As a chemical technician, your duty will be to use laboratory instruments and techniques to assist chemists and chemical engineers in researching, developing, producing, and testing chemical products and processes. You might work with agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, or industrial chemicals to develop new products or to research methods that make working with and disposing of chemicals safe for everyone.
The tasks that you will perform in this capacity include applying, evaluating, and improving chemical processes, recording results meticulously, and reporting all deviations from optimum.
Furthermore, they are responsible for conducting quality control and safety surveys and log results across time for different sites and setting up, operating, and maintaining equipment to create, disseminate, use, or apply chemicals.
Individuals holding a two-year degree in applied sciences or chemical technology is becoming the standard requirement for many employers. In addition, those who are well trained in the use of laboratory equipment will have the best job opportunities.
The average annual salary for this position is $35,788. Furthermore, the job is projected to grow further in the near future, resulting in more job opportunities.
Chemical technicians use laboratory instruments and techniques to help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, produce, and test chemical products and processes.
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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As you move along in your career, you may start taking on more responsibilities or notice that you've taken on a leadership role. Using our career map, a Chemical Technician can determine their career goals through the career progression. For example, they could start out with a role such as Chemist, progress to a title such as Scientist and then eventually end up with the title Senior Research Associate.
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Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Chemical Technician. The best states for people in this position are Maryland, Michigan, Kentucky, and New Mexico. Chemical Technicians make the most in Maryland with an average salary of $54,748. Whereas in Michigan and Kentucky, they would average $49,845 and $49,078, respectively. While Chemical Technicians would only make an average of $48,793 in New Mexico, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.