating some laboratory equipment.
It is important for students to gain laboratory experience before entering the workforce. Students should take biology courses that emphasize laboratory work. They often can also gain laboratory experience through summer internships with prospective employers, such as pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers.
Analytical skills. Biological technicians need to able to conduct scientific experiments and analyses with accuracy and precision.
Critical-thinking skills. Biological technicians draw conclusions from experimental results through sound reasoning and judgment.
Listening skills. Biological technicians must carefully follow the instructions of biochemists, microbiologists, and other scientists when carrying out experiments and analyses.
Observation skills. Biological technicians must constantly monitor their experiments. They need to keep a complete, accurate record of their work, such as the conditions under which the experiment was carried out, the procedures they followed, and the results they obtained.
Teamwork. Biological technicians work together on teams under the direction of biologists or other scientists.
Technical skills. Biological technicians must be able to set up and operate sophisticated equipment and instruments. They also may need to adjust equipment to ensure that experiments are conducted properly.
Writing skills. Biological technicians must write reports that summarize their findings and results clearly.
Biological technicians may be able to advance to scientist positions, such as microbiologist, after a few years of experience working as a technician or after earning a graduate degree.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition