What Does a Chemical Technician Do? Role, Duties and Salary

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Chemical technicians typically do the following: Monitor chemical processes and test product quality to make sure that they meet standards and specifications. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment. Maintain production equipment and troubleshoot problems.

Chemical Technician Career Video

What does a chemical technician do?

Most of a chemical technicians responsibilities focus on assisting a chemist or chemical engineer. Their duties primarily relate to quality control and safety such as monitoring the storage temperatures of flammable liquids. They also perform administrative tasks like tracking inventory, prioritizing orders, maintaining lab equipment and documenting the processes during each test. Here are other responsibilities a chemical technician might have:

What is a chemical technician?

A chemical technician assists chemists and chemical engineers in developing and testing chemical products. They may test chemicals for impurities, environmental impact, quality assurance or regulatory adherence. They may also perform testing to determine what chemicals a product or sample contains. Chemical technicians ensure organized, safe and efficient work conditions so that the chemist or engineer theyre assisting can complete tests and other work more accurately.

The two most common types of chemical technicians are laboratory technicians and processing technicians. They have similar duties but they make work on vastly different chemicals and projects.

Laboratory technicians work in labs while processing technicians work at chemical manufacturing facilities. Processing technicians typically handle much larger amounts of chemicals than laboratory technicians.

Skills for chemical technicians

Here are skills that can be valuable for a chemical technician:

Technological proficiency

Laboratories contain a lot of complicated instruments and equipment that chemical technicians might use every day. Chemical technicians also often set up the equipment, maintain it and adjust it for different experiments or to counteract an inaccuracy. This means that its important for chemical technicians to feel comfortable with technology and confident when learning new technology.

Observation

An important aspect of chemical technician work is monitoring tests, experiments and chemical processes. This requires careful observation and makes it important that they know what kind of details to observe most closely. They also often have to record their observations in documents like lab notes, reports or spreadsheets.

Analysis

While its important for chemical technicians to have observation skills, its equally important that they can understand and interpret what they observe. Analytical skills can help technicians evaluate their observations and make informed choices. For example, if they observe a small but consistent error in a test, they may use analysis to conclude that theres an issue with the equipment. They can make adjustments so the tests can be as accurate as possible.

Communication

Chemical technicians often have to explain the details of their work, such as tests and their results, to the chemists or chemical engineers they assist. They may also have to explain work to other employees who might not have the same kind of technical science background. This makes strong communication skills important, especially being able to communicate with different audiences. Communication skills also help with teamwork and written communication skills can be valuable for writing reports.

Time management

Its common for chemical technicians to have many tasks and projects at the same time. Strong time management skills can make it significantly easier for technicians to prioritize their tasks. Some factors they may want to consider include deadlines, the importance of the task to the rest of the teams work and the sensitivity of the chemicals involved.

How to get a job as a chemical technician

Here are three steps that can help you become a chemical technician:

1. Earn an associates or bachelors degree

Most chemical technician positions require at least an associates or bachelors degree that included coursework in subjects like chemistry, biology, math and physics. Statistics and computer science can also be valuable coursework to complete for this career. One of the most important aspects of a chemical technicians education is hands-on experience in a laboratory setting. Graduate degrees usually arent required but can be a good idea for career growth.

2. Complete an internship

One valuable way to gain work experience while in school is to find an internship. Internships can give you real-world experience with laboratory conditions, which can be more appealing to employers than only having experience in a school laboratory. Since internships are a common step in becoming a chemical technician, there are usually a wide variety of internship positions available.

3. Get an apprenticeship or other on-the-job training

While youre in school or after you complete your education, you might want to find an apprenticeship. Chemical technicians usually learn by training on the job, and you can start that process early with an apprenticeship. You might also find other positions in laboratories that can give you valuable experience for your future chemical technician career.

Chemical technician salary and job outlook

Chemical technicians often work in laboratories or at chemical manufacturing facilities. Industries that employ chemical technicians include pharmaceutical, food, mining, consumer products and environmental organizations. They usually work as part of a team. Most chemical technicians work full time, but they may occasionally have additional or irregular hours due to project deadlines or if they need to monitor sensitive chemicals and processes.

FAQ

What are the education and training requirements for a chemical technician?

Role: The role of a chemical laboratory technician is to conduct analytical or lab-based tests on a variety of chemicals, materials or products. They typically receive samples and conduct testing for the purposes of quality assurance, safety inspection, regulatory adherence, environmental impact or sample testing.

What does a chemical lab do?

Pros & Cons of Chemical Engineering
  • Excellent Pay and Benefits. Chemical engineers are highly paid professionals. …
  • Intellectually Stimulating Work. Boredom is rarely an issue for chemical engineers. …
  • Potentially Hazardous Working Conditions. …
  • Mixed Job Prospects.

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