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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

  • $55,000

    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 Career Paths

Chemist/Laboratory Technician
Chemist Scientist
Senior Scientist
9 Yearsyrs
Chemist Scientist Senior Scientist
Principal Scientist
12 Yearsyrs
Chemist Analytical Chemist
Senior Chemist
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Chemist Senior Scientist Director
Director Of Quality
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Chemist Senior Scientist Manager
Product Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Chemist Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
9 Yearsyrs
Analytical Chemist Scientist
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Analytical Chemist Research Scientist Project Manager
Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Quality Control Supervisor
Quality Control Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Quality Control Supervisor Quality Control Manager
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Quality Control Supervisor Production Manager
Technical Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Research And Development Scientist
Scientist Senior, Research And Development
9 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Research And Development Manager Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Research And Development Manager Program Manager
Associate Director
8 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Analyst Quality Control Analyst Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Analyst Quality Control Analyst Quality Assurance Specialist
Quality Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Analyst Quality Assurance Technician Field Service Technician
Technical Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Laboratory Technician Laboratory Manager Quality Control Manager
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Laboratory Technician Project Manager Technical Project Manager
Technical Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Technician Research And Development Scientist Staff Scientist
Senior Associate Scientist
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Chemist 3.5 years
Chemical Analyst 3.1 years
Chemist Lead 3.0 years
Associate Chemist 3.0 years
Laboratory Analyst 2.9 years
Bench Chemist 2.9 years
Laboratory Chemist 2.8 years
Chemist Assistant 2.5 years
Junior Chemist 2.2 years
Contract Chemist 1.4 years
Top Careers Before Chemist/Laboratory Technician
Chemist 12.6%
Internship 4.9%
Technician 2.3%
Cashier 2.3%
Researcher 2.3%
Top Careers After Chemist/Laboratory Technician
Chemist 23.1%
Scientist 4.9%
Technician 3.3%
Manager 3.3%
Consultant 2.7%
Owner 2.5%

Do you work as a Chemist/Laboratory Technician?

Average Yearly Salary
$55,000
Show Salaries
$40,000
Min 10%
$55,000
Median 50%
$55,000
Median 50%
$55,000
Median 50%
$55,000
Median 50%
$55,000
Median 50%
$55,000
Median 50%
$55,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Momentive Performance Materials
Highest Paying City
Harvey, IL
Highest Paying State
Maine
Avg Experience Level
3.4 years
How much does a Chemist/Laboratory Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Chemist/Laboratory Technician in the United States is $55,160 per year or $27 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $40,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $74,000.

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

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Analytical Methods
  3. Raw Materials
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • calibrated all lab equipment including Hydra AA Hg analyzer, Iris ICP, DV ICP.
  • Develop cleaning validation analytical methods.
  • Re-developed formulations from new raw materials and maintained integrity of product line or improved it.
  • Operate a variety of wet chemistry experiments and vacuum distillations.
  • Performed GC Mass Spectral analysis on soil and water samples for volatile organic compounds.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Chemist/Laboratory Technicians

  1. Maine
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Iowa
  5. Indiana
  6. Minnesota
  7. Michigan
  8. Texas
  9. New Mexico
  10. Tennessee
  • (91 jobs)
  • (356 jobs)
  • (599 jobs)
  • (306 jobs)
  • (339 jobs)
  • (386 jobs)
  • (328 jobs)
  • (1,039 jobs)
  • (91 jobs)
  • (286 jobs)

Chemist/Laboratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

55.9%

Female

34.6%

Unknown

9.5%
Ethnicity

White

58.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.7%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

9.2%

Unknown

5.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.4%

French

11.4%

Hindi

5.7%

Italian

5.7%

Chinese

2.9%

Vietnamese

2.9%

German

2.9%

Urdu

2.9%

Persian

2.9%

Cantonese

2.9%

Mandarin

2.9%

Arabic

2.9%

Gujarati

2.9%
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Chemist/Laboratory Technician Education

Schools

Wayne State University

6.8%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

6.8%

North Carolina State University

6.8%

University of Phoenix

6.8%

Northern Illinois University

6.8%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

5.7%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.5%

Illinois Institute of Technology

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.5%

University of Akron

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.5%

Kent State University

4.5%

Eastern Michigan University

4.5%

University of Houston

4.5%

University of Michigan - Dearborn

4.5%

Colorado Technical University

4.5%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.5%

East Carolina University

3.4%

Ohio University -

3.4%

Bowling Green State University

3.4%
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Majors

Chemistry

47.6%

Biology

16.6%

Business

5.5%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

4.7%

Chemical Engineering

4.5%

Environmental Science

4.0%

Pharmacy

2.0%

Public Health

1.8%

Geology

1.8%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

Materials Sciences

1.6%

Elementary Education

1.0%

Cell Biology And Anatomical Science

1.0%

Engineering

1.0%

Pharmacology

1.0%

Public Relations

1.0%

Biotechnology

1.0%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

0.8%

Industrial Technology

0.8%

Electrical Engineering

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

56.4%

Masters

21.9%

Other

11.2%

Associate

4.0%

Doctorate

4.0%

Certificate

2.0%

Diploma

0.5%
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What Is It Like To Work As A Chemist/Laboratory Technician

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Chemist/Laboratory Technician

October 15, 2019 on Zippia

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Chemist/Laboratory Technician

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