How to Be Life Science Laboratory Technician - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

A Life Science Laboratory Technician plays an important role in the scientific research industry. They are responsible for a variety of tasks such as preparing lab materials and equipment, conducting experiments, analyzing data, and recording results. As a result of their work, scientists are able to make new discoveries, develop new treatments, and advance their understanding of biology and medicine. Additionally, the findings of the laboratory technician can have a profound impact on the field of life sciences, leading to improvements in the quality of treatment and life for those suffering from medical conditions.

Steps How to Become

  1. Earn a High School Diploma or GED. The first step to becoming a life science laboratory technician is to complete high school or earn a General Education Development (GED) certificate.
  2. Complete an Associate Degree Program. Most employers prefer to hire laboratory technicians who have completed an associate degree program in a life science field such as biology, chemistry, or biotechnology.
  3. Obtain Certification. While certification is not always required, it can be beneficial to obtain certification from a professional organization such as the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS).
  4. Gain On-the-Job Experience. Many employers prefer to hire laboratory technicians who have some experience in the field. Consider volunteering or interning in a lab to gain the experience necessary for employment.
  5. Develop Technical Skills. As a life science laboratory technician, you will need to develop strong technical skills for performing experiments and analyzing data. Take courses or workshops to hone your skills and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.

The Life Science Laboratory Technician must stay updated and capable in order to effectively perform their duties. Keeping up with the latest developments in the field of life sciences is essential, as is maintaining a good knowledge of laboratory procedures and protocols. To ensure that they remain informed, the technician should take advantage of online resources such as webinars, tutorials, and publications.

attending professional conferences and workshops can help to keep them current on the latest technologies and protocols. Furthermore, hands-on training is essential for the technician to stay competent in their job. Practicing new techniques, maintaining an organized workspace, and participating in continuing education courses are all important ways to stay capable in their role.

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Job Description

  1. Perform laboratory experiments related to scientific research in the life sciences
  2. Maintain and troubleshoot laboratory equipment
  3. Conduct experiments and record results
  4. Prepare samples and experiment materials
  5. Maintain laboratory inventory and order supplies as necessary
  6. Evaluate and interpret laboratory data
  7. Analyze and interpret data for accuracy and completeness
  8. Follow safety procedures in the laboratory
  9. Participate in laboratory meetings and maintain accurate records
  10. Prepare technical reports, summaries, protocols, and other documents

Skills and Competencies to Have

  1. Knowledge of laboratory safety protocols and procedures
  2. Knowledge of laboratory equipment and instruments
  3. Ability to follow detailed instructions
  4. Attention to detail
  5. Ability to work independently and collaboratively with other technicians
  6. Good organizational skills
  7. Ability to accurately record and report data
  8. Proficiency in data analysis and interpretation
  9. Ability to troubleshoot technical problems
  10. Effective communication and interpersonal skills

Being a successful Life Science Laboratory Technician requires a strong set of skills. A keen attention to detail, excellent organizational and problem-solving abilities, and the ability to multitask are all essential. The technician must also have a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles behind the experiments they are carrying out and be able to interpret the results accurately.

Furthermore, they must have a thorough knowledge of laboratory equipment and procedures, as well as the ability to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. As a result, having a solid educational background in life sciences and laboratory experience is highly beneficial. Finally, having good interpersonal skills is necessary in order to effectively collaborate with other technicians, scientists, and researchers.

With all these abilities combined, a Life Science Laboratory Technician will be able to contribute to the success of any lab they work in.

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Frequent Interview Questions

  • How familiar are you with laboratory safety protocols?
  • Describe your experience working with laboratory equipment.
  • What challenges have you faced as a Life Science Laboratory Technician?
  • How do you ensure accuracy and precision in your work?
  • What techniques do you use to troubleshoot laboratory instruments?
  • What strategies do you use to stay organized and on top of your workload?
  • Have you ever developed or modified existing laboratory procedures?
  • How do you ensure that all data is recorded and maintained accurately?
  • What experience do you have in performing laboratory tests?
  • How do you handle unexpected results or errors in the laboratory?

Common Tools in Industry

  1. Microscope. A tool used to magnify small objects, such as cells, tissues and other biological specimens. (eg: compound microscope)
  2. Autoclave. A device used to sterilize medical and lab equipment using pressurized steam. (eg: gravity displacement autoclave)
  3. Centrifuge. A machine that spins a container at high speeds to separate components of a solution. (eg: tabletop centrifuge)
  4. Pipette. A tool used to precisely measure and transfer liquids in a laboratory setting. (eg: electronic pipette)
  5. Balances. A device used to weigh objects accurately. (eg: analytical balance)
  6. Refrigerator. A device used to store reagents and samples at low temperatures. (eg: laboratory grade refrigerator)
  7. Incubator. A device used to regulate the temperature for growing cell cultures. (eg: CO2 incubator)
  8. Spectrophotometer. A device used to measure the intensity of light transmitted through a sample. (eg: double beam spectrophotometer)
  9. Liquid Handling Robot. A robotic device used to automate the process of transferring liquids in a laboratory setting. (eg: automated liquid handler)

Professional Organizations to Know

  1. American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
  2. American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS)
  3. American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)
  4. American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  5. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  6. Society for Laboratory Automation & Screening (SLAS)
  7. Association of Clinical Scientists (ACS)
  8. Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
  9. American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)
  10. American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA)

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Common Important Terms

  1. Microscopy. Microscopy is the use of a microscope to view objects or specimens that are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
  2. Histology. Histology is the study of the microscopic structure of cells, tissues and organs.
  3. Immunohistochemistry. Immunohistochemistry is a technique used to detect and localize antigens within tissue sections using antibodies.
  4. Cell Culture. Cell culture is a laboratory technique used to grow and maintain living cells in vitro.
  5. Chromatography. Chromatography is a laboratory technique used to separate mixtures of compounds based on their solubility and other chemical properties.
  6. Molecular Biology. Molecular biology is the study of the structure and function of macromolecules, such as DNA and proteins, in cells.
  7. Protein Purification. Protein purification is a laboratory technique used to isolate a single type of protein from a complex mixture.
  8. PCR. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a technique used to make multiple copies of a particular DNA sequence.
  9. DNA Sequencing. DNA sequencing is a laboratory technique used to determine the exact order of nucleotides in a DNA molecule.
  10. Flow Cytometry. Flow cytometry is a laboratory technique used to analyze the characteristics of particles suspended in a liquid stream.

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications are required to become a Life Science Laboratory Technician?

To become a Life Science Laboratory Technician, individuals typically need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and possess relevant laboratory experience. Additionally, some employers may require an associate degree or specialized certification in the life sciences field.

What types of responsibilities do Life Science Laboratory Technicians typically have?

Life Science Laboratory Technicians are responsible for performing various laboratory experiments and activities, such as DNA and protein analysis, cell culturing, and data collection. They also may be tasked with maintaining laboratory equipment, following safety protocols, and preparing reports.

What working environment do Life Science Laboratory Technicians typically work in?

Life Science Laboratory Technicians typically work in laboratories that are equipped with the necessary equipment and technology to perform experiments. They may work in academic, industrial, or medical research laboratories.

How much do Life Science Laboratory Technicians typically earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for Life Science Laboratory Technicians in May 2019 was $44,260.

What is the job outlook for Life Science Laboratory Technicians?

The job outlook for Life Science Laboratory Technicians is expected to grow at a rate of 5% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is slightly faster than the average for all occupations.

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