Research technicians assist scientists with their experiments and research. They primarily work in a lab environment, but may work in an office while analyzing basic data. The duties of a research technician working in the field of chemistry are different from a research technician working in the field of biological research. However, research technicians will usually be required to record test results, monitor experiments, use, clean and maintain equipment, care for lab animals, maintain supplies and prepare equipment for testing. Research technicians generally work as part of a team. Depending on the size of a project, they may report to the laboratory supervisors or the principal investigators (the lead scientists on projects). A great deal of a research technician's work will require on-the-job training. As such, they are usually assigned to a mentor who will train them and provide feedback.
To become a research technician, a bachelor’s degree in a major related to the research field is usually preferred. However, many employers (especially schools) will only require a high school diploma, and may hire college students. Regardless, candidates are typically required to have one to three years of laboratory or research experience. In addition, successful research technicians show initiative, are quick learners and are good at working independently. Finally, since the work of a research technicians is often quite repetitive, candidates who show exceptional passion for the work are generally preferred by most employers.
Research Technician Tasks
- Assist scientists with research and record findings in the field or lab.
- May assist with research analysis.
- Clean, sanitize, maintain, and operate lab equipment.