Metrology is the science of measurement. A science technician specializing in inspection metrology might work in a calibration lab or even a clean room measuring everything from tolerances on metal parts or specifications for microchips.
Science technicians use the principles and theories of science and mathematics to solve problems in research and development and to help invent and improve products and processes. However, their jobs are more practically oriented than those of scientists. Technicians set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments, monitor experiments, make observations, calculate and record results, and often develop conclusions. They must keep detailed logs of all of their work-related activities. Those who work in production monitor manufacturing processes and may be involved in ensuring quality by testing products for proper proportions of ingredients, for purity, or for strength and durability.
Job Outlook and Growth Potential:
Opportunities will be best for individuals with an associate degree or extensive job training in engineering technology. As technology becomes more sophisticated, employers will continue to look for technicians who are skilled in new technology and require a minimum of additional job training.
Overall employment of science technicians is expected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. Continued growth of scientific and medical research, particularly research related to biotechnology, as well as the development and production of technical products, should stimulate demand for science technicians in many industries. The increase in the number of biological technicians will be about as fast as average, as the growing number of agricultural and medicinal products developed using biotechnology techniques will boost demand for these workers. Also, stronger competition among pharmaceutical companies and an aging population are expected to contribute to the need for innovative and improved drugs, further spurring demand for biological technicians. Fastest employment growth of biological technicians should occur in the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry and in scientific research and development services firms.
Wages and Earnings Potential:
Median hourly wages for science and lab technicians in 2002 ranged from $16.98 to $28.00 per hour in 2002.