How to Become a Biological Technologist


If you’re interested in biology, you like carrying out detailed experiments and you like working with your hands, you may be well suited for a career as a biological technologist.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to get into this field. We've also included helpful information for a biological technologist career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Biological Technologist

In order to get a job as a biological technologist (also known as a Biological Technician), applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field, such as botany.


Within the biology or botany degree, taking courses in fields such as mathematics and computer science can be of great benefit to aspiring biological technologists. These courses will be helpful for future biological technologist career applications, such as modeling and simulating biological processes.


Having experience with laboratory processes and equipment (such as automated cell counters, robotic laboratory equipment, fluorometers, microscopes, scales and polymerase chain reaction PCR equipment) is extremely important to many employers within the field of biology.


In fact, many employers won’t even call you in for an interview without it. Luckily, there are many opportunities within biology degree programs to gain laboratory experience through regular coursework, as well as lab-specific coursework.


To gain further experience, it is beneficial to work in research labs on campus. This is an excellent opportunity to work directly with professors and other faculty members, and may lead to additional course credit.


Tip for Success: Working directly with biology professors and faculty members is a great way to network!





General Job Description

Biological technologists and technicians perform analysis and technical duties in laboratory and field settings. They provide technical assistance for scientists working in such fields as environmental science, resource management, plant and animal biology, biochemistry, health sciences and agriculture.



Typical Job Duties

• Supervise junior staff, students and interns

• Collect industry specific information, such as information related to land use and reclamation

• Maintain laboratory and field equipment

• Prepare progress reports on for scientists

• Conduct plant and animal inventory surveys to gather information on plant and animal distribution and abundance

• Supervise operational programs such as fish hatcheries, or greenhouse or livestock production programs

• Conduct biological, microbiological, chemical and biochemical tests



How to Get a Job in This Field

Now that you've acquired an education, laboratory skills and research career experience, you're a shoe-in! The last thing you have to do is nail the interview...but with whom? Your last step to becoming a biological technologist is to make a list of possible employers and suitable positions, and start handing out resumes.


Do your research and figure out which companies are hiring for biological technologist and related positions; these employers will be in a variety of sectors.



Types of Organizations that Employ Biological Technologists

Your best bet of landing a job as a biological technologist is to approach employers in your area within the following categories. Call them directly and ask to speak to the hiring manager, as getting the attention of the decision maker can be your best chance to gain employment opportunities, even if they're not posted!


• Food processing and manufacturing companies

• Pharmaceutical companies

• Oil and gas companies

• Chemical producers and distributors

• Agricultural firms

• Research and development facilities

• Biological and environmental consulting firms

• Federal and provincial/state government departments (especially those that dealing with parks, fish and wildlife, agriculture and public lands

• Forensic laboratories

• Universities and colleges

• Research laboratories


Gaining Career Experience as a Student

Landing an internship opportunity, working with professors and other faculty on research projects, or getting a summer job in biology career fields are all great ways to out experience on your resume. Speak to your school's career services office, as well as your Biology professors and other faculty, in order to learn about any available positions.





Career Advancement Possibilities

With a few years of experience working as a technologist or after earning a masters or doctorate degree, biological technicians may be able to advance to scientist positions, such as 'Biologist'.


Biological technologists can also earn professional certifications, such as those offered by the Soil Science Society of America. These certifications demonstrate their professional skills and competencies, as well as their commitment to their profession.


To earn certifications, candidates may need to have completed education and work experience requirements, as well as pass a qualifying exam.



Similar Career Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to 'biological technologist', as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Botanical Field Technician

Environmental Technician

Forest Technician

Laboratory Manager



Average Salary Level

The salary level for biological technologists can vary, depending on the following factors:


• Their level of education

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• The size and type of their employer

• The region in which they work


Salary - Canada (Alberta figures only): According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans, working in the Biological Technologists and Technicians occupational group earn an average $71,632 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (June 15, 2019).


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Biological Technicians occupational group is $39,750 per year.



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has biological technologist postings in your area of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




References for This Career Guide

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this profession.


Occupations in Alberta:Biological Technician.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 27, 2019.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Biological Technicians.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 27, 2019.

Career Profiles:Biological Technician.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved October 27, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Biological Technologist

Scholarships in our database for majors that are relevant for this field can be found on our Biology Scholarships and Environmental Science Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming a biological technologist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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