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Career profile Chemical Technician

Also known as Chemical Analyst, Chemical Technician, Formulation Technician, Laboratory Analyst (Lab Analyst), Laboratory Technician (Lab Tech), Laboratory Tester (Lab Tester), Organic Preparation Analyst (Organic Prep Analyst), Quality Control Technician (QC Technician), Research Technician, Water Quality Technician

Chemical Technician

Also known as Chemical Analyst, Chemical Technician, Formulation Technician

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$31,720 - $81,260 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Science
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Conduct chemical or physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative or quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, or gaseous materials.
  • Maintain, clean, or sterilize laboratory instruments or equipment.
  • Monitor product quality to ensure compliance with standards and specifications.
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What does a Chemical Technician do?

Chemical Technicians conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.

What kind of tasks does a Chemical Technician perform regularly?

Chemical Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Conduct chemical or physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative or quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, or gaseous materials.
  • Maintain, clean, or sterilize laboratory instruments or equipment.
  • Monitor product quality to ensure compliance with standards and specifications.
  • Set up and conduct chemical experiments, tests, and analyses, using techniques such as chromatography, spectroscopy, physical or chemical separation techniques, or microscopy.
  • Prepare chemical solutions for products or processes, following standardized formulas, or create experimental formulas.
  • Compile and interpret results of tests and analyses.
  • Provide and maintain a safe work environment by participating in safety programs, committees, or teams and by conducting laboratory or plant safety audits.
  • Provide technical support or assistance to chemists or engineers.
  • Develop or conduct programs of sampling and analysis to maintain quality standards of raw materials, chemical intermediates, or products.
  • Train new employees on topics such as the proper operation of laboratory equipment.
  • Write technical reports or prepare graphs or charts to document experimental results.
  • Order and inventory materials to maintain supplies.

The above responsibilities are specific to Chemical Technicians. More generally, Chemical Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is a Chemical Technician salary?

The median salary for a Chemical Technician is $49,820, and the average salary is $53,700. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Chemical Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Chemical Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Chemical Technicians earn less than $31,720 per year, 25% earn less than $38,380, 75% earn less than $64,700, and 90% earn less than $81,260.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Chemical Technicians is expected to change by 5.1%, and there should be roughly 7,500 open positions for Chemical Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$49,820
Typical salary range
$31,720 - $81,260
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
5.1%

What personality traits are common among Chemical Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Chemical Technician are usually higher in their Investigative, Realistic, and Conventional interests.

Chemical Technicians typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Chemical Technicians typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Chemical Technicians typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Chemical Technician tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Chemical Technicians strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Chemical Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Chemical Technicians moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Chemical Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, integrity, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Chemical Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Chemical Technicians need?

Chemical Technicians often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Chemical Technicians usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Chemical Technicians

  • 2.8% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 24.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 22.9% completed some college coursework
  • 11.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 31.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 5.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 2.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Chemical Technicians

Chemical Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as chemistry, mathematics, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Chemical Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Chemistry
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Important Abilities needed by Chemical Technicians

Chemical Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Chemical Technicians need abilities such as near vision, written comprehension, and written expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Chemical Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Critical Skills needed by Chemical Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Chemical Technicians frequently use skills like science, reading comprehension, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Chemical Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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