Science Technician Kaihangarau Pūtaiao

Science technicians help scientists carry out research, testing and experiments in areas such as chemistry, earth sciences, life sciences and physical sciences.

Science technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • collect and collate data for research
  • prepare equipment, materials, products and specimens for experiments and surveys
  • perform experiments and evaluate the results
  • record experiments and results
  • set up, operate and maintain laboratories for teaching and research
  • help with or carry out field and site surveys and tests
  • write reports and papers on research results
  • maintain databases
  • order laboratory supplies and equipment.

Physical Requirements

Science technicians usually need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) and normal colour vision.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for science technicians includes:

  • experience in fields related to the area of science you wish to work in 
  • other science or laboratory work.

Science undergraduates often gain experience by working in a laboratory part time while studying.

Personal Qualities

Science technicians need to be:

  • good at research
  • enquiring and observant
  • patient and safety-conscious
  • good problem solvers
  • good written and verbal communicators
  • organised, with good planning skills
  • able to work well both individually and as part of a team.


Science technicians need to have:

  • knowledge of a science discipline such as biology, chemistry or physics
  • skill in analysing and interpreting research results and other information
  • practical skills for performing experiments and operating scientific equipment.


Science technicians:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may also work evenings and weekends
  • work in laboratories at universities, schools, research institutes and factories. They may also work in offices, glasshouses, nurseries, forests, or on farms
  • may travel to work on projects or attend conferences.

Science Technicians can earn around $52K per year.

Pay for science technicians varies depending on their type of work, such as agricultural, chemistry, medical, life science or earth science. Science technicians earn an average of $52,000 a year.

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Occupation Outlook – Science Technicians', 2019.

With three to five years of experience on various projects, a science technician may progress to become a senior or lead science technician.

Those with a Bachelor's degree who gain more experience or further qualifications, such as a Masters or Doctorate, may go on to work as research scientists or engineers.

Science technicians usually specialise in a particular scientific discipline such as:

Agricultural Technician
Agricultural technicians perform tests and experiments, and provide technical support to assist agricultural scientists in areas such as research, production, servicing and marketing.
Chemistry Technician
Chemistry technicians help chemists and chemical engineers carry out research, testing and experiments on organic and inorganic chemicals. They work with a wide variety of products, including fuels, food, pharmaceuticals, paints, metals, plastics and cosmetics.
Earth Science Technician
Earth science technicians collect and test earth and water samples, record observations and analyse data in support of geologists or geophysicists.
Life Science Technician
Life science technicians identify and collect living organisms and conduct field and laboratory studies in support of environmental scientists and life scientists such as physiologists, biologists, botanists or zoologists.
Medical Laboratory Technician
Medical laboratory technicians help scientists and pathologists take samples, run tests and complete other duties involved in the operation of a diagnostic medical laboratory.
Research Technician
Research technicians help scientists carry out research, testing and experiments in a particular area of importance to agriculture. This can include forage crops, pasture, soils, weeds, pests, nutrition, reproduction, animal behaviour, and plant breeding.

Years Of Training

2-5 years of training usually required.

To become a science technician you need to have a relevant science or technology qualification.

Some employers require you to have a New Zealand Diploma in Applied Science (Level 5 or 6), while others require a Bachelor of Science or a Master's degree in the relevant area of specialisation.

Science Technician