What Chemical Technicians Do
Chemical technicians use special instruments and techniques to assist chemists and chemical engineers.
Technicians typically work in laboratories, where they conduct experiments, or in manufacturing facilities, such as chemical or pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, where they monitor production processes. Most technicians work full time.
How to Become a Chemical Technician
Chemical technicians need an associate’s degree or 2 years of postsecondary education for most jobs. Most chemical technicians receive on-the-job training.
The median annual wage for chemical technicians was $49,260 in May 2019.
Employment of chemical technicians is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Graduates of applied science technology programs who are trained to use equipment typically found in laboratories or production facilities should have the best opportunities.
Chemical technicians use laboratory instruments and techniques to help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, produce, and test chemical products and processes.
Chemical technicians typically do the following:
- Monitor chemical processes and test the quality of products to make sure that they meet standards and specifications
- Set up and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment
- Troubleshoot production problems or malfunctioning instruments
- Prepare chemical solutions
- Conduct, compile, and interpret results of chemical and physical experiments, tests, and analyses for a variety of purposes, including research and development
- Prepare technical reports, graphs, and charts, and give presentations that summarize their results
Most chemical technicians work on teams. Typically, they are led by chemists or chemical engineers who direct their work and evaluate their results. However, they may serve as mentors to chemists who are new to a lab or to a specialized area of research.
Technicians who work in laboratories may help conduct experiments that contribute to research and development. For example, some chemical technicians help chemists and other scientists develop new medicines. In this way, chemical technicians often bridge the gap in knowledge remaining when a chemist moves on to a new assignment.
Other chemical technicians work in manufacturing and assist in developing more efficient production processes.
Chemical technicians held about 68,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of chemical technicians were as follows:
|Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing||8|
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private||3|
Chemical technicians typically work in laboratories or in industrial facilities such as chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants.
Injuries and Illnesses
Chemical technicians can be exposed to health or safety hazards when handling certain chemicals and plant equipment, but there is little risk if proper procedures are followed.
Most technicians work full time. Occasionally, they may have to work additional hours to meet project deadlines or troubleshoot problems with manufacturing processes. Some may work irregular hours to monitor laboratory experiments or plant operations.
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of chemical technicians.
For more information about chemical technicians, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chemical Technicians,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemical-technicians.htm (visited ).