Research technicians assist senior scientists in conducting field or laboratory tests. Their main duty involves setting up the equipment and documenting observations during the tests. Their services are often required by hospitals, colleges and universities, and independent research centers. Research technicians are also called as science technicians.
Duties of research technician
Research technicians support head researchers in performing experiments, documenting observations and assessing data. They can provide their assistance in different fields, such as chemistry, biology, sociology, ecology, veterinary studies, and agriculture, among others.
In the laboratory, research technicians manage the lab. This means they are responsible for monitoring the inventory of the necessary supplies and ordering more when it reaches a critical point and conducting experiments under the supervision of senior researchers. There are cases when they might lead a team of researchers.
Depending on the goal of the experiment, it could be conducted in different settings, such as the sea or any body of water, the forest, or another country with another culture.
The goal of the research largely depends on the knowledge on a specific subject or to find a solution to a specific problem. A biological research technician helps conduct experiments, from microscopic organisms to large animals. An ecology research technician assists in experiments involving soil, plants, or bodies of water. A medical research technician helps in experiments that aim to find new treatments and ways to improve the lives of people around the world. A sociology research technician is often exposed to experiments involving social groups, social problems, and societal structures. An agricultural research technician is responsible for setting up and operating sprayers and cultivators, preparing the site for the experiments, and recording data. An environmental research technician assists in gathering data regarding the weather or testing air quality for a later assessment. A nuclear research technician sets up and operates nuclear instruments, such as spectrometers and accelerators.
Research Technician Requirements
Research technicians must have an aptitude for math and science. They must also be comfortable with mechanical things since their work usually involves handling various types of equipment. Their work also exposed them to a lot of data and numbers, so they must have great attention to detail. Research technicians should also be computer literate, since research these days usually require the use of computers. Good communication skills in both oral and written aspects are helpful in dealing with bosses and co-workers.
Those who aspire to become research technicians should take math and science classes in high school. They do not have to obtain specific certificates or licenses and employers have different degree requirements. There are positions that only require a two-year postsecondary training or an associate’s degree, while others require a bachelor’s degree in any field of science. They are usually required to complete on-the-job training.
Online Research Technician Programs
There are online degree programs that permit students to finish their coursework at their own pace, depending on their schedule. Laboratory sections may be completed online, with the help of lab simulation and videos. However, most of these programs still require the presence of their students in on-campus meetings.
Career path of research technicians
Research technicians may first work as research assistants for about a year or less. After gaining experience, they can participate in long-term experiments or researches and reach senior positions, where they might be allowed to manage people and budget. If you are interested in research technician salary feel free to visit research tech salary outlook.