Animal technologists are responsible for the care, husbandry and welfare of animals being bred for, or used in, bio-medical research. New entrants are mainly concerned with the physical care of the animals - particularly mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters. They carry out routine tasks like cleaning the cages, monitoring the animals’ health, providing food and water, handling and moving animals safely, and keeping records.
More experienced technologists may be involved in experimental studies and scientific procedures, which requires an understanding of the physical, behavioural and environmental needs of individual species, and the ability to predict and interpret their responses. Technologists may be involved in selecting animals for experiments, and developing and carrying out dosing, assessment and sampling techniques.
The work is highly scientific and uses a variety of computer packages for record keeping. Compliance with current laws governing animal research is essential.
Animals need care 24 hours a day, all year round, therefore the work could involve weekends, bank holidays, and possibly shifts and occasional nights (normally on a rota). A 37-hour week is normal, and there is the possibility of working part-time after gaining experience.
Most animal technologists work indoors, in purpose-built animal facilities, but there will be some outdoor work with larger species such as farm animals. Depending on the task being carried out, protective clothing and shoes, a face mask, and a hat or hair covering may be worn.
To be an animal technologist you need:
The numbers of animal technologists has decreased in the past few years, partly because research work has been transferred to other countries. However, because the government has recently acted to support the research industry in the UK, the decline in the number of technicians is expected to slow and may even reverse.
Typical employers include:
There may be prospects of promotion to supervisory and higher grades for technicians with relevant experience and appropriate qualifications.
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Tel: 0845 707 8007