What does a chemical technician do?
Chemical technicians work with chemists, chemical engineers, and other professionals that develop, produce, and use items involving chemicals. They process chemicals and carry out a variety of experiments. They combine or separate many different chemicals using various techniques. They also complete orders and document their activities in reports. They seek out ways to improve current products and processes. Chemical technicians use a variety of specialized equipment such as Bunsen burners, test tubes, and electronic equipment. They are usually responsible for maintaining the equipment. Chemical technicians are often classified as either process control technicians that work in manufacturing or industrial plants and research technicians that work in experimental laboratories. Many also specialize in a specific area such as the production of medication or food processing.
What kind of training does a chemical technician need?
Chemical technicians need at least a high school diploma but most employers prefer candidates with post-secondary training in applied science or related field. Some chemical technicians have a bachelor degree in chemistry. Formal training programs typically combine classroom instruction and practical experience. Many prospective chemical technicians complete internships or hold part time jobs in laboratories to gain additional hands-on experience. Most employers provide on the job training and chemical technicians with post-secondary training require less intensive on the job training. Chemical technicians must stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a chemical technician?
Employment of chemical technicians is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 6% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The decline in the chemical manufacturing industry will slow job growth, but increased concentration on quality assurance will create some demand for chemical technicians.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially for chemical technicians with advanced training and experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace chemical technicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do chemical technicians make?
As of November 2009, the middle 50% of chemical technicians earn annual salaries between $34,161 and $45,616. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $52,180 (2).
A career as a chemical technician is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in working with a variety of chemicals and related processes. Chemical technicians must enjoy working with details and use a variety of research skills and experimental methods. Good problem solving, organization, analytical thinking, and mechanical aptitude are desirable characteristics. Chemical technicians must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be able to work with others.