What does a science technician do?
Science technicians perform a variety of tasks to solve problems and assist in the development and improvement of processes and products. They install, control, and maintain laboratory equipment, monitor experiments, note their observations, assess and record results, and develop conclusions. Some science technicians perform production work and they observe the processes of manufacturing and assess the quality by checking products for the right ingredient proportions. They also check for durability and strength. Science technicians play a vital role in research and development and are often involved in developing and modifying laboratory methods to attain the best possible results, explain data, and create solutions to problems. They are responsible for maintaining detailed records of their activities.
What kind of training does a science technician need?
Science technicians need at least a high school diploma, but most have a certificate or associate degree in applied science or related field. Formal training programs usually combine classroom instruction and hands-on experience that focus on scientific principles and theories and laboratory experiments. Students gain a solid background in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Some aspiring science technicians complete internships or hold part time jobs during their training to gain practical experience. Most employers provide intensive on the job training for new science technicians where they start out performing simple tasks and move on to more complex duties as they gain experience. Science technicians must stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a science technician?
Employment of science technicians is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 12% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The ongoing growth of scientific and medical research will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be good. Science technicians that have graduated from applied science technology programs and have advanced training will have the best job opportunities. Many job openings will also arise from the need to replace science technicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do science technicians make?
As of November 2009, the average annual salary for science technicians is $36,000; average annual science technician salaries vary greatly on location, company, industry, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a science technician is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in science and mathematics and using their concepts to solve problems. Science technicians must have a solid understanding of science and mathematics and strong technical skills. Detail-orientation, organization, mechanical aptitude, and analytical thinking are essential characteristics. Science technicians must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be able to effectively work as part of a team.