What Do Chemical Technicians Do?
A chemical technician has to conduct both chemical and physical laboratory tests. This is done to help scientists make qualitative and quantitative analyses of gaseous, liquid and solid materials for research and the development of new products and processes. These experiments also help with quality control and maintenance of environmental standards. A chemical technician is involved with other work regarding experimental, practical and theoretical application of chemistry and related sciences.It is expected that nationwide this type of position will have an annual increase of about 9%. This will translate into approximately 2,160 new job openings annually.
Chemical Technicians Skills and Abilities
As a chemical technician you have to be able to:
- Understand chemistry, mathematics, computers, processing and the English language.
- Use scientific methods and rules.
- Think critically.
- Read and understand complex materials.
- Monitor your own performance and the performance of your peers.
- Listen actively.
- Adequately communicate through both written and oral communication.
- Order and classify objects according to scientific rules.
- Use both deductive and inductive reasoning.
- See details at close range.
These knowledges, skills and abilities allow chemical technicians to be able to do their job.
Chemical Technicians Duties
A chemical technician will have various duties depending on the type of institution they work for. If you become a chemical technician you may have to:
- Conduct chemical or physical laboratory tests.
- Sterilize, clean and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment.
- Monitor product quality.
- Set up and conduct chemical experiments, analyses and tests using scientific instruments.
- Prepare chemical solutions by following standardized formulas or by creating experimental formulas.
- Help maintain a safe work environment by participating in safety programs and regulations.
- Offer technical support to chemists, engineers and other scientists.
- Develop and conduct programs of analysis and sampling to ensure quality.
- Compile and interpret results.
- Record and order supplies and materials.
- Train new employees.
- Write technical reports and create graphs.
- Develop new chemical engineering processes or techniques for production.
These are just a few of the duties that you may have to do as a chemical technician.
Chemical Technicians Tools and Technologies
Because of the technical aspect of being a chemical technician, there are a lot of scientific tools and technologies that you should be familiar with:
- Exhaust Hoods
- Bunsen Burners
- Laboratory Flasks
- Vacuum Pumps
- Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) Software
- Database Software
- Microsoft Excel and Word
- Microscopes and Other Laboratory Tools
These tools help make the job of a chemical technician more efficient.
Education and Training for Chemical Technicians
In order to become a chemical technician, you have to have an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree. You should take course like:
- Chemical Process Technology
- Chemical Technology
- General and Organic Chemistry
- Chemical Analysis
- Modern Instrumentation
- Biochemistry and Forensic Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering
The degree and the courses help give you the technical knowhow, so you can perform experiments according to scientific rules and methods.
Chemical Technicians Salary
The salary for a chemical technician will depend on the type of degree obtained, the experience, the location and the institution. The average chemical technician in the United States makes about $44,200. The lower 10% make about $27,100 while the upper 10% make about $73,200.
Chemical Technician Jobs by Geography
As you start looking for jobs as a chemical technician, you will find that these types of jobs are more abundant in Texas, California and New York. You will also find that Utah, Colorado and Montana are expected to have the largest growth in the industry. However, when you look at salary you will notice that the average salary in Delaware, Alaska and Louisiana is well above the national average while New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota are well below the average. When you start searching for a job, make sure to consider the cost of living and what the job market is like in each location.