Chemistry lab technicians assist with routine testing and monitoring procedures in manufacturing and research and development fields. Technicians analyze data; test products and materials using manual, automated, or chemical processes; produce compounds; record findings; operate lab equipment; develop new chemical processes; and test the stability of products, packaging, or compounds. He or she is responsible for keeping up to date records of lab inventory (such as chemicals, compounds, solvents, and consumables). Chemistry lab technicians are also responsible for submitting requests, negotiating prices, weighing out test samples, maintaining equipment, stocking the lab, processing shipments, and troubleshooting instruments. Technician tasks range a great deal in complexity from testing water pollution levels, to determining the stability of drug products. Lab technicians may be employed for the long-term through a company or fulfill a short-term contract through hiring organizations.
A Bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a similar field is required to become a chemistry lab technician. More advanced degrees may be needed for higher-level positions. One to five years of hands-on work experience with lab procedures, lab equipment, and various chemical compounds is also required. Individuals with more experience may apply for supervisory positions. The ability to work unsupervised, general laboratory etiquette, troubleshooting skills, communication skills, and computer skills are preferred.
The typical average salary of an experienced chemistry lab technician is about $42,100 per year. Starting salaries average around $32,000 per year.