Chemical Laboratory Technician Degree and Training Program Information
A chemical laboratory technician works to develop chemicals and chemical products. Professionals in the field typically have an associate's degree, such as an Associate of Applied Science in Chemical Laboratory Technology. Read on to learn about required courses, the employment outlook for graduates and options for continuing education.
A 2-year associate's degree program for aspiring chemical laboratory technicians should prepare graduates to work in laboratory environments under the supervision of chemical engineers and scientists. Students enrolled in these programs develop a solid understanding of chemical theory and learn how to apply that theory by completing laboratory projects. Classes emphasize chemistry, physics, calculus and engineering. Most programs include courses in laboratory safety, professional communication, technical writing, computer fundamentals and even job searching skills.
Interested students should have a high school diploma and a basic understanding of computer usage before enrolling in an associate's degree program. College students interested in the field are often required to complete general education courses in mathematics, humanities and communication before they can begin core courses.
The courses in an associate's degree program in chemical laboratory technology are typically divided up among four semesters. The first two cover general theories of chemistry and science, while the second two semesters include more laboratory and applied analysis classes. Some examples of course topics may include:
- General chemistry
- Organic chemistry
- Chemistry instrumentation
- General physics
- Engineering physics
- Business communication
- Technical writing
- Safety and health
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical technicians held about 61,000 jobs across the country in 2010 (www.bls.gov). These technicians were employed by architectural firms, engineering firms, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing companies, scientific development services and other manufacturing companies. They earned a median annual salary of $42,920 in 2012, although those technicians working for the federal government earned the highest salaries (www.bls.gov).
Chemical laboratory technicians can often advance to positions as laboratory supervisors by gaining experience on-the-job. A bachelor's degree in chemical science, laboratory management or a similar field might help speed up this process.
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