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Laboratory Technicians

"When I got out of high school, I just needed to get a good job as soon as possible. I decided to be a lab tech because I did well in chemistry. Now I'm beginning to see that I could have a real career here, not just a job, so I'm studying to get a B.S. degree to qualify for a position in the product development laboratory."   —David


A Laboratory Technician at Work

David is a quality control associate at a company that uses biotechnology to manufacture chemicals used in food processing. He joined the company six years ago, after getting an associate's degree in laboratory technology at a nearby community college.

David spends his day in the laboratory, where he and two other technicians test samples of the company's products to make sure each batch meets specifications before it is shipped to customers. David is careful to follow the company's written procedures when conducting these tests. He knows that his company depends on him to ensure that they deliver only high quality products.

Just the other day, he got strange test results from an automated chromatography system. After consulting with his supervisor, he found that someone had re-programmed the system for a different test and didn't record the change. Because of his ability to solve problems, David has been given greater responsibility and is now experimenting with new testing methods for a new product. He was happy to find a position that pays well and has good benefits for his family. While the work requires discipline and attention, he enjoys the friendly atmosphere and the encouragement he gets to continue learning new things.

Career Map

If you enjoy doing practical, hands-on science, this could be a good career choice for you.

Skilled laboratory technicians are valuable and responsible employees who have many job options. Scientists in many industry sectors trust laboratory technicians to conduct their research studies and rely on the data collected to make important decisions.

Laboratory technicians spend most of their time working with complex instrumentation and laboratory equipment conducting experiments that:

  • may monitor product quality
  • identify a better way of making a product
  • research a new product
  • solve a criminal case