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Become A Chemist/Laboratory Technician

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Working As A Chemist/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

  • $59,053

    Average Salary

What Does A Chemist/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 A Chemist/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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Chemist/Laboratory Technician Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Chief Chemist 5.3 years
Chemist Scientist 4.4 years
Project Chemist 4.2 years
Process Chemist 3.4 years
Chemist 3.3 years
Analytical Chemist 3.1 years
Associate Chemist 3.0 years
Laboratory Analyst 2.8 years
Laboratory Chemist 2.6 years
Junior Chemist 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Chemist 12.4%
Internship 5.6%
Technician 2.0%
Instructor 2.0%
Top Employers After
Chemist 18.8%
Scientist 5.4%
Manager 4.2%

Do you work as a Chemist/Laboratory Technician?

Chemist/Laboratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

61.5%

Female

35.9%

Unknown

2.5%
Ethnicity

White

59.0%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

9.1%

Unknown

5.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.6%

French

7.1%

Italian

7.1%

Chinese

3.6%

Vietnamese

3.6%

German

3.6%

Urdu

3.6%

Persian

3.6%

Hindi

3.6%

Cantonese

3.6%

Mandarin

3.6%

Arabic

3.6%
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Chemist/Laboratory Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

7.8%

Wayne State University

6.3%

University of Houston

6.3%

North Carolina State University

6.3%

Northern Illinois University

6.3%

Eastern Michigan University

4.7%

Texas Tech University

4.7%

University of Central Florida

4.7%

Youngstown State University

4.7%

Drexel University

4.7%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.7%

Lehigh University

4.7%

Illinois Institute of Technology

4.7%

Western Michigan University

4.7%

Old Dominion University

4.7%

Kent State University

4.7%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.7%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

4.7%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

3.1%

Rowan University

3.1%
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Majors

Chemistry

48.5%

Biology

16.0%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

5.2%

Chemical Engineering

4.6%

Business

4.3%

Environmental Science

4.0%

Geology

2.5%

Criminal Justice

1.9%

Public Health

1.5%

Elementary Education

1.5%

Industrial Technology

1.2%

Pharmacology

1.2%

Biomedical Sciences

0.9%

Electrical Engineering

0.9%

Management

0.9%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

0.9%

Public Relations

0.9%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

0.9%

Engineering

0.9%

Biotechnology

0.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

56.7%

Masters

20.8%

Other

12.3%

Associate

4.1%

Doctorate

3.4%

Certificate

2.2%

Diploma

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Chemist/Laboratory Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Technical Service Chemist Momentive Speciality Chemicals Inc. Stafford, TX Apr 20, 2015 $89,150
Technical Service Chemist Seppic Inc. Newark, DE Aug 30, 2016 $76,500
Technical Service Chemist Momentive Specialty Chemicals, Inc. Stafford, TX Dec 05, 2014 $73,000 -
$79,000
Technical Services Chemist Momentive Specialty Chemicals, Inc. Stafford, TX Dec 05, 2011 $68,078 -
$96,000
Technical Service Chemist-Thermoplastic Compound BYK USA Inc. Wallingford, CT Aug 21, 2014 $65,000
Lab Chemist/Technician SRG Global, Inc. Taylor, MI Feb 15, 2010 $57,720
Technical Service Chemist Thatcher Group, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Jul 06, 2016 $56,992
International Technical Service Chemist Peterson Chemicals, Inc. Fort Smith, AR Sep 17, 2016 $50,461
International Technical Service Chemist Peterson Chemicals, Inc. Fort Smith, AR Sep 11, 2014 $50,040
International Technical Service Chemist Peterson Chemicals, Inc. Fort Smith, AR Sep 20, 2014 $50,040
Technical Services Chemist Thatcher Group, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Jun 09, 2016 $50,000
Technical Services Chemist Thatcher Company Salt Lake City, UT Jan 20, 2015 $50,000
Technical Services Chemist Thatcher Company Salt Lake City, UT Sep 06, 2013 $50,000
Chemist/Lab Technician Inspectorate America Corporation Beaumont, TX Aug 25, 2014 $48,627
International Technical Service Chemist Peterson Chemicals, Inc. Fort Smith, AR Sep 24, 2016 $41,829

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Top Skills for A Chemist/Laboratory Technician

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  1. Lab
  2. Methods
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided lab samples for customer evaluations to determine the physical properties and ultimately customer satisfaction in moving toward a commercial product.
  • Designed rapid and novel methods for analyzing product susceptibilities to microbial attack.
  • Conducted announced and unannounced external quality audits of toll manufacturers' processing procedures to ensure product compliance.
  • Created and maintained Material Safety Data Sheets and Confidentiality Agreements.
  • Re-developed formulations from new raw materials and maintained integrity of product line or improved it.

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Top 10 Best States for Chemist/Laboratory Technicians

  1. Alaska
  2. Louisiana
  3. Texas
  4. West Virginia
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Nebraska
  7. New Jersey
  8. Delaware
  9. Alabama
  10. Nevada
  • (33 jobs)
  • (147 jobs)
  • (1,039 jobs)
  • (60 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (96 jobs)
  • (478 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (183 jobs)
  • (85 jobs)

Top Chemist/Laboratory Technician Employers

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Jobs From Top Chemist/Laboratory Technician Employers

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