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 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 Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 60 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

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

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 3095 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

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)

Hourly Pay

$13.00

Minimum

$22.05

Median

$35.12

Maximum

Annual Pay

$9,521

Minimum

$47,205

Median

$72,753

Maximum

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

Hourly Pay

$17.69

Minimum

$31.35

Median

$47.18

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 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.

By the numbers

Quick look

335

employed in 2016

88.6%

employed full-time

3.0%

self employed

46.7%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
53.3%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
43.6

median age

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

25,875

employed in 2016

93.6%

employed full-time

6.9%

self employed

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

median age

Where will I likely work?

29.3%

Halifax

28.0%

Annapolis Valley

21.3%

Northern

10.7%

Southern

9.3%

Cape Breton

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

34.8%

Public Administration

14.5%

Other Professional Services

13.0%

Agriculture

7.2%

Educational Services

5.8%

Food and Beverage Product Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

25.0%

45-54

21.2%

35-44

21.2%

55-64

17.3%

25-34

9.6%

15-24

3.8%

65+

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

32.5%

35-44

32.0%

45-54

18.0%

55-64

13.5%

25-34

3.5%

65+

Top levels of education

31.9%

Bachelor's degree

$48,328 median annual income
27.8%

College certificate or diploma

$56,189 median annual income
13.9%

High school

$21,155 median annual income
12.5%

Doctorate

N/A
11.1%

Trades certificate

$21,804 median annual income

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

33.7%

College certificate or diploma

$52,476 median annual income
29.7%

Bachelor's degree

$58,011 median annual income
12.1%

High school

$35,125 median annual income
9.7%

Master's degree

$37,706 median annual income
6.8%

Trades certificate

$54,923 median annual income

Education & training

Agricultural business technology

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Agriculture - General

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Animal sciences - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Biochemistry

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Biology/biological sciences - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture

PO Box 550

Truro, NS B2N 5E3

(902) 893-6600

Environmental engineering technology/environmental technology

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Environmental Training Institute

301 Alexandra Street

Sydney, NS B1S 2E8

(902) 539-9766

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Environmental studies

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Forensic science and technology

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Microbiology - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

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
Canadian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology
17 Dossetter Way
Ottawa, ON K1G 4S3
Tel: (613) 421-7229
Fax: (613) 421-9811

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.

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