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Career and Education Opportunities for Biological Sciences Technicians in Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for biological sciences technicians. The national trend for biological sciences technicians sees this job pool growing by about 17.6% over the next eight years. Biological sciences technicians generally assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories.

Income for biological sciences technicians is about $18 hourly or $39,110 yearly on average in Virginia. Nationally, their income is about $18 hourly or $38,400 annually. Earnings for biological sciences technicians are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Life Science Technical in Virginia and not quite as good as general Life Science Technical category earnings nationally. People working as biological sciences technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: scientific technican, aquatic scientist, and microbiology technician.

There are eighty-four schools of higher education in the Alexandria area, including three within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree to start your career as a biological sciences technician. The most common level of education for biological sciences technicians is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a biological sciences technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Biological Sciences Technician

Biological Sciences Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

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 Alexandria 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.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.