Biotechnology Technician
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II. Job Requirements/Prerequisites:

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Occupation Overview

The Bay Area is the world center of biotechnology education and industry. The industry applies new biological technology to improve the health of humans and animals, agriculture, and the environment in a number of ways. For example, developing devices to test for various diseases, drugs to treat illnesses, methods for raising and breeding farm animals more efficiently and cost effectively, and adding genes to crops to increase protection from insects.

Biotechnology products take many years to develop (10-20 is not uncommon). It is not until this development by scientists is complete that manufacturing begins and opportunities for technicians arise. We are now at the point where many products are nearing the completion of the development phase and are ready for production and manufacturing. Many opportunities for

Biotechnology Technicians are available, and this field has been only mildly affected by the year 2001 downturn in the economy. Educational programs in biotechnology and biomanufacturing can prepare individuals for entering this field. Many biotech employers are startups or smaller companies compared to computer-related firms, which tend to be larger on average.

A related field, called bioinformatics is beginning to emerge. It is the result of merging biotechnology and information technology. Since the Bay Area already has a high concentration of both of these fields, it is likely to become the hot spot in the country for bioinformatics, and training programs are beginning to emerge.


Future Growth Opportunities

Opportunities for Advancement:
A BS Degree is often required for advancement. Some employers are also likely to value experience as much as degrees and are also apt to pay tuition for their employees wishing to earn advanced degrees. This can lead to positions such as Research Associates, Biochemical Engineers, Biologists, Chemists, Genetic Engineers and Medical Technicians.

Skills Transferable to:
Lab Assistant or Biotechnology Technician in a different company or industry including pharmaceutical, chemical, environmental, and medicine.


Job Descriptions

Traditionally, biotechnology job positions have been defined in very narrow terms (e.g., Calibration Technician, Assay Analyst, Data Entry Clerk, and Animal Handler). The Biotechnology Technician of the future will have a broader range of skills, and be eligible for a wider range of jobs, such as Biotechnology Technician, Biotechnology Research Assistant, and Medical Laboratory Technician. Bioinformatics is an emerging field that combines biotechnology with information technology.

Entry Level: $6 - 20 / hour ($13 / hour average)
Biotechnology Technicians often work in laboratory settings, performing precise measurements. They might focus on maintaining and calibrating lab equipment, or on taking specific measurements from numerous samples of substances. They might operate equipment used to manufacture protein pharmaceutical products. This job requires detailed training on the procedures at the given facility. It is essential for the Technician to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Experienced: $7 - 37 / hour ($26 / hour average)
With 1-3 years of experience, an experienced technician can perform a broader range of tasks and follow standard operating procedures without supervision. They may also be responsible for training newer employees on basic procedures.

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