Chemical Technicians

What Chemical Technicians Do

Chemical technicians use special instruments and techniques to assist chemists and chemical engineers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLwKn5W7Bjo

Work Environment

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for chemical technicians was $49,260 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

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.

Duties

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:

Testing laboratories 17%
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing 8
Wholesale trade 4
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.

Work Schedules

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.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Agricultural and food science technicians assist agricultural and food scientists.

Associate’s degree $41,230

Biological Technicians

Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists conduct laboratory tests and experiments.

Bachelor’s degree $45,860

Chemical engineers

Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the use of fuel, drugs, food, and many other products.

Bachelor’s degree $108,770

Chemists and Materials Scientists

Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and analyze the ways in which the substances interact with one another.

Bachelor’s degree $78,790

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

Environmental science and protection technicians monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination.

Associate’s degree $46,540

Forensic science technicians

Forensic Science Technicians

Forensic science technicians aid criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence.

Bachelor’s degree $59,150

Geological and Petroleum Technicians

Geological and petroleum technicians provide support to scientists and engineers in exploring and extracting natural resources.

Associate’s degree $51,130

Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

Bachelor’s degree $53,120

Nuclear Technicians

Nuclear technicians assist physicists, engineers, and other professionals in nuclear research and nuclear energy production.

Associate’s degree $82,080

For more information about chemical technicians, visit

American Chemical Society

American Chemistry Council

O*NET

Chemical Technicians


Suggested citation:

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 ).