Overview & Job Duties
To qualify for TN status as a Scientific Technician/Technologist under NAFTA, the position must involve the use of scientific principles, research and development, and/or scientific observations and calculations. Traditional duties include: set-up, operate, and maintain technical instruments; monitor experiments, make observations, calculate and record results and often develop conclusions. In addition, the position must be in direct support of a professional in one of the sciences, and the position must primarily include activity consistent with the support of a science professional. The technician who assists an engineer in the lab to design and develop a new technology may qualify as a scientific technician, but a mechanic who repairs and maintains that same technology after it’s built, does not.
Qualifications & Requirements
A baccalaureate degree is not required for an individual to qualify as a scientific technician/technologist. Rather, a business person seeking admission under this category must possess:
- Theoretical knowledge of any of the following disciplines: agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology, or physics; and
- The ability to solve practical problems in any of those disciplines, or the ability to apply principles of any of those disciplines to basic or applied research.
Additionally, a person in this category must work in direct support of professionals in agricultural sciences, astronomy, biology, chemistry, engineering, forestry, geology, geophysics, meteorology or physics.
There are some very common issues that arise when applying for a TN under this category. For example, a general offer of employment is not sufficient to qualify an individual for admission as a scientific technician/technologist. The offer must also demonstrate that the applicant will be providing direct support for a qualified professional, and that the work performed by the technician will be managed, coordinated, and reviewed by the supervising professional. In addition, the specific job duties of any applicant seeking admission as a scientific technician/technologist are critical. Performing job functions that are primarily associated with other job titles would make an individual ineligible for this classification. More specifically, scientific technicians/technologists are not permitted to perform work that is normally done by the construction trades (i.e. welders, boiler makers, carpenters, electricians, etc.).