If you’re studying biology, chemistry or engineering, working in a lab is a great way to boost your resume. The work experience you earn in a lab can be a great asset when applying for grad school, medical school or for getting a permanent full-time job after graduation. Recently, hiring agency Astrix Technology Group came to Biola and shared their top insights about landing a job in technology fields. Here are a few tips from Astrix.

Consider working for a contracting agency

What is a contracting agency?

Contracting companies match job-seekers with open jobs at other companies. Biotechnology corporations often hire contracting companies such as Astrix Technology Group, BioPhase Solutions, and Kelly Scientific Services to outsource employer responsibilities such as payroll, benefits and recruiting.

How does a contracting agency benefit me?

Instead of filling out dozens of job applications, you can submit one resume to the contracting agency. A recruiter from the contracting agency will help revise your resume, provide tips on interviewing well and send your resume to biotechnology employers. 

“Working for a contract agency is an opportunity to get your foot in the door with big-name companies within biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices,” said Astrix. “Many of these companies employ hundreds of contractors.”

If the recruiter matches you with a specific company, then you will agree to work for a specified amount of time. Contracts typically last 12 months. If you and the biotechnology company feel that the job is a good fit, the biotechnology company might hire you indefinitely. In this case, you would become employed by the biotechnology company instead of the contracting agency.

Who are contracting agencies for?

Contracting is a great solution for many recent graduates. If you aren’t sure which direction you want to take in your career, contracting allows you to try out a job for a year and decide where to go from there. If you find out that the job isn’t for you, then you can contract in a different position once the first contract expires. Additionally, if you are seeking employment to boost your resume for graduate studies or medical school, you might secure a job in a recognizable large biotechnology company that may make a favorable impression on the graduate institutions. On the other hand, if you want a work at a biotechnology company indefinitely, you have a good chance of being hired if you make a favorable impression.

Familiarize yourself with starting salaries

Whenever you are looking for a job, it is important to understand how much you can expect to be paid. Below is a list of pay rates in the L.A. region for biotechnology jobs requiring up to two years of experience. According to Astrix, these numbers reflect starting pay rates, which will be useful information when negotiating salaries. For more information on how to negotiate salaries, see these additional resources.

Entry-Level Job Title LA Region Pay Rate ($/hr)
Associate Chemist18-20
Lab Technician/Assistant17-19
Associate Engineer25-28
Associate Mfg/Mfg Technician17-20
Associate QC/QA18-22
Molecular Biologist18-22
Clinical Lab/Trial Technician20-22
Document Control Coordinator19-21
Associate in Regulatory Affairs25-28


Joy Ito ('20, B.S. biochemistry) is a former Peer Internship Ambassador for Chemistry and Biology.

Want more information about full-time employment or want to contact recruiters at Astrix Technology Group, BioPhase Solutions, or Kelly Scientific Services? Make an appointment with a Career Specialist through Handshake


Additional Resources