Chemical Technician Job Description
Chemical technicians conduct experiments using laboratory equipment to research, develop, and test chemical products and processes. Typically, chemical technicians work in laboratories in teams with chemists or chemical engineers. Most chemical technicians work full-time but may need to work overtime to meet deadlines or solve complex issues. People who enjoy analyzing data, finding solutions to problems, and applying critical thought to their work will enjoy working as a chemical technician. This role is well suited to organized, technically-minded people with a passion for science.
Chemical Technician Duties and Responsibilities
The organizations chemical technicians work for determine their duties and responsibilities. Based on job listings we analyzed, a chemical technician’s core duties typically involve:
Monitor chemical processes
Chemical technicians are responsible for testing the quality of different products to meet compliance standards and specifications, analyzing compounds to test the concentration of different substances, and observing chemical processes for safety and analysis.
Sometimes equipment or processes may malfunction, or a chemical solution may not behave in the way it was expected to. During these occasions, chemical technicians look at what the issue may be and find a solution to fix the problem.
Set up laboratory equipment
In preparation for experiments, chemical technicians set up the necessary laboratory equipment and ensure that the equipment and the work area are cleaned thoroughly afterward. This can sometimes involve preparing chemical solutions, as well as ensuring that hazardous materials are removed once the experiment is over.
Chemical technicians carry out tests on different solutions, compounds, or products to analyze them for a variety of purposes, including research and development. This data informs future processes and whether or not the product is safe to use.
Create technical reports
Once experiments have been carried out, chemical technicians produce technical guidance and reports on their findings, both for their immediate team and superiors and for other departments that might not have technical knowledge. This may involve giving presentations on their findings.
Chemical Technician Skills and Qualifications
Great chemical technicians usually have great observational skills. Typically, an associate’s degree in applied science is required for this role, as well as the following abilities:
- Analytical thinking – chemical technicians analyze information precisely, extracting the data they need and observing important details or problems as they arise
- Communication skills – a key part of chemical technicians’ role is to explain their findings to other people, including scientists and engineers, and members of other teams who may not have a technical background; strong speaking and writing abilities aid in the production of effective and clear reports
- Time management – chemical technicians often work on a variety of different projects, experiments, and tasks simultaneously, so the ability to prioritize assignments and manage their time effectively is important
- Technical aptitude – an ability to apply technical skills is central to success as a chemical technician, as is a good understanding of statistical and research methods
- Attention to detail – to run experiments accurately and safely when using chemical compounds and to analyze experiments and data
Chemical Technician Education and Training
The minimum requirement to become a chemical technician is an associate’s degree in applied science or chemical technology, or two years of postsecondary education. The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) is the most common degree held by chemical technicians. Students studying for this career usually take classes in math, physics, and biology, as well as chemistry courses. Chemical technicians often carry out data analysis or data modeling so an understanding of statistics and computer science is beneficial. Many schools offer internships that help students gain work experience while they’re in school. Most of the training a chemical technician receives will be on the job.
Chemical Technician Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for chemical technicians is nearly $46,000. Chemical technicians in the 10th percentile earn around $27,000, while the highest paid earn over $76,000 a year. Some companies offer a bonus structure that can amount to $5,000. Many organizations provide health benefits such as medical or dental plans. The amount of experience an applicant has greatly impacts the salary for this position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate for this sector is expected to grow by four percent through 2026.
Chemical Technician Helpful Resources
We’ve collected some of the best resources and tools you’ll need to succeed in a career as a chemical technician career:
Chemical Technology Handbook – This useful guide covers all the basics of chemical technology, from safety procedures in the laboratory to the notation, interpretation, and use of data.
Chemical Technicians’ Ready Reference Handbook – Renowned as a classic in the field, this book has been updated to reflect the latest developments in chemical technology. It covers step-by-step directions for performing a range of laboratory tasks as well as a comprehensive guide to processes.
American Chemical Society – ACS is the largest scientific society in the world, with over 150,000 members in more than 140 countries. This is the perfect place network and build an in-depth knowledge of the latest chemistry news and findings.
ChemSpider – This free database provides a structure search function to enable access to over 63 million chemical structures from hundreds of data sources. A comprehensive online tool, this is useful for students and experienced chemical technicians alike.
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