Career and Education Opportunities for Biological Sciences Technicians in Columbia, Maryland
Biological sciences technician career and educational opportunities abound in Columbia, Maryland. About 2,670 people are currently employed as biological sciences technicians in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow 13% to about 3,010 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for biological sciences technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 17.6% over the next eight years. In general, biological sciences technicians assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories.
A person working as a biological sciences technician can expect to earn about $18 per hour or $38,490 per year on average in Maryland and about $18 hourly or $38,400 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for biological sciences technicians are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Life Science Technical in Maryland and not quite as good as general Life Science Technical category earnings nationally. Biological sciences technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: research associate, biotechnologist, and environmental technician.
The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a biological sciences technician. Given that the most common education level for biological sciences technicians is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a biological sciences technician if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Biological Sciences Technician
In general, biological sciences technicians assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories. They also set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, and calculate and record results.
Biological sciences technicians clean, maintain and ready supplies and work areas. They also assemble and troubleshoot laboratory and field equipment. Equally important, biological sciences technicians have to keep detailed logs of all work-related efforts. Finally, biological sciences technicians use computers, computer-interfaced equipment, robotics or high-technology industrial applications to perform work duties.
Every day, biological sciences technicians are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.
It is important for biological sciences technicians to feed livestock or laboratory animals. They are often called upon to analyze experimental data and interpret results to write reports and summaries of findings. They also conduct research or help in the conduct of research, including the collection of data and samples. They are sometimes expected to measure or weigh compounds and solutions for use in testing or animal feed. Somewhat less frequently, biological sciences technicians are also expected to monitor laboratory work to insure adherence to set standards.
Biological sciences technicians sometimes are asked to use computers, computer-interfaced equipment, robotics or high-technology industrial applications to perform work duties. They also have to be able to examine animals and specimens to uncover the presence of disease or other problems and participate in the research or manufacturing of medicinal and pharmaceutical preparations. And finally, they sometimes have to conduct research or help in the conduct of research, including the collection of data and samples.
Like many other jobs, biological sciences technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:
- Agricultural Technician. Set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.
- Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.
- Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
- Forensic Investigator. Collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, or biochemistry.
- Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
- Forestry and Wildlife Manager. Compile data pertaining to size, content, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.
- Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
- Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Biological Sciences Technician Training
Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA
Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has an associate's degree program in Biology Technician/Biotechnology Laboratory Technician.
Montgomery College - Rockville, MD
Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Biology Technician/Biotechnology Laboratory Technician which graduated five and seven students respectively in 2008.
Medix South - Landover, MD
Medix South, 4351 Garden City Drive, Landover, MD 20785. Medix South is a small school located in Landover, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 243 students. Medix South has a one to two year program in Biology Technician/Biotechnology Laboratory Technician.
Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician: The technician certification designations of ALAT, LAT, and LATG are well known and widely used throughout the varied fields of laboratory animal care.
For more information, see the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science website.
Laboratory Animal Technician: The technician certification designations of ALAT, LAT, and LATG are well known and widely used throughout the varied fields of laboratory animal care.
For more information, see the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science website.
Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist: RELT -- Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist is a special registration/certification for persons engaged in the laboratory management and/or analysis of environmental samples.
For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland
Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.
The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.
The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.