Summary Report for:
19-4031.00 - Chemical Technicians
Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.
Sample of reported job titles: Chemical Analyst, Chemical Technician, Formulation Technician, Laboratory Analyst (Lab Analyst), Laboratory Technician (Lab Tech), Laboratory Tester (Lab Tester), Organic Preparation Analyst (Organic Prep Analyst), Quality Control Technician (QC Technician), Research Technician, Water Quality Technician
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Conduct chemical or physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative or quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, or gaseous materials.
- Maintain, clean, or sterilize laboratory instruments or equipment.
- Set up and conduct chemical experiments, tests, and analyses, using techniques such as chromatography, spectroscopy, physical or chemical separation techniques, or microscopy.
- Monitor product quality to ensure compliance with standards and specifications.
- Prepare chemical solutions for products or processes, following standardized formulas, or create experimental formulas.
- Provide and maintain a safe work environment by participating in safety programs, committees, or teams and by conducting laboratory or plant safety audits.
- Provide technical support or assistance to chemists or engineers.
- Train new employees on topics such as the proper operation of laboratory equipment.
- Order and inventory materials to maintain supplies.
- Compile and interpret results of tests and analyses.
- Develop or conduct programs of sampling and analysis to maintain quality standards of raw materials, chemical intermediates, or products.
- Write technical reports or prepare graphs or charts to document experimental results.
- Direct or monitor other workers producing chemical products.
- Design or fabricate experimental apparatus to develop new products or processes.
- Operate experimental pilot plants, assisting with experimental design.
- Develop new chemical engineering processes or production techniques.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Air or gas tanks or cylinders — Lecture bottles
- Air velocity and temperature monitors — Velometers
- Atomic absorption AA spectrometers — Atomic absorption AA spectroscopes
- Barometers — Aneroid barometers; Mercury barometers
- Bench refractometers or polarimeters — Abbe refractometers; Differential refractometers
- Benchtop centrifuges
- Bi metallic sensors — Bimetallic strip thermometers
- Binocular light compound microscopes — Optical compound microscopes
- Calorimeters — Bomb calorimeters; Differential scanning calorimeters
- Ceramic crucibles — Gooch crucibles
- Chromatographic detectors — Ultraviolet UV light detectors
- Chromatography syringes — Chromatography microsyringes
- Chromatography tubing — Photomultiplier tubes
- Cuvettes — Plastic cuvettes
- Decontamination shower — Safety showers
- Desktop computers
- Dissolved oxygen meters
- Drying cabinets or ovens — Laboratory drying ovens
- Electronic toploading balances
- Eyewashers or eye wash stations — Eyewash fountains
- Facial shields — Face shields
- Filtering machinery — Filter pumps
- Fire extinguishers
- Flame ionization analyzers — Flame ionization detectors FID
- Flowmeters — Bubble flow meters
- Fractionation apparatus — Bubble-cap fractionating columns; Molecular stills
- Freezedryers or lyophilzers — Lyophilizers
- Fume hoods or cupboards — Exhaust hoods; Explosion-proof fume hoods; Perchloric acid hoods; Radioisotope fume hoods
- Gas burners — Bunsen burners; Laminar flow burners; Meker burners
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatography equipment
- Gas detectors — Gas leak detectors
- Gas masks — Canister gas masks
- Geiger counters — Geiger-Muller counters
- Glass crucibles — Glass laboratory crucibles
- Goggles — Safety goggles
- Gravimeters — Gravitational field indicators
- Handheld thermometer — Beckmann thermometers; Digital handheld thermometers
- Hazardous material protective apparel — Hazardous material protective clothing
- Heating mantles or tapes — Heating mantles
- Heating or drying equipment or accessories — Dessicators; Steam baths
- High pressure liquid chromatograph chromatography — High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
- High pressure sodium lamp HID — High pressure sodium lamps
- Hot air blowers
- Immersion heaters
- Inductively coupled plasma ICP spectrometers — Atomic emissions spectroscopes
- Infrared lamps
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transfer infrared FTIR spectrometers; Infrared IR spectroscopes
- Ion analyzers — Photo detectors
- Ion chromatographs — Ion exchange chromatography equipment
- Laboratory balances — Single-pan balances; Torsion balances; Unequal-arm balances; Westphal balances
- Laboratory blenders or emulsifiers — Laboratory blenders
- Laboratory box furnaces — Muffle furnaces
- Laboratory burets — Glass burets
- Laboratory centrifugal pumps
- Laboratory clamps — Test tube clamps; Utility clamps
- Laboratory cork borers — Cork borer sets
- Laboratory crushers or pulverizers — Sample crushers
- Laboratory dishes — Evaporating dishes
- Laboratory flasks — Claisen flasks; Reaction flasks; Vacuum flask traps; Volumetric flasks
- Laboratory funnels — Buchner funnels; Hirsch funnels
- Laboratory general purpose tubing — Capillary tubing; Gas drying tubes
- Laboratory glass tube — Glass tubing
- Laboratory heat exchange condensers — Distilling condensers; Reflux condensers
- Laboratory hotplates — Laboratory heating plates
- Laboratory mechanical convection ovens — Gravity convection ovens
- Laboratory mills — Ball mills
- Laboratory mixers — Agitation tanks; Magnetic agitators
- Laboratory presses — Laboratory pressing equipment
- Laboratory sprayers — Nebulizers
- Laboratory staining dishes or jars — Bell jars
- Laboratory tongs
- Laboratory vacuum pumps — Computer-controlled pumps; Diffusion pumps; Volume displacement pumps; Water aspirators (see all 5 examples)
- Lasers — Dye lasers; Ruby lasers
- Liquid chromatographs — Liquid chromatography equipment
- Liquid scintillation counters — Fluid scintillation counters
- Magnetic stirrers — Magnetic stirring bars
- Mainframe computers
- Manometers — Closed-end manometers; U-tube manometers
- Manostats — Cartesian manostats
- Mass spectrometers — Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry LC/MS equipment
- Mercury vapor lamp HID — Mercury vapor lamps
- Metering pumps
- Multi gas monitors — Vapor monitor badges
- Nuclear magnetic resonance NMR spectrometers — Nuclear magnetic resonance NMR spectroscopes
- Optical beamsplitters — Optical beamsplitting devices
- Organic carbon analyzers
- Pasteur or transfer pipettes — Transfer pipettes
- Peristaltic pumps — Liquid transfer pumps
- Personal computers
- Pestle or mortars — Mortars and pestles
- pH meters — pH indicators
- Photoelectric sensors — Photocells
- Photometers — Flame photometers
- Pipette washers — Automatic buret cleaners; Automatic pipette cleaners
- Polarimeters — Automated polarimeters
- Pressure indicators — Bourdon gauges; Pressure gauges
- Programmable tube furnaces — Graphite furnaces
- Protective gloves — Asbestos gloves; Safety gloves
- Pull spring balances
- Pyrometers — Optical pyrometers
- Radiation detectors
- Refrigerated baths — Cooling baths
- Refrigerated cooling modules — Refrigerated coolers
- Remote reading thermometers — Liquid-filled remote thermometers
- Respirators — Dust and particulate respirators
- Robotic or automated liquid handling systems — Automatic burets
- Safety glasses
- Scientific calculator — Graphing calculators
- Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters — Fluorimeters; Ultraviolet UV spectroscopes
- Spectrophotometer accessories — Deuterium lamps; Hollow cathode lamps
- Syringe pumps — Finger pumps
- Tensiometers — Tension gauