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Become An Analytical Laboratory Technician

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Working As An Analytical Laboratory Technician

  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $58,196

    Average Salary

What Does An Analytical Laboratory Technician Do

Chemical technicians use laboratory instruments and techniques to help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, produce, and test chemical products and processes.

Duties

Chemical technicians typically do the following:

  • Monitor chemical processes and test the quality of products to make sure that they meet standards and specifications
  • Set up and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment
  • Troubleshoot production problems or malfunctioning instruments
  • Prepare chemical solutions
  • Conduct chemical and physical experiments, tests, and analyses for a variety of purposes, including research and development
  • Compile and interpret results of tests and analyses
  • Prepare technical reports, graphs, and charts, and give presentations that summarize their results

Most chemical technicians work on teams. Typically, they are led by chemists or chemical engineers who direct their work and evaluate their results. For example, some chemical technicians help chemists and other scientists develop new medicines. Others help chemical engineers develop more efficient production processes.

Chemical technicians’ duties and titles often depend on where they work. The following are the two main types of chemical technicians:

Laboratory technicians typically help scientists conduct experiments and analyses. Often, they prepare chemical solutions, test products for quality and performance, and analyze compounds produced through complex chemical processes. Chemical laboratory technicians may analyze samples of air and water to monitor pollution levels. Laboratory technicians usually set up and maintain laboratory equipment and instruments.

Processing technicians monitor the quality of products and processes at chemical manufacturing facilities. For example, they adjust processing equipment to improve production efficiency and output. They also collect samples from production batches, which then are tested for impurities and other defects. In addition, processing technicians test product packaging to make sure that it is well designed, will hold up well, and will have a limited impact on the environment.

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How To Become An Analytical Laboratory Technician

Chemical technicians need an associate’s degree or 2 years of postsecondary education for most jobs. Most chemical technicians also receive on-the-job training.

Education

For most jobs, chemical technicians need an associate’s degree in applied science or chemical technology or 2 years of postsecondary education.

Many technical and community colleges offer programs in applied sciences or chemical technology. Students typically take classes in mathematics, physics, and biology, in addition to chemistry courses. Coursework in statistics and computer science is also useful, because technicians routinely do data analysis and modeling.

One of the most important aspects of any degree program is laboratory time. Laboratory coursework provides students with hands-on experience in conducting experiments and using various instruments and techniques properly. Many schools also offer internships and cooperative-education programs that help students gain employment experience while attending school.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Chemical technicians must be able to set up and operate sophisticated equipment and instruments. They also may need to adjust the equipment to ensure that experiments and processes are running properly and safely.

Analytical skills. Chemical technicians must be able to conduct scientific experiments with accuracy and precision.

Communication skills. Chemical technicians must explain their work to scientists and engineers, and to workers who may not have a technical background. They often write reports to communicate their results.

Critical-thinking skills. Chemical technicians reach their conclusions through sound reasoning and judgment.

Interpersonal skills. Chemical technicians must be able to work well with others as part of a team because they often work with scientists, engineers, and other technicians.

Observation skills. Chemical technicians must carefully monitor chemical experiments and processes. They must keep complete records of their work, including conditions, procedures, and results.

Time-management skills. Chemical technicians often work on multiple tasks and projects at the same time and must be able to prioritize their assignments.

Training

Most chemical technicians receive on-the-job training. Typically, experienced technicians teach new employees proper methods and procedures for conducting experiments and operating equipment. The length of training varies with the new employee’s level of experience and education and the industry the worker is employed in.

Advancement

Technicians who have a bachelor’s degree may advance to positions as chemical engineers or chemists. For more information, see the profiles on chemical engineers and chemists and materials scientists.

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Do you work as an Analytical Laboratory Technician?

Analytical Laboratory Technician Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Chemist 3.3 years
Analytical Chemist 3.1 years
Associate Chemist 3.0 years
Laboratory Analyst 2.8 years
Laboratory Chemist 2.6 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 7.2%
Technician 3.8%
Cashier 3.4%
Chemist 3.4%
Top Employers After
Chemist 10.3%
Scientist 3.4%

Do you work as an Analytical Laboratory Technician?

Analytical Laboratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

52.6%

Female

45.4%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

59.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

10.5%

Asian

10.0%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

42.1%

Dutch

5.3%

German

5.3%

Dakota

5.3%

Cantonese

5.3%

Japanese

5.3%

French

5.3%

Amharic

5.3%

Russian

5.3%

Mandarin

5.3%

Navajo

5.3%

Italian

5.3%
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Analytical Laboratory Technician Education

Schools

North Carolina State University

7.2%

University of Nevada - Reno

5.8%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

5.8%

Alabama A & M University

5.8%

Hudson Valley Community College

5.8%

Lamar University

5.8%

South Dakota State University

5.8%

University of Phoenix

5.8%

Northeastern University

5.8%

University of Puerto Rico - Cayey

5.8%

Ferris State University

4.3%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.3%

Saginaw Valley State University

4.3%

State University of New York Albany

4.3%

South University

4.3%

Central Michigan University

4.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.3%

North Carolina Central University

4.3%

Bowdoin College

2.9%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

2.9%
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Majors

Chemistry

31.7%

Biology

17.8%

Business

7.3%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

6.6%

Chemical Engineering

4.5%

Biotechnology

3.5%

Environmental Science

3.1%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

2.8%

Chemical Technology

2.4%

Microbiology

2.1%

Management

2.1%

Criminal Justice

2.1%

Geology

2.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.1%

Nursing

1.7%

Food Science

1.7%

Health Care Administration

1.7%

Materials Sciences

1.7%

Computer Science

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.5%

Masters

15.8%

Other

13.1%

Associate

12.6%

Certificate

2.8%

Doctorate

1.8%

Diploma

0.5%
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Top Skills for An Analytical Laboratory Technician

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  1. Methods
  2. Lab
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Calibrated various instruments according to manufacturer's requirements and methods.
  • Monitor and maintain laboratory consumables supply, conduct routine maintenance, Summarize and report experimental results using spreadsheet.
  • Report writing and other communication based procedures necessary to pass critical screenings by outside auditors and company higher-ups.
  • Performed chemical digestion on raw materials for analysis using microwave digestion.
  • Managed activities to optimize/control processes and improve safety, cost reduction and capacity increase.

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