How to Become a Chemical Technician


Those who become chemical technicians typically enjoy working in a laboratory setting and a team atmosphere. They are individuals that are comfortable communicating their findings and opinion, and taking direction from others.


Chemical technicians must be manually dexterous in order to utilize specialized equipment and conduct laboratory testing. They must also be able to competently use various computer programs, such computer modeling programs.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a chemical technician. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Chemical Technician

You'll likely need to at least have a diploma or a certificate from a chemical technology program at a college or trade school. Some employers may require you to have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a closely related field, such as chemical engineering or biochemistry, in order to work as a chemical technologist. 


Whether you take a diploma, certificate or degree program, courses in chemistry, computer modeling, mathematics, and statistics, as well as courses that teach you hands-on laboratory skills and management will give you the knowledge you need to succeed in this field. The specific educational requirements to get a job in this field however are at the discretion of each employer.


Typically, the more skill and experience you have in a laboratory setting, and the more knowledge you have of basic applied chemistry and mathematics, the more attractive you are to a potential employer, as you will require less on-the-job training.





General Job Description

Chemical technicians are responsible for conducting chemical laboratory tests in order to assist scientists in work involving experimental, theoretical or practical applications of chemistry, such as product development, quality control and the development of environmental standards.



Common Job Duties

• Monitor the quality of products in order to ensure compliance with industry standards and specifications

• Plan and execute chemical tests using microscopy, chromatography, spectroscopy and other techniques

• Conduct chemical tests to assist scientists in performing qualitative and quantitative analysis of solid, liquid and gaseous materials

• Analyze and interpret the results of testing

• Provide chemists and other scientists with technical support and assistance

• Order materials and supplies as needed

• Develop and conduct programs of sampling and analysis to maintain quality standards of raw materials, chemical intermediates, and products



Who Employs Chemical Technicians?

Chemical technicians are hired by organizations that conduct testing, research, experimentation and analysis regarding the properties and applications of chemicals. Such organizations include:


• Colleges and universities

• Chemical, mining, metallurgic, agricultural biotechnology, pharmaceutical or food production companies

• Environmental testing and management organizations

• Private research organizations

• Government agencies, such as health or environmental control agencies



Skills and Traits Needed to Be Successful

To be successful in a career as a chemical technician, you need to posses certain skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will enable you to perform your job with competence, as well as help you to endure the ups and downs of this career.


• Able to monitor experiments and tests in multiple labs

• High level of mechanical aptitude

• Excellent observational abilities and able to pay close attention to detail

• Able to work with hands, as well as use analytical abilities

• Desire to learn new skills

• Able to follow protocol without taking shortcuts

• Willingness to accept responsibility for work activities

• Able to commit to finishing projects

• A solid background in basic and applied chemistry

• Skills in using various kinds of equipment and standard labware





Average Salary Level

The salary level of chemical technicians can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many others.


Salary - Canada (Alberta): According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey (the latest figures available as of the time of writing - July 3, 2019), Albertans working in the Chemical Technologists and Technicians occupational group earn an average of between $31.01 and $38.25 per hour. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available for other Canadian provinces at the time of writing.


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of workers in the Chemical Technicians occupational is $42,040 per year.



Similar Professions

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to chemical technologist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Biological Technologist

Chemical Analyst

Chemical Information Specialist

Clinical Technician

Medical Laboratory Technologist



Job Postings in the Field

Our job board below has "chemical technician" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.



References For This Career Guide

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a chemical technician.


Occupations in Alberta:Chemical Technologist.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 3, 2019.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Chemical Technicians.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 3, 2019.

College to Career:Chemical Technology.” AGCAS editors (n.d.). American Chemical Society website. Retrieved November 3, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Chemical Technician

Scholarships for fields of study that are relevant for becoming a chemical technician can be found on our Chemistry Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant College & University Majors

The majors listed below are highly relevant to this career, and can help set a great foundation for it. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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