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Biological Technologists and Technicians

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NOC:2221
Occupation:Biological Technologists and Technicians
Category:Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

About the job

Nature of work:

Biological technologists and technicians provide technical support and services to scientists, engineers and other professionals working in fields such as agriculture, resource management, environmental protection, plant and animal biology, microbiology, cell and molecular biology and health sciences, or may work independently in these fields. They are employed in both laboratory and field settings by governments, manufacturers of food products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, biotechnology companies, health, research and educational institutions, environmental consulting companies, and resource and utilities companies.

Job duties:
Biological technologists perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Set up and conduct biological, microbiological and biochemical tests and laboratory analyses in support of research and quality control in food production, sanitation, pharmaceutical production, biotechnology and other fields.
  • Apply methods and techniques such as microscopy, histochemistry, chromatography, electrophoresis and spectroscopy.
  • Perform experimental procedures in agriculture, plant breeding, animal husbandry, biology and biomedical research.
  • Conduct field research and surveys to collect data and samples of water, soil, and plant and animal populations.
  • Conduct environmental monitoring and compliance activities for the protection of fisheries stock, wildlife and other natural resources.
  • Analyze data and prepare reports.
  • Conduct or supervise operational programs such as fish hatchery, greenhouse and livestock production programs.
Biological technicians perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Assist in conducting biological, microbiological and biochemical tests and laboratory analyses.
  • Perform limited range of technical functions in support of agriculture, plant breeding, animal husbandry, biology, biomedical research and environmental protection.
  • Assist in conducting field research and surveys to collect data and samples of water, soil, and plant and animal populations.
  • Assist in analysis of data and preparation of reports.
Sample job titles:
  • agricultural technician
  • aquaculture technician
  • biotechnology technician
  • crop production technician
  • ecological technologist
  • fisheries technologist
  • food bacteriological technologist
  • marine biology technician
  • plant breeding technician
  • wildlife biology technician
Skills:

For these jobs, you should enjoy technical work and have an interest in science. A high degree of manual dexterity and mechanical ability may be necessary. You must be precise and analytical, and able to work alone or as part of a team. Good oral and written communication skills are important. Familiarity with computers is also required for some positions. Physical stamina may be needed for fieldwork.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of a two- to three-year college program in a field related to agriculture, biology, microbiology, wildlife or resource management is usually required for employment as a biological technologist.
  • Completion of a one- to two-year college program in a related field is required for employment as a biological technician.
  • Certification with provincial associations is available, but voluntary.
Other considerations:

Resource conservation and environmental concerns may help to generate job opportunities for people in these jobs. People in these jobs usually work regular hours; however, irregular hours may be required to follow through on an experiment or fieldwork. There is limited mobility among jobs in this group. Some technologists and technicians working in support of government and academic research in biology are university graduates.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. However, competition for positions may be low due to few qualified jobseekers. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Biological Technologists and Technicians most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 50% of Biological Technologists and Technicians who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $52,392. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Biological Technologists and Technicians335Strong growth60Moderate
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $22.05
Maximum: $35.12
Minimum: $9,521
Median: $47,205
Maximum: $72,753
Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology25,875Strong growth3,095Low
Minimum: $17.69
Median: $31.35
Maximum: $47.18
Minimum: $13,568
Median: $60,422
Maximum: $107,009
Biological Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
Percent employed full-time89%94%
Percent self-employed0%7%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentBiological Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern11%x12%$30,581
Northern21%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton9%x13%$32,974
Halifax29%$57,10047%$41,209
Annapolis Valley28%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeBiological Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
15-2410%x
25-3417%14%
35-4421%33%
45-5425%32%
55-6421%18%
65+4%4%
Median Age4443
GenderBiological Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
Female47%20%
Male53%80%
EducationBiological Technologists and TechniciansCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx0.7%$28,107
High school13.9%$21,15512.1%$35,125
Trades certificate11.1%$21,8046.8%$54,923
College certificate or diploma27.8%$56,18933.7%$52,476
University certificate or diplomax$39,7163.7%$52,446
Bachelor's degree31.9%$48,32829.7%$58,011
University advanced certificate or diplomaxx2.0%$54,917
Master's degreex$48,0829.7%$37,706
Doctorate12.5%x1.7%$65,565
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.1%$57,566
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency - Atlantic
1992 Agency Drive
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1Y9
Tel: (902) 536-1091
Fax: (902) 536-1098
Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
PO Box 698
Halifax, NS B3J 2T9
Tel: (902) 424-5935
Fax: (902) 424-7735
Agricultural Institute of Canada
Suite 320, 176 Gloucester Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 0A6
Tel: (613) 232-9459
Fax: (613) 594-5190
office@aic.ca
Canadian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology
17 Dossetter Way
Ottawa, ON K1G 4S3
Tel: (613) 421-7229
Fax: (613) 421-9811
Contact@csbmcb.ca

