Biological Technologists and Technicians

(NOC 2221)

in All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Biological technologists and technicians provide technical support and services to scientists, engineers and other professionals working in 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 work in both laboratory and field settings for governments, manufacturers of food products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, biotechnology companies, health, research and educational institutions, environmental consulting companies, and resource and utilities companies.

Job Outlook

Limited

Read more

  • Estimate Decline slightly employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 5 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

  • Estimate 705 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 2585 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “limited”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is below average when compared with other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent and jobseekers may face competition. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline slightly over the next few years, which may affect the number of new opportunities available. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Biological Technologists and Technicians most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 47% 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)

Hourly Pay

$14.00

Minimum

$21.63

Median

$30.26

Maximum

Annual Pay

$9,521

Minimum

$47,205

Median

$72,753

Maximum

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Hourly Pay

$18.00

Minimum

$37.80

Median

$48.46

Maximum

Annual Pay

$13,568

Minimum

$60,422

Median

$107,009

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Biological technologists and technicians provide technical support and services to scientists, engineers and other professionals working in 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 work in both laboratory and field settings for 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:

  • Set up and run biological, microbiological, and biochemical tests and laboratory analyses to support research and quality control in food production, sanitation, pharmaceutical production, biotechnology, and other fields.
  • Apply methods and techniques like microscopy, histochemistry, chromatography, electrophoresis, and spectroscopy.
  • Perform experiments in agriculture, plant breeding, animal husbandry, biology, and biomedical research.
  • 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 like fish hatchery, greenhouse, and livestock production programs.

Biological technicians:

  • Help run biological, microbiological, and biochemical tests and laboratory analyses.
  • Perform limited range of technical functions supporting agriculture, plant breeding, animal husbandry, biology, biomedical research, and environmental protection.
  • Help collect data and samples of water, soil, and plant and animal populations.
  • Help analyze data and prepare 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

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

  • 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.
  • 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.

By the numbers

Quick look

375

employed in 2016

85.1%

employed full-time

2.7%

self employed

45.9%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
54.1%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.6

median age

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

25,875

employed in 2016

91.5%

employed full-time

7.6%

self employed

20.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
80%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
42.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

29.7%

Halifax

28.4%

Annapolis Valley

21.6%

North Shore

10.8%

Southern

9.5%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

36.4%

Public administration

19.7%

Professional, scientific and technical services

15.2%

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting

7.6%

Educational services

7.6%

Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

25.0%

25-34

22.0%

45-54

20.0%

55-64

16.0%

35-44

12.0%

15-24

5.0%

65+

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

24.2%

25-34

23.5%

45-54

23.4%

35-44

16.4%

55-64

7.7%

15-24

Top levels of education

33.8%

Bachelor

$47,986 median annual income
28.4%

College Diploma

$51,447 median annual income
13.5%

High school

$12,885 median annual income
12.2%

Master

$56,065 median annual income
9.5%

Apprenticeship

$37,236 median annual income

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

33.1%

College Diploma

$59,986 median annual income
29.8%

Bachelor

$63,965 median annual income
11.9%

High school

$45,835 median annual income
9.9%

Master

$65,105 median annual income
6.9%

Apprenticeship

$57,773 median annual income

Education & training

Agricultural Business Technology

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to carry out specialized support functions related to agricultural business offices and operations and to operate agricultural office equipment, software, and information systems. They include courses in basic agricultural business principles, office management, equipment operation, standard software, and database management.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Agriculture - General

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs focus on agricultural research and production. They include courses in basic animal, plant, and soil science, animal husbandry and plant cultivation, soil conservation, and agricultural operations like farming, ranching, and agricultural business.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Animal Behaviour and Ethology

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of the psychological and neurological bases of animal sensation, perception, cognition, behaviour, and behavioural interactions within and outside the species. They include courses in ethology, behavioural neuroscience, neurobiology, behavioural evolution, cognition and sensory perception, motivators, learning and instinct, hormonal controls, reproductive and developmental biology, community ecology, functional behaviour, and applications to specific behaviours and patterns as well as to specific phyla and species.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Animal Sciences

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific principles that underlie the breeding and husbandry of agricultural animals, and the production, processing, and distribution of agricultural animal products. They include courses in the animal sciences, animal husbandry and production, and agricultural and food products processing.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

Truro, NS

Biochemistry

College or University Program

These programs focus 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. They include courses in bio-organic chemistry, protein chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, bioseparations, regulatory biochemistry, enzymology, hormonal chemistry, calorimetry, and research methods and equipment operation.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Biology/Biological Sciences

College or University Program

This includes 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.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

Wolfville, NS

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Mount Saint Vincent University

Halifax, NS

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Environmental Engineering Technology/Environmental Technology

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students 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. They include courses in environmental safety principles, testing and sampling procedures, laboratory techniques, instrumentation calibration, safety and protection procedures, equipment maintenance, and report preparation.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Environmental Training Institute

Sydney, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Ivany Campus

Dartmouth, NS

Environmental Studies

College or University Program

These programs focus on environment-related issues using scientific, social scientific, and/or humanistic approaches. They 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.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

Wolfville, NS

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

St. Francis Xavier University

Antigonish, NS

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Cape Breton University

Sydney, NS

Forensic Science and Technology

College, Trades, or University Program

These programs focus on applying the physical, biomedical, and social sciences to the analysis and evaluation of physical evidence, human testimony and criminal suspects. They 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.

Institutions providing this program

Saint Mary's University

Halifax, NS

Marine Sciences

College or University Program

These programs focus on the study of biology, chemistry, geology and physics applied to marine, estuarine and coastal environments. They include courses in marine biogeochemistry, atmosphere and ocean dynamics, coastal ecology, coastal ocean processes, microbial ecology, marine ecosystem modeling, and polar microbiology.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Ivany Campus

Dartmouth, NS

Microbiology

College or University Program

These programs focus on the scientific study of unicellular organisms and colonies, and subcellular genetic matter and their ecological interactions with human beings and other life. They include courses in microbial genetics, cell biology, cell physiology, virology, pathogenic microbiology, environmental microbiology, immunology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, and laboratory methods including microscopy.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Halifax, NS

University of King's College

Halifax, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Canadian Food Inspection Agency - Atlantic
Dartmouth, NS
Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry
Halifax, NS
Agricultural Institute of Canada
Ottawa, ON
Canadian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology
Toronto, ON

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.