Difference Between Technician and Technologist (With Table)

Technology is being leveraged everywhere and tons of jobs have been created out of nowhere, thanks to technology. Two of the job titles that have surfaced due to technology are ‘technician’ and ‘technologist’

Technician vs Technologist

The difference between technician and technologist is that a technician is somebody who is a trained worker with knowledge in a specific field, especially science or engineering, and works in a practical environment, like a food laboratory. 

For example, a food technician will work towards assessing and examing food items, enhancing nutrition levels, and making sure the food meets the requirement of the Food and Drug Administration. 

On the other hand, a technologist is someone who has deeper and vast knowledge in a field. For example, we have food technologists. A food technologist will work with a food technician, but she will be more focused on the research and innovation part.

Comparison Table Between Technician and Technologist

Parameter of ComparisonTechnicianTechnologist
Type of workMostly in laboratoriesVast, including innovation, research, and managerial roles
Required to attend business meetingsRarelyUsually
Degree neededYes, but a bachelor’s degree is not a necessity. A certificate/diploma works too.Yes, a bachelor’s degree is required
SalaryLower in comparisonHigher in comparision
Salary typeHourly or monthlyMonthy

What is a Technician?

A technician is somebody who is trained to work in a certain field. Examples of technicians are X-Ray lab technicians, Information Technology technicians, Food lab technicians, etc.

Technicians do not usually engage in business meetings.  A technician may be paid by the hour or hired and paid monthly. Their main job is to keep the machines working. They are also expected to keep the equipment clean and maintain it, and also make sure that the lab does not come to an unexpected halt.

In some jobs, technicians can also take up the role of technologists. For example, a person who has graduated with a degree in cardiopulmonary technology will be able to work as a cardiopulmonary technologist. His responsibilities will be the same as a technologist, that is he’ll have to assist patients who have cardiopulmonary conditions.

He will have to use equipment to evaluate and diagnose patients, will be expected to keep their medical records, and assist with procedures. He will also be required to clean and maintain the equipment.

To sum up, technicians work in the background and keep the process going.

They are responsible if any machine goes faulty. It will be their responsibility to fix the machine. Technicians can also work as technologists if they have enough knowledge and experience.

What is a Technologist?

A technologist is somebody who is trained to work in a certain field, plus they have an array of knowledge about their line of work.  Some examples of technologists are food technologists, Information Technology technologists, etc.

A technologist usually works with a technician and supervises him. A technologist is also usually required to engage in business meetings. A technologist is hired on a contract and paid monthly.

Some jobs are listed as for ‘technologists’ but the work is actually suited for a technician. For example a cardiopulmonary technologist. A cardiopulmonary technologist will do the work that is expected from a technician. He/she will be responsible for assisting patients with medical problems in their blood vessels, heart, and lungs.

The unexpected catch here is that the title ‘Cardiopulmonary technologist’ is justified. A cardiopulmonary technologist must have an undergraduate degree in either cardiovascular or cardiopulmonary technology, thus a technician without the degree won’t be able to take up this job.

Another example is that of a food technologist. She will be expected to leverage her technical knowledge, combined with her domain knowledge, in this case, that of food. Her responsibilities will be to create new products, finalize the flavors and colors of the product, and make sure the product stays within the legal limits. 

Main Differences Between Technician and Technologist

  1. A technician is somebody who works in the background and keeps things going. On the other hand, a technologist is somebody who may also work in the background and keep things going, but she will be required to do more than that. She will be required to attend meetings, formulate plans with business heads, and work with the company to generate more revenue.
  2. A technician is responsible for cleaning machines, keeping requirements in stock, and even changing equipment when required. On the other hand, a technologist will be more focused on the business side of things. She may still be required to do what a technician does, but more will be expected from her.
  3. Technicians are mostly limited to the technical side of things. They are required to operate, clean, and maintain the equipment. On the other hand, a technologist’s role is wide. They are required to operate the technology as well as use their domain knowledge to research and innovate.
  4. A technician is not required to attend business meetings. On the other hand, technologists are usually required to attend business meetings.
  5. A technician’s salary can be paid by the hour or by the month. For example, an IT technician can be paid by the hour, or by month. On the other hand, a technologist salary is always paid by the month. An IT technologist will always be paid by the month.

Conclusion

Technicians and technologists are both related to technology. 

In some countries such as India, these titles are used interchangeably, while in other countries, like the USA, these terms do not mean the same thing.  Also, in some fields such as the medical field, the word technician and technologists are used interchangeably.

For example, what would you call someone who knows how to operate an X-ray machine? You can call her a technician, as well a technologist. The difference here would be that a technician will operate the machine, whereas the technologist will assess the x-ray reports and work with the patient to treat or prevent injury.

On an academic level, a person who has deep knowledge and completed the required degrees will be called a technologist. On the other hand, a person who has sufficient knowledge and has completed diplomas or short term degrees and does not have much domain knowledge will be called a technician.

References

  1. https://academic.oup.com/clinchem/article/50/6/1068/5640028
  2. http://www.radiologictechnology.org/content/81/3/282.extract
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