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Animal Care Technician Jobs

Updated on August 23, 2013

Laboratory Animal Care Technician: Eligibility & Jobs

In biomedical and pharmaceutical research fields, a wide variety of animals are used as experimental tools to simulate a disease condition, and to test the effects of novel drugs/procedures to alleviate diseases. The field of Laboratory Animal Science deals with the study of laboratory animal production, care, research, sale, service and education. It is a broad field associated with several other scientific disciplines such as biology, ethics, microbiology, pharmacology and toxicology. Laboratory animal care technician work in the field of Laboratory Animal Sciences, and his/her job is to take care of animals. Animal welfare remains the highest priority in any research that uses animals as tools, and animal care technicians are needed to maintain the welfare of laboratory animals.

Eligibility for Laboratory Animal Care Technician Job

In U.S., the minimum qualification required to apply for the laboratory animal technician job is High School Diploma or equivalent. In addition, certification as an Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician by American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) may be needed. The AALAS provides professional training and competence for technicians in the areas of animal husbandry, health, welfare, facility management and administration. Based on candidate’s age, education and experience, the certification is awarded at three levels - assistant laboratory animal technician, laboratory animal technician, and laboratory animal technologist. Some employers may not ask for AALAS certificate, but provide on-the-job training.

Other skills, such as willingness to work independently and as a part of a team, good communication, and basic knowledge of Microsoft Office may be required for technician job. Additional information about the eligibility, training and fee to appear for certification course can be found in ‘Technician certification handbook’ or at the web site http://www.aalas.org/

Duties of Laboratory Animal Care Technician

Some of the key tasks of an animal care technician - (1) sanitize, organize and maintain animal cages (2) provide feed and water (3) receive and transport animals within the facility and also, from external vendors (4) maintain and operate cage washer, tunnel washer, bedding dispensers and autoclave equipments (5) dispose waste materials (6) provide assistance to investigators/researchers in animal surgeries/procedures (7) perform routine examination of the animal health and prepare report, if any abnormal conditions observed (8) assist veterinarian or other investigators in blood and tissue collection (9) safe handling of the animals (10) restrain the animals with appropriate methods in humane manner to administer drugs/medicine (11) perform euthanasia.

Working Environment

Laboratory animal care technicians may have to work in shifts, and sometimes in weekends and holidays. One of the potential dangers is animal bite or scratch. Most of the time animal care technician is exposed to unpleasant smell. Animal care technicians have to follow dress code while working in facilities. And they are also advised to take shower before leaving the facility.

Jobs

Increased use of animals in biomedical companies and in university research programs has led to a growing demand for laboratory animal care technicians. Biotechnology industries, universities, pharmaceutical companies, commercial vendors, government agencies and biomedical engineering companies are some of the potential employers looking for laboratory animal care technicians.

You can find laboratory care technician openings in the following links-

http://www.sfn.org/neurojobs/; http://www.indeed.com; http://www.nature.com

http://scjobs.sciencemag.org


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