Qualifications For A Job As A Genomics Technician
November 27, 2009
Genomics technicians work in laboratories that perform experiments with genes, gene therapy, and research that affects health and nutrition. The technicians in a genomics lab serve in support capacities, using state of the art technology in research with humans, animals, and plants. They often execute the experiments under the supervision of the researchers and project managers.
While technicians in other labs may only be required to earn a two year degree, most positions in genomics require a four year bachelor's degree. Applicable degrees that prepare students for work with the principles and theories behind molecular biology include biology, genetics and biotechnology. Educational opportunities that include hands on experiential research and lab time from a school such as the Genomics Science Institute provide needed experience that new students often don't have when breaking into the field.
Additional training in genomics can help to set a candidate apart from others in a job search for a lab technician position. Students should look for a graduate program that includes studies in molecular biology and physiology, such as the degree offered by the University of Florida Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics. Courses that can best be utilized to further a career as a genomics technician include studies in how to map and sequence genomes, how sequencing applies to the pharmaceutical and diagnostics industries and current technologies in computer assisted drug design, immunity and diseases, and chemistry. Specific training may be required for quality assurance technicians in how to audit the production process, follow inspections, and complete final reports.
Most employers prefer candidates with some level of hands on experience in a working laboratory. Experience in a research environment, clinical trials facility or as an academic assistant can be useful to genomics lab technician candidates. Preferred experience may be required in areas such as molecular biology research projects, gene sequencing and genotyping.
Even with a degree and sufficient training, technicians in genomics lab also need to have well-honed skills to succeed in the field. Extensive analytical and computer skills are tantamount to lab tech positions. They must be highly organized and qualified to communicate their findings and questions clearly and on time. Writing, data entry, and detail oriented skills also are prized in lab technicians. Specific skills that should be highlighted on a resume include participation in genomic data studies, time spent gathering materials, information and samples, and laboratory experience that includes using and maintaining test tubes, microscopes, animal cages and scales. A job candidate should list trials and projects in which he assisted scientists in microscopic organism studies and other hands on laboratory work.
Technicians must be able to work well as part of a team in addition to being able to work independently with limited supervision. Lab technicians often work with a variety of professionals, from PhD scientists to nurses, medical doctors, and administrators. A successful genomics lab technician will have well developed interpersonal skills and the ability to interact with and take direction from a variety of sources, sometimes under strict deadlines.
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