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Biological Treatment Technician: Job Description & Career Requirements

Biological treatment technicians assist scientists with medical and pharmaceutical research that can help to improve the body's immune system and treat AIDS, asthma, cancer or other diseases. Read about what types of degree programs can help you prepare for this position, and find information about career and salary prospects for biological treatment specialists here.

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Career Definition for Biological Treatment Technicians

Biological treatment technicians conduct research and perform lab tests on living organisms, organic substances and genetic materials. Some technicians may also analyze test results, form conclusions and report findings to lab personnel during meetings or through written reports. They may also set up and maintain lab equipment used in experiments, mix testing solutions, order supplies and ensure lab safety by monitoring procedures related to chemical and radiation usage. Biological treatment technicians often work for scientific and medical research firms, pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions and government agencies throughout the United States.

Education Bachelor's degree in a laboratory science, or associate's degree in laboratory science or medical laboratory technology; may require Medical Laboratory Technician certification
Job Skills Detail-oriented, analytical, problem-solver, organized, work as a team and independently, good communication, computer literacy, and knowledge of laboratory techniques
Median Salary (2018)* $44,500 (all biological technicians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 10% (all biological technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Technicians working in biological therapies often have a bachelor's degree in a laboratory science, such as biology, molecular biology or biochemistry, or an associate degree in laboratory science or medical laboratory technology. Graduates who have obtained hands-on training through internships and summer jobs may have an advantage when entering the workforce. Some states and employers may also require a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) certification or license, which is offered by the American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB). The AAB offers MLT certification in several disciplines, including immunology (www.aab.org).

Skills Required

Biological treatment technicians must be analytical and detail-oriented with strong problem-solving and organizational abilities. They should also be able to work independently or as part of a team and possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Computer literacy is key, especially when working with spreadsheet and word processing programs. Biological treatment technicians should also have current knowledge of laboratory testing techniques, safety standards and regulatory requirements.

Career and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected a 10%, or faster than average, increase in jobs for biological technicians from 2016 to 2026. Job opportunities, responsibilities and salaries for technicians working in biological therapies are often commensurate with academic credentials and education. In May 2018, the BLS reported median annual earnings of $44,500 for biological technicians (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Careers that are similar to biological treatment technicians include:

Chemical Technicians

Chemical technicians conduct experiments, analyze the results and write reports that are used to develop new chemical products and practices. As members of teams, they usually work under the direction of chemical engineers or chemists, and areas of specialization can include laboratory or processing technology. Candidates with an associate degree in chemical technology or a related field receive on-the-job training. The BLS reports that opportunities for employment are expected to increase by a slower than average rate of 4% nationwide for chemical technicians from 2016-2026, who earned median annual salaries of $47,280 in May 2017 (www.bls.gov).

Forensic Science Technicians

Forensic science technicians help solve crimes by gathering and analyzing evidence for medical examiners, morgues and police departments. Crime scene and lab technicians usually have a 4-year degree in biology, chemistry or other natural science; on-the-job training is also provided. According to the BLS, forensic science technicians will see 17%, or much faster than average, growth in jobs from 2016-2026. As of May 2017, forensic technicians earned a median salary of $57,850 per year (www.bls.gov).

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