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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, or health sciences.

  • Avg. Salary $75,516.00
  • Avg. Wage $39.68
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Biological Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Biological Technicians

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


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


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

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 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 More

Updated Mar 31, 2018

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
  • isolate, identify and prepare specimens for study
  • 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 re-agents, perform analyses and maintain lab equipment
  • collect information for industry (such as on land use or 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 Mar 31, 2018

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. Some 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, or other biological agents.

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Biological technicians need to possess:

  • 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 Mar 31, 2018

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 or 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

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Certified Technician

A Certified Technician (C.Tech.) is an applied science, information or engineering technology professional who performs routine technical procedures with occasional direct supervision. They also may assume limited responsibility for decision-making processes.


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 be registered if you do not call yourself a Certified Technician.

What You Need

Registration requires:

  • Graduation from an applied science, information technology or engineering technology program or demonstration of academic equivalency
  • At least 2 years of acceptable technical experience within the last 5 years of practice
  • 3 professional references
  • Completion of a competency report
  • Successful completion of ASET’s Professional Practice Exam

Other requirements may include:

  • Demonstration of proficiency in English
  • Working or seeking work in Alberta or the Northwest Territories
  • Proof of legal entitlement to work in Canada

For detailed official information about registration requirements, contact ASET.

Working in Alberta

Certified Technicians who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory body in another province may transfer to Alberta if the two jurisdictions require similar responsibilities and competencies. To do this, they must complete a transfer form and pay the associated fee. For detailed information about transfer requirements, see ASET. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada?

To learn about the certification process for internationally educated certified technicians, see Mechanical Engineering Technician Certification Process.

Contact Details

The Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET)
1600 - 9888 Jasper Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 5C6

Call: 780-425-0626
Toll-free in Alberta: 1-800-272-5619
Fax: 780-424-5053

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Biological technicians may work for:

  • food processing and manufacturing firms
  • biofuel and bio-refining 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.

Biological technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2221: Biological technologists and technicians. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

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.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

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

Biological technologists and technicians

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
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.

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.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) website:

Canadian Environmental Certification Approvals Board website:

ECO Canada website:

Environmental Services Association of Alberta website:

Government of Alberta website, fisheries and wildlife management career paths:

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

Updated Mar 31, 2018. 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.

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