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Lab Technician

What’s cool about this job

Each animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. speciesA group of individuals that have many of the same characteristics, and are different from all other animals in some important way. Hamsters and mice are two different species of rodent. is so unique, especially between mammals, birds, and reptiles, and you can really see that when looking at the different samples. Many times we peer through our microscopes and see a parasiteAn organism that lives in, on, or with another animal (called a host), getting what it needs to survive from that host. that we've never seen before. When this happens we try to find out more about it, and often it is an organismAnything that is alive. that has not yet been reported. We never know what we'll see! It is also very rewarding to know that the work we do helps to ensure the survival of the animals in our care, and for many of the endangeredAnimals or plants that survive in such low numbers that they could become extinct in a few years unless something is done to help the populations increase. animals the Zoo and Park are trying to help.

Job challenges

Unlike humans, animals can't use words to tell us when they aren't feeling well. It can be challenging to try to figure out what is making an animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. sick based on what we see in its blood sample. And there are so many exoticForeign to a particular place, from another part of the world; not indigenous. animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs. speciesA group of individuals that have many of the same characteristics, and are different from all other animals in some important way. Hamsters and mice are two different species of rodent. in the collection, with some so rareA species that has small populations, so that even a slight decrease in numbers could cause extinction. that there is often very little information about them available. When we look at their blood sample, it is sometimes hard to determine if an organismAnything that is alive. in the blood is disease-causing or just normal for that particular animalAny living thing that is not a plant. Most animals can move about freely. All use plants or other animals as food. All have sensory organs..

How to get a job like this

Study biologyThe study of life and living things. Biology deals with how plants and animals live and grow, how they are made, and where they are found., chemistry, and math. There are two-year degree programs at colleges for lab technicians, or you can get a four-year college degree in a science field, including taking courses with labs. Gain experience working in different lab settings and try different aspects of lab work to see what appeals to you. It helps to have an interest in science, especially biologyThe study of life and living things. Biology deals with how plants and animals live and grow, how they are made, and where they are found., and to have a natural curiosity about living things.