Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Alert

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted legislation and services. Information on this website may not reflect the current situation in Alberta. Please visit alberta.ca for up-to-date information about these impacts.

Updated

Biological Technician

Biological technicians do routine analysis and technical work in the field, lab, or both. They provide technical support and services for scientists and engineers. They may work in agriculture, environmental science, resource management, plant and animal biology, microbiology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, and health sciences.

Also Known As

Biological Sciences Technician / Technologist, Environmental Technician / Technologist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Biological Technicians (2221.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Biological Technologists and Technicians (C121) 
  • 2011 NOC: Biological technologists and technicians (2221) 
  • 2016 NOC: Biological technologists and technicians (2221) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Biological Technicians
2006 NOC : 2221.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

METHODICAL

Interest in assisting biologists to conduct laboratory analyses and biological, microbiological and biochemical tests

objective

Interest in precision working with laboratory equipment to conduct experiments and tests

innovative

Interest in compiling information to assist in conducting field research and surveys; and in collecting data and samples

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Apr 05, 2022

Biological technicians’ duties vary depending on their training, experience, and where they work. They may:

  • Conduct field and lab tests
  • Operate, maintain, and adjust equipment for field tests and surveys
  • Work under aseptic (sterile) conditions
  • Isolate, identify, and prepare specimens for study, and grow cultures in controlled conditions
  • Collect field data
  • Maintain quality control and assurance
  • Study data and report results
  • Manage approvals and permits related to research ethics and handling hazardous materials

Depending on the type of work, biological technicians may also:

  • Conduct or supervise operational programs (such as fish hatcheries) or production programs (such as greenhouse or livestock)
  • Conduct biological, microbiological, chemical, and biochemical tests
  • Conduct plant and animal inventory surveys to gather information on plant and animal distribution and abundance
  • Prepare progress reports on surveys for research biologists
  • Set up and maintain lab areas
  • Prepare reagents, perform analyses, and maintain lab equipment
  • Collect information for industry such as on land use or land reclamation
  • Supervise junior staff

A biological technician’s education and experience determines the nature and level of responsibility they have on the job.

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 05, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Work settings vary a lot. Biological technicians may do most of their work indoors in labs and offices. They may work outdoors in all weather conditions. Some technicians work in both settings. Those who work outdoors may travel to remote locations and drive boats, quads, or trucks with standard transmissions.

Some types of work are more physically demanding. Other work involves microbial tests and lab analyses. Technicians doing this type of work must follow health and safety rules. This helps them avoid exposure to infectious bacteria and viruses. Fieldwork can expose technicians to fungi, viruses, and other biological agents.

Hours of work can vary. Long hours may be required, including evenings and weekends. Some jobs are seasonal.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 05, 2022

Biological technicians need:

  • Speaking, listening, and writing skills
  • Good health and physical stamina
  • The ability to keep detailed, accurate records
  • Fine motor skills to work effectively with microscopes and precision instruments
  • The ability to work on their own and on a team

They should enjoy:

  • Having clear guidelines and organized work methods
  • Doing detailed work with lab equipment
  • Gathering data in the field
Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 05, 2022
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

Most employers require a 2-year diploma related to biological sciences. Some will accept an equivalent number of courses. Employers also may require applicants to have:

  • First aid training
  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazards and Materials Information System) training
  • TDG (Transportation of Dangerous Goods) training
  • A valid driver’s licence (preferably with no demerit points)
  • No criminal record

Training in research ethics is often needed (including in biohazards, human subject handling, and animal use protocols).


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Yellowhead Tribal College Edmonton

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 05, 2022
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

Certified Technician

Certified Technicians are applied science, information technology, or engineering technology professionals. They perform routine technical procedures with occasional direct supervision. They also may assume limited responsibility for decision-making processes.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act [pdf] and ASET Regulation [pdf], you must register as a member of the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) to use the title Certified Technician (C.Tech.).

You do not have to register if you do not call yourself a Certified Technician.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Certified Technician.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 05, 2022

Biological technicians may work for:

  • Food processing and manufacturing firms
  • Biofuel and biorefining firms
  • Pharmaceutical firms
  • Oil and chemical firms
  • Agricultural firms
  • Research and development facilities
  • Biological and environmental consulting firms
  • Government departments that deal with parks, fish and wildlife, agriculture, and public lands
  • Forensic labs
  • Post-secondary research labs

Competition for positions is keen. Many new entrants do seasonal or part-time work before they get permanent positions.

Prospects for advancement are limited. Master’s and doctoral degrees are needed for most research and management positions.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2221: Biological technologists and technicians occupational group, 78.2% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2221: Biological technologists and technicians occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 05, 2022

Earnings for biological technicians vary greatly depending on education, experience, and location.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Biological technologists and technicians

2016 NOC : 2221
Average Wage
$39.68
Per Hour
Average Salary
$75,516.00
Per Year
Average Hours
36.6
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.9
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2221 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.39 $41.20 $31.30 $30.72
Overall $21.93 $53.32 $39.68 $40.93
Top $25.00 $67.07 $43.94 $44.16

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

67%
67%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

41%
41%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

0%
0%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 05, 2022

Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) website: www.aset.ab.ca

ECO Canada website: eco.ca

Environmental Services Association of Alberta website: esaa.org

Government of Alberta website, fisheries and wildlife management career paths: albertaparks.ca/albertaparksca/about-us/working-together/job-profiles/

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?
Top