Career Detail

Science Technician
“I'm in the Lab”
Use the principles and theories of science and mathematics to solve problems in research and development and to monitor lab experiments.
Average Pay: $14 - $32/hr    Qualifications: Usually an Associates Degree
The Job
Technicians set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments, monitor experiments, make observations, calculate and record results, and often develop conclusions. They must keep detailed logs of all of their work. Those who perform production work monitor manufacturing processes and may ensure quality by testing products for proper proportions of ingredients, for purity, or for strength and durability. In addition to performing routine tasks, many technicians, under the direction of scientists, now develop and adapt laboratory procedures to achieve the best results, interpret data, and devise solutions to problems. Technicians must develop expert knowledge of laboratory equipment so that they can adjust settings when necessary and recognize when equipment is malfunctioning. Science technicians normally work in a specific fields like agriculture and food, biology, nuclear, chemistry and forensics.
Work Environment
Science technicians work under a wide variety of conditions. Most work indoors, usually in laboratories, and have regular hours. Some occasionally work irregular hours to monitor experiments.
College Majors
chemistry, biology, or forensic science
Minimum Qualifications
Many employers prefer applicants who have at least 2 years of specialized training or an associate degree in applied science or science-related technology. Because employers' preferences vary, however, some science technicians have a bachelor's degree.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Organizational ability, an eye for detail, and skill in interpreting scientific results
Quick Facts
  • Science technicians in production jobs can be employed on day, evening, or night shifts; other technicians work outdoors, sometimes in remote locations.
  • American Chemical Society, Education Division, Internet:
Compensation and Outlook
In March 2009, the average annual salary in the Federal Government was $39,538 for biological science technicians, $55,527 for physical science technicians, and $42,733 for forestry technicians.
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