Biotech instrumentation and calibration professionals typically have an associate's degree in a related field, receive on-the-job training, or both. They work alongside engineers and scientists, and are responsible for maintaining equipment. They may also gather data and write reports about equipment, order parts or run tests, and must be able to use relevant tools or equipment.
Technicians who perform biotech instrumentation and calibration typically work in biotechnology research and manufacturing. Many two-year institutions offer associate's degree programs in relevant fields, such as biomedical engineering technology, that train students for this career. Salary is usually commensurate with experience.
|Required Education||Variable, depending on prior experience; on-the-job training or an associate's degree in instrumentation, metrology, electronics, biotechnology or biomedical engineering technology|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||6% (for medical equipment repairers)*|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)||$46,340 (for medical equipment repairers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Biotechnology instrumentation technicians typically work with engineers and scientists at pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions or industrial research facilities. They're responsible for keeping equipment, such as recording and measuring devices, properly calibrated and in good repair. Other responsibilities generally include collecting and analyzing data about equipment use, ordering parts, testing systems, writing technical reports and troubleshooting problems.
Technicians must have excellent communications, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Employers typically look for technicians who can interpret technical plans, blueprints and models. Biotech instrumentation technicians should also be proficient with computers and be able to effectively prioritize tasks. The ability to use hand and power tools might be required. Technicians use microscopes, flow meters and other specialized instruments, such as gas analyzers, oscilloscopes and mass balances.
An October 2014 search of available jobs on CareerBuilder.com showed that instrumentation electronics technicians needed an associate's degree in instrumentation, electronics or metrology. Several schools offer associate's degree programs in other relevant fields, such as biotechnology or biomedical engineering technology. Students in these programs might complete coursework in electric circuits, electronics, chemistry, robotics, bioinformatics and instrumentation. Some programs include an internship or practicum.
According to November 2016 statistics from Salary.com, the median salary for level one (entry-level) instrumentation and calibration technicians in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals was $37,032. Mid-level technicians with two to five years of experience made a median wage of $54,533. The median annual salary for senior-level technicians with at least five years of experience was $64,622. 'BLS.gov' reported in May 2015 that the mean annual wage of medical equipment repairers was $49,400.
Biotech instrumentation and calibration professionals may work in biotechnology research or manufacturing. This could include working for academic institutions, industrial research facilities, or for pharmaceutical companies. They are responsible for keeping measuring and recording instruments calibrated and functioning properly.