Science Technician Career Information and Education Requirements
Science technicians may work in a number of different science fields, such as animal, forensic, food, chemical and biological. Science technicians utilize the theories and principles of science to solve problems, and their daily duties include setting up and monitoring experiments, recording observations, calculating results and explaining conclusions of research.
Career Information for Science Technicians
Science technicians work alongside scientists in their chosen field of interest, including agricultural, environmental, geological and nuclear science. Their responsibilities involve taking care of the lab equipment and experiments and making notes and adjustments as necessary. Science technicians generally work regular hours in laboratories, although some may work outside if their specialty calls for it. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 12% job growth for science technicians between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). Science technicians held 270,800 jobs in 2008, as reported by the BLS.
Just as the disciplines of science technicians vary, so do their wages. According to the BLS, nuclear technicians earn more on average than the rest of science technicians, and forest technicians earn the least. Salary also depends more on the level of experience an individual has rather than their education. Science technicians usually start out as trainees and work their way up to supervisor. Employment can be found in private, public and non-profit sectors.
The majority of science technicians are required to complete an associate's degree program in science technology or an applied science for entry-level positions. A bachelor's degree is needed for forensic science and biological technicians. Some lab experience is helpful, and individuals can obtain this as part of their degree program or through volunteer work. Science technicians may occasionally gain all of their training on the job without any formal education past high school, but these opportunities are rare and limited.
Community colleges and technical institutes offer 1-2 year programs in science technologies, and colleges and universities provide applied sciences concentrations. Regardless of the scientific field of interest, taking a variety of math courses is a good idea for any future science technician. Written and oral communication, computer proficiency, analytical thinking, organization and teamwork are beneficial skills for science technicians to have.
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