Chemical technician essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $42,920
- 2012 number of jobs: 61,300
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 7 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: Associate’s degree
Chemical technicians; what they do:
The more complicated your work, the more likely you’ll need an assistant. Chemical technicians fill that role for scientists. Chemical technicians conduct laboratory tests to help make qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids and gaseous materials for research and development, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.
Most chemical technicians work on teams, with chemists or chemical engineers directing their work and evaluating their results. The duties of chemical techs often depend on where they work.
Chemical lab technician careers typically involve conducting experiments and analyzing compounds produced through complex chemical processes.
A chemical lab tech career may include analyzing samples of air and water to monitor pollution levels. A chemical lab tech career also usually includes setting up and maintaining lab equipment and instruments.
Another type of chemical technician, a processing technician, monitors the quality of products and processes at chemical manufacturing facilities. They also test product packaging to ensure they’re designed to hold up well and won’t harm the environment.
Chemical technicians duties:
- Monitoring product quality to ensure compliance with specifications and standards
- Conducting chemical or physical lab tests to help scientists analyze solids, liquids or gases
- Compiling and interpreting results of tests and analyses
- Providing and maintaining a safe work environment
- Setting up and conducting experiments
- Ordering and inventorying materials
- Preparing chemical solutions for products and procedures
- Maintaining, cleaning or sterilizing lab instruments and equipment
- Providing technical support or assistance to chemists or engineers
- Documenting experiments’ results
Chemical technicians job titles:
- Chemical Laboratory Technician
- Chemical Lab Technician
- Chemical Tech
- Laboratory Analyst
- Analytical lab technician
- Research Technician
- Research and development technician
- Formulation technician
- Lab tester
- Lab tech
Chemical Technicians Education, Certification and License Requirements
People seeking a chemical technician career need an Associate in Applied Science degree or an Associate in Chemical Technology degree. Most chemical lab technicians receive on-the-job training.
Chemical technicians programs cover subjects such as:
- General physics
- Engineering physics
- Business communication
- Technical writing
- Safety and health
- Computer science
- General chemistry
- Organic chemistry
- Chemistry instrumentation
Chemical Technicians Job Outlook
Forecast: 7 percent employment growth in jobs for chemical technicians from 2010 to 2020.
Employers hire chemical techs to work in research and development and to monitor the quality of products and procedures. Greater interest in environmental issues, such as pollution control and clean energy, increases the demand for chemical technicians.
Those seeking a chemical technician career who graduated from applied science technology programs have the best prospects due to their training in the use of equipment standard to modern laboratories or production facilities. Openings for chemical techs should also increase from the need to replace Chemical technicians who retire.
Chemical Technicians Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $42,920
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $56,720
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $32,940
- Architectural, engineering and related services
- Scientific research and developmental services
- Basic chemical manufacturing
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing