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Working As a Chemical Research Worker

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

  • Stressful

  • $49,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Chemical Research Worker 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 A Chemical Research Worker

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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Average Yearly Salary
$49,000
Show Salaries
$40,000
Min 10%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$60,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Mississippi State University
Highest Paying City
Ashburn, VA
Highest Paying State
Pennsylvania
Avg Experience Level
2.3 years
How much does a Chemical Research Worker make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Chemical Research Worker in the United States is $49,598 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $40,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $60,000.

Real Chemical Research Worker Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Aug 16, 2015 $49,419
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $49,419
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Dec 01, 2015 $49,419
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Sep 01, 2014 $47,980
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Dec 01, 2014 $47,980
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Dec 15, 2014 $47,980
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Mar 01, 2015 $47,975
Researach Worker Columbia University New York, NY Aug 16, 2012 $47,039
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY May 01, 2012 $47,039
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Sep 15, 2012 $47,039
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Aug 16, 2012 $47,039
Research Worker Columbia University New York, NY Mar 01, 2012 $45,669

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Top Skills for A Chemical Research Worker

  1. Database
  2. DNA
  3. Rt-Pcr
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed Database Management, Lab Management, Project Management, and additional duties listed in Study Coordinator position
  • Pioneer Hi-Bred Dallas Center, IA - Prepare PCR and DNA for processing - Robotics, Computer Programs - General lab maintenance
  • Extracted nucleic acids and studied gene expression using PCR/RT-PCR, restriction digestedVP5 gene and prepped it for cloning.
  • Provided data analysis for molecular breeding efforts.
  • Conducted research on polymer modification and characterization, as well as synthesis of small organic molecules to model complex polymeric systems.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Chemical Research Workers

  1. Virginia
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. North Carolina
  4. New Jersey
  5. Michigan
  6. Illinois
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Maine
  • (266 jobs)
  • (188 jobs)
  • (395 jobs)
  • (182 jobs)
  • (128 jobs)
  • (298 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (257 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)
  • (8 jobs)

Chemical Research Worker Demographics

Gender

Male

43.4%

Female

40.1%

Unknown

16.5%
Ethnicity

White

51.7%

Hispanic or Latino

17.1%

Asian

16.3%

Black or African American

9.0%

Unknown

5.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

33.3%

Urdu

9.5%

French

7.1%

Hindi

7.1%

Chinese

4.8%

Russian

4.8%

Arabic

4.8%

Mandarin

4.8%

Swahili

2.4%

Portuguese

2.4%

Vietnamese

2.4%

Italian

2.4%

Ukrainian

2.4%

Burmese

2.4%

Bengali

2.4%

Tagalog

2.4%

Sanskrit

2.4%

Gujarati

2.4%
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Chemical Research Worker Education

Schools

Iowa State University

19.2%

Des Moines Area Community College

9.0%

University of Texas at Dallas

7.7%

Texas A&M University

6.4%

University of Pittsburgh -

5.1%

University of Tennessee - Martin

5.1%

University of Florida

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University

3.8%

University of California - Davis

3.8%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

3.8%

Grand View University

3.8%

University of Missouri - Columbia

3.8%

University of Houston

3.8%

University of Southern California

3.8%

University of Iowa

3.8%

City University of Seattle

2.6%

Miami University

2.6%

North Carolina State University

2.6%

Simpson College

2.6%

Texas Tech University

2.6%
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Majors

Chemistry

12.4%

Biology

9.3%

Business

7.5%

Computer Science

7.5%

Psychology

6.2%

Mechanical Engineering

6.2%

Public Health

5.6%

Chemical Engineering

5.6%

Electrical Engineering

4.3%

Environmental Science

4.3%

Economics

4.3%

Political Science

4.3%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

3.7%

Biotechnology

3.7%

Accounting

3.1%

Animal Science

2.5%

Plant Sciences

2.5%

Medicine

2.5%

Agricultural Business

2.5%

Physiology And Anatomy

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.5%

Masters

29.3%

Other

14.5%

Doctorate

8.4%

Certificate

3.5%

Associate

3.2%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.3%
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Updated May 19, 2020