Technicians play a vital role within the world of science, especially in the promotion of practical science within education, the sector I work in. Every science-based organisation should do all they can to promote and acknowledge the work technicians do.
In 2011, the Science Council created a professional register with the award of Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) and other grades of registration: Registered Scientist (Rsci), Chartered Scientist (CSci), and Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach). Being professionally registered is a mark of excellence, and each of the Science Council’s registers can reflect stages in your science career, from establishing your technical knowledge and skill to meeting the standards of chartership as a professional scientist.
RsciTech is available to people working in technical roles, delivering scientific services and support within laboratories, schools and universities, hospitals and in many other workplaces. The professional skills and attributes that applicants are expected to demonstrate are through a combination of knowledge and experience, set out in five areas with applicants needing to demonstrate how they meet a set of core competencies.
There are 40 professional bodies licensed with the Science Council of which 12 offer RSciTech at the time of writing this, varying from the food industry to the water industry and many in between, and including several of the country’s main scientific societies. Now, excitingly, the IOP has worked to gain the licence to award its members this professional registration.
The value of registration
Registration recognises your knowledge and experience alongside any qualifications you may have. Through the process of applying for professional registration, it supports and encourages you to reflect on what you have achieved in your career so far. It is a process that will build your confidence and skill as a practising scientist.
Registration is a mark of quality and competence that is sought after by employers. It commits you to standards of integrity and professional development and highlights transferable skills that make you stand out from the crowd and might help towards your chances of promotion too.
It is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of technicians, as the employer is involved in the application process and is directly made aware if it is successful, increasing your status and recognition within the workplace, which can raise morale, leading to greater job satisfaction and a team of even more motivated and efficient staff.
Furthermore, becoming a member of a scientific association or society gives technicians access to a huge amount of resources, such as learning materials or regular publications, journals and blogs that can keep you informed of all the latest news and advancements in science. This benefits not only physics technicians but also provides an opportunity for nonspecialist science technicians to be a part of the Institute.
A technician awards listing could create a forum of RSciTech members and a network for technicians across the country, giving invaluable access to expertise and resources. For instance it could lead to RsciTech members that other science technicians could refer to, just as if I am contacted I travel to offer on-site advice, presentations, and help with identifying and setting up equipment for teachers and technicians.
With the IOP joining the registration programme it can only be a positive boost to technicians across education and industry, helping them to attain the recognition and future development they deserve.