The job of chemical technician calls for assisting chemists and chemical engineers in conducting their work. They are typically in charge of organizing lab equipment such as test tubes beakers and Bunsen burners and making sure these items are in proper working order conducting much of the everyday lab work tabulating the results of the work and entering this data into the computer and keeping coworkers on the research team apprised about the progress of the lab work.
Chemical technicians must be meticulous detail-oriented and able to follow directions to the letter. They should also be able to communicate with co-workers as to the progress of the work. In addition it is crucial that they be fully aware of safety issues when handling chemicals that are toxic. Chemical technicians work for private companies or manufacturing plants where new products are being tested or developed.
Many of them specialize in a particular type of lab work such as production of drugs or food processing. However some work in labs in universities government facilities or hospitals. Some employers hire individuals with high school diplomas and give them on-the-job training or they may work as assistants for a certain period of training. Some employers pay for them to take technical or college courses.
In general chemical technicians are expected to eventually complete some post-secondary courses in chemistry and mathematics at a technical institute or college ideally earning a two-year associates degree in fields such as science technology lab technology or chemical technology.
According to the American Chemical Society the prospects for chemical technicians are positive because of increased need in medical and environmental labs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary is $43000 though some can earn up to $60000.