Biological Technicians
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Assist biological and medical scientists. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, collect data and samples, make observations, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.
Titles for this career often contain these words
Only 45% of biological technicians have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by biological technicians
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More biological technicians have bachelor's degrees than 64% of other careeers.
Workforce size
Biological technicians, with 85,000 workers, form a larger workforce than 61% of careers.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for biological technicians are expected to grow by 7%, and should have about 9,800 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Biological technicians are less likely to be automated than 66% of other careers.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for biological technicians compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most biological technicians earn.
Women account for 49% of biological technicians -- that's a larger percentage than 60% of other jobs.
Gender of biological technicians
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For biological technicians, the median men's salary was 13% more the median woman's salary.
About 24% of biological technicians are minority, and 17% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of biological technicians
Pacific Islander
American Indian
Context: Foreign-born workers (17%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Biological Technicians per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of biological technicians who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Contaminants (43%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (38%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (36%)
Salary and diversity
What do biological technicians earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for biological technicians (BLS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for biological technicians (ACS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
Biological Technicians: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $46KAll jobs' median $45K$50K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire biological technicians.
Employers of Biological Technicians (ACS)
Private for-profit (72.5%)
Private not-for-profit (5.7%)
Local government (1.9%)
State government (8.6%)
Federal government (10.0%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.4%)
Self-employed not incorporated (1.0%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of biological technicians by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$48K$52K$42K$39K$34K$40K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000$120,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of biological technicians by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for biological technicians

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
Number employed

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Biological technicians and gender

With 49% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 60% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
Gender of Biological technicians
Men (51%)
Women (49%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for biological technicians, with the median salary for men 13% higher than the median salary for women.

Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men.


We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of biological technicians

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a higher percentage of minority biological technicians than for 65% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of biological technicians
White (72% )
Asian (11% )
Black (8% )
Other (4% )
Multiracial (3% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
Distribution: Salaries for biological technicians by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$31K$37K$47K$53K$67K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KPacific IslanderHispanicWhiteBlackAsian
Distribution: Salaries for biological technicians by nativity
$47K$62K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Biological technicians and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 12% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 49% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time biological technicians is shown following.

$11K$48K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by biological technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biological technicians typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as biological technicians as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for biological technicians

Biological technicians typically need a bachelor’s degree in biology or a closely related field. Most colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in the biological sciences. Some positions may be available to associate’s degree holders or those without a degree but who have biological laboratory experience.

Biological science programs usually include courses in general biology, as well as in specific subfields such as ecology, microbiology, and physiology. In addition to taking courses in biology, students must study chemistry, math, and physics. Computer science courses are helpful for learning how to model and simulate biological processes and for learning how to operate some laboratory equipment.

Laboratory experience is important for prospective biological technicians, so students should take biology courses that emphasize laboratory work.

Education attained by biological technicians
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for biological technicians? Below we see the distribution of biological technicians salaries based on the education attained.

$42K$45K$47K$50K$72K$83K$99K$0$50K$100K$150KHigh School (16%)Some College (21%)Associate's/Cert. (14%)Bachelor's Degree (33%)Master's Degree (7%)Professional Degree (2%)Doctorate (3%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click a program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Gender of graduates
Race/origin of graduates
College majors held by biological technicians

This table shows the college majors held by people working as biological technicians.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Biological technicians with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as biological technicians, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

PhysiciansPostsecondary TeachersSpecialized ManagersElementary and Middle Sch...DentistsRegistered NursesSpecialized Physical Scie...Specialized Life Scientis...Medical and Clinical Labo...PharmacistsBiological ScientistsSoftware DevelopersSpecialized Life, Physica...Medical and Health Servic...Chemists and materials sc...Surveyors, cartographers,...Conservation scientists a...Police OfficersFirst-Line Supervisors of...Project Management Specia...First-Line Supervisors of...Secondary School TeachersEnvironmental Scientists ...Management AnalystsacsOcc_565Geoscientists and Hydrolo...Lawyers, and judges, magi...Accountants and AuditorsFinancial ManagersWholesale and Manufacturi...Chief executives and legi...Labor Relations Specialis...First-Line Supervisors of...Customer Service Represen...Farmers, Ranchers, and Ot...Retail SalespersonsBiologySpecialized Program inBiologyBiochemical SciencesMolecular BiologyNatural ResourcesManagementChemistryMicrobiologyEnvironmental ScienceBusiness Management andAdministrationEcologyAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

About 45% of people working as biological technicians have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%5.0%10.0%15.0%20.0%25.0%30.0%Percentage with this major$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,000$60,000$70,000$80,000$90,000$100,000$110,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for biological technicians

What jobs will most biological technicians hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of biological technicians reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Biological TechniciansBiological ScientistsMedical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and TechniciansSpecialized production workers, including computer-controlled tooloperatorsSpecialized Life, Physical, and Social Science TechniciansInsurance Claims and Policy Processing ClerksFirst-Line Supervisors of Non-Retail Sales WorkersFirst-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating WorkersComputer ProgrammersSpecialized Physical ScientistsAccountants and AuditorsBiomedical and agricultural engineersChemists and materials scientistsSpecialized Life ScientistsFishing and Hunting WorkersFirst-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales WorkersAgricultural and Food Science Technicians
Lateral job transitions for biological technicians

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 8 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as biological technicians as well as 1% of respondents after working as biological technicians. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Prior and next careers for biological technicians: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as biological technicians? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of biological technicians surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most biological technicians? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as biological technicians. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
Number of Biological Technicians per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where biological technicians earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for biological technicians compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for biological technicians.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
Location-adjusted median salary for Biological Technicians (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which biological technicians earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?