How to Become a Chemical Technician
Laboratory experience provides students with hands-on experience in using various instruments and techniques properly.
Chemical technicians need an associate’s degree or 2 years of postsecondary education for most jobs. Most chemical technicians also receive on-the-job training.
For most jobs, chemical technicians need an associate’s degree in applied science or chemical technology or 2 years of postsecondary education.
Many technical and community colleges offer programs in applied sciences or chemical technology. Students typically take classes in math, physics, and biology, in addition to chemistry courses. Coursework in statistics and computer science is also useful because technicians routinely do data analysis and modeling.
One of the most important aspects of any degree program is laboratory time because it provides students with hands-on practice in conducting experiments and using various instruments and techniques properly. Many schools also offer internships and cooperative-education programs that help students gain employment experience while attending school.
Ability to use technology. Chemical technicians must set up, operate, troubleshoot, and repair sophisticated equipment and instruments. They also may need to adjust the equipment to ensure that experiments and processes are running properly and safely.
Analytical skills. Chemical technicians must conduct scientific experiments with accuracy and precision.
Communication skills. Chemical technicians must explain their work to scientists and engineers, and to workers who may not have a technical background. They often write reports to communicate their results.
Critical-thinking skills. Chemical technicians reach their conclusions through sound reasoning and judgment.
Interpersonal skills. Chemical technicians must work well with others as part of a team because they often work with scientists, engineers, and other technicians.
Observation skills. Chemical technicians must carefully monitor chemical experiments and processes to note any unusual or unexpected results observed during an experiment. They must keep complete records of their work, including conditions and procedures.
Time-management skills. Chemical technicians often work on multiple tasks and projects at the same time and must prioritize their assignments.
Most chemical technicians receive on-the-job training. Typically, experienced technicians teach new employees proper methods and procedures for conducting experiments and operating equipment. The length of training varies with the new employee’s level of experience and education, and the industry the worker is employed in.
Technicians who have a bachelor’s degree may advance to positions as chemical engineers or chemists.