How Working as a Research Technician Can Help Improve your Scientific Career

Research technicians in academic universities and research institutions often play many roles. Their main responsibilities are conducting experiments, processing samples, and/or gathering data. They may also perform other duties that support research. Ordering supplies and equipment can be another task. They may also need to keep invoices and receipts. Research technicians may work with technical support and administrative staff. They assist lead researchers like the primary investigator or research scientist. They may also help students and staff with their research or other duties. This means research technicians help maintain important relationships for the lab. They may keep logs of who has used supplies and equipment. Research technicians may play other roles as needed by lead researchers. This could include setting up rooms for meetings or ordering catering. If you become a research technician, you would support the lab’s research and its ability to run smoothly.

What Skills do Research Technicians Need?

Having certain key skills as a research technician can advance your academic career. The most important is technical competence. You may need to analyze data and write methods and results. Good presentation skills would help you stand out at lab meetings. This may earn you the chance to present research at conferences. You may meet potential employers or professors from universities there. Research technicians with good social skills help maintain a positive workplace. You could foster relationships with staff, vendors, and collaborators. This would help to grow your network. You could help lead researchers stay within their budgets with accounting skills. Getting certified or specialized can help you stand out. Supervisors may also give you more advanced duties if you show these skills and abilities. They will also improve your resumé/CV and may earn you a strong reference letter. References are very important in the job market.

How Much do Research Technicians Make?

Salary packages for research technicians depend on skills and experience. New research technicians may be paid modestly. They may be paid hourly and not receive benefits. However, you should expect a salaried position with benefits if you are very experienced. You may receive health insurance, disability, and retirement benefits. You may also receive some paid holidays. Support for higher education or parental leave may be available.

Some benefits may only be available after you have worked there for some time. Think about these benefits along with the salary. A higher salary may not be worth it if there are few or poor benefits. This job can be permanent rather than just a stepping stone in your career if you want. You are more likely to secure this as a permanent job if you have many relevant skills and experience. Research technicians in national institutes tend to be paid more compared to those in universities. This is because the timelines tend to be tighter and the workload greater than in academia. It is important to consider these trade-offs.

Do Research Technicians Get to Publish?

Research technicians may be given the chance to contribute to publications. Most journals require co-authors to make intellectual contributions. Research technicians who help design experiments or analyze data may fit that requirement, but routine lab work usually does not qualify. You probably deserve co-authorship if you help greatly with writing. There should be clarity about the lead researcher’s stand on co-authorship before taking the job if papers matter to you. You are more likely to be given the chance for co-authorship if you show expertise in the subject. Publications can be a great way to advance your academic career. Enago can answer all your questions about academic publishing!


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