Modern science laboratories are full of complicated equipment that requires a great deal of training to use. Biological lab technicians are college-educated professionals who have been trained in the use of the latest scientific equipment and testing procedures. Lab technicians perform tests to analyze blood, tissue and food samples in hospitals and in academic and private industry labs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 14 percent growth in the number of jobs for biological lab technicians between 2010 and 2020.
Complete a bachelor's degree program in biology, biochemistry or another laboratory science. Take as many classes with labs as possible, and develop a familiarity with the use of various lab equipment and related software suites.
Apply for lab internships or work-study programs at hospitals or pharmaceutical companies after your junior year. Even just a few months of professional experience can give you a big leg up in your search for your first lab tech position.
Undertake a comprehensive job search for biological lab technician positions in your area. Hospitals, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and local, state and federal government agencies all hire lab technicians. Check online job boards every few days for new job postings, and make sure to take full advantage of the professional network you have built up.
Earn an American Society for Clinical Pathology technologist/scientist certification after you have been employed as a lab tech for at least a year. You must have an undergraduate degree in the appropriate field and one year of professional experience to sit for an exam. The ASCP Board of Certification offers nine different technologist/scientist certifications, including microbiology and molecular biology.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Biological Technician
- O-Net Online: Summary Report for: 19-4021.00 - Biological Technicians
- American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification: U.S. Certification -- Eligibility
- American Institute of Biological Sciences: Careers in the Biological Sciences
- Develop your professional network in school by getting to know the faculty and attending extracurricular events such as guest lectures and departmental picnics or potlucks. An internship is also an excellent opportunity to develop your network.
Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.