How to Become a Chemical Technician 2015-10-23If you enjoy hands-on scientific work in the lab - applying scientific methods, conducting experiments, precisely measuring and recording results - and you loved high school chemistry and math, you may be ready to launch a career as a skilled, scientific professional known as a chemical technician! What do Chemical Technicians do? Chemical technicians are vital contributors to the work of chemists and chemical engineers. They conduct laboratory tests needed to research, develop, and produce chemical products and processes. They may also conduct tests to maintain quality control of chemical products or they may test air and water samples to check pollution levels. Chemical technicians are divided into two groups: Processing technicians and laboratory technicians. Both usually work on teams to accomplish their goals, but processing technicians generally work in chemical manufacturing, while laboratory technicians typically work with scientists conducting laboratory experiments.1 Chemical Technician Education Requirements A common requirement to begin a job as a chemical technician is an associate's degree in Chemical Technology or Applied Science. Two years of post secondary education with coursework in your specific major is also sometimes acceptable. Your education should include classes in chemistry and math as well as physics or biology. Look for programs that offer a lot of lab time, which provides valuable hands-on experience that may appeal to employers. Computer classes are also helpful, as you will likely use computers in your daily work to analyze data and create models. On average, it will take about 2 years to complete your education for this field. Once hired, you will likely receive additional on the job training. Chemical technicians are expected to be able to use sophisticated equipment and instruments effectively. They should have strong analytical and critical thinking skills and should be keen ob-servers. Since most chemical technicians work as a part of a team, interpersonal and communication skills are vital as well.2 How Much do Chemical Technicians Make? If being a chemical technician sounds like your dream job, by now you may be wondering, "How much does a chemical technician make?" The median annual salary as of May 2012 was $44,180 as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.3 The top ten percent earned more than $73,160 annually, with those working in basic chemical manufacturing, re-search and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences, and pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing earning slightly more on average than those working in colleges, universities, and testing laboratories.4 Please keep in mind employment and income cannot be guaranteed by any educational institution for students or graduates. Additionally, salary data cited in this article is based on median data provided by the United States Department of Labor, does not reflect starting or entry level salaries, and can vary widely based on geographic location. 1 http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemical-technicians.htm 2 http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemical-technicians.htm 3 http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/chemical-technicians.htm 4 http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/careers/college-to-career/chemistry-careers/chemical-technology.html *Person pictured is not a Remington College student or graduate.