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Agricultural business technology
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to perform specialized support functions related to agricultural business offices and operations and to operate agricultural office equipment, software, and information systems. These programs include courses in basic agricultural business principles, office management, equipment operation, standard software, and database management.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Agriculture - General
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the general principles and practice of agricultural research and production and that prepares individuals to apply this knowledge to the solution of practical agricultural problems. These programs include courses in basic animal, plant, and soil science; animal husbandry and plant cultivation; soil conservation; and agricultural operations such as farming, ranching, and agricultural business.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Animal sciences - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the scientific principles that underlie the breeding and husbandry of agricultural animals, and the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural animal products. These programs include courses in the animal sciences, animal husbandry and production, and agricultural and food products processing.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Biochemistry
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of the chemistry of living systems, their fundamental chemical substances and reactions, and their chemical pathways and information transfer systems, with particular reference to carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. These programs include courses in bio-organic chemistry, protein chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, bioseparations, regulatory biochemistry, enzymology, hormonal chemistry, calorimetry, and research methods and equipment operation.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
admissions@ukings.ca
Program Name:Biology/biological sciences - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any general program of biology at the introductory, basic level or a program in biology or the biological sciences that is undifferentiated as to title or content. These programs include courses in general biology and programs covering a variety of biological specializations.
See all institutions providing this program+
Acadia University
15 University Avenue
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
(902) 542-2201
agi@acadiau.ca
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
admissions@ukings.ca
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117
admissions@msvu.ca
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
admit@stfx.ca
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
admission.status@smu.ca
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
registrar@cbu.ca
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture
PO Box 550
Truro, NS B2N 5E3
(902) 893-6600
enrolment.services@dal.ca
Program Name:Environmental engineering technology/environmental technology
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of engineers and other professionals engaged in developing and using indoor and outdoor environmental pollution control systems. These programs include courses in environmental safety principles, testing and sampling procedures, laboratory techniques, instrumentation calibration, safety and protection procedures, equipment maintenance, and report preparation.
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Maritime Environmental Training Institute
301 Alexandra Street
Sydney, NS B1S 2E8
(902) 539-9766
training@metiatlantic.com
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
waterfront.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Environmental studies
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on environment-related issues using scientific, social scientific, and/or humanistic approaches. These programs include courses in the basic principles of ecology and environmental science and related subjects such as policy, politics, law, economics, social aspects, planning, pollution control, natural resources, and the interactions of human beings and nature.
See all institutions providing this program+
Acadia University
15 University Avenue
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
(902) 542-2201
agi@acadiau.ca
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
admissions@ukings.ca
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
admission.status@smu.ca
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
registrar@cbu.ca
Program Name:Forensic science and technology
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of the physical, biomedical, and social sciences to the analysis and evaluation of physical evidence, human testimony and criminal suspects. These programs include courses in forensic medicine, forensic dentistry, anthropology, psychology, pathology, forensic laboratory technology, crime scene analysis, fingerprint technology, document analysis, pattern analysis, examination procedures, applicable laws and regulations, and professional standards and ethics.
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Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
admission.status@smu.ca
Program Name:Microbiology - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the scientific study of unicellular organisms and colonies, and subcellular genetic matter and their ecological interactions with human beings and other life. These programs include courses in microbial genetics, cell biology, cell physiology, virology, pathogenic microbiology, environmental microbiology, immunology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, and laboratory methods including microscopy.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
admissions@ukings.ca
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.