Career Definition of a Bioinformatics Technician
Bioinformatics technicians use sophisticated computer programs to gather, analyze, and track data about biological functions or characteristics in order to gain a better understanding of complex biological activities. They may study DNA or the properties and characteristics of cells. Bioinformatics technicians complete statistical analyses and can prepare reports on their findings.
|Education||Associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degree|
|Job Skills||Strong math and science background, computer programming and database management skills, organizational and detail-oriented abilities|
|Median Salary (2015)||$42,700* (for statistical assistants)|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)||-2%** (for statistical assistants)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine
Entry-level jobs in bioinformatics technology often require a 2-year or 4-year degree, but advanced positions are usually only available to those with a master's degree or doctorate, which can take up to four additional years to obtain. Students interested in bioinformatics technology should take classes in subjects such as computer science, advanced mathematics, statistics, physiology, genetics, chemistry, biology, and microbiology. Graduate programs in bioinformatics may include courses in computational biology and genomics.
Bioinformatics technicians must have strong math and science backgrounds, and they need to possess advanced computer skills, including software programming and database management skills. The ability to use statistical software programs and interactive websites to retrieve data is essential. Technicians should also be organized, detail-oriented, and capable of collecting and analyzing large amounts of data.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes bioinformatics technicians as part of the category of statistical assistants. These workers had a median annual salary of $42,700 in May 2015, according to the BLS. Bioinformatics technicians are employed by research labs, pharmaceutical companies, crime labs, hospitals, and clinics, to name a few. O*NET OnLine projects that the number of jobs for statistical assistants will decrease 2% from 2014-2024.
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Alternate Career Options
Similar careers to a bioinformatics technician include:
Bioinformatics scientists gather and analyze information for use in clinical and research activities related to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and related projects. Bioinformatics scientists talk to researchers to identify the research problem and develop analytical processes that can be applied to collected data sets. They also report on the findings of their research.
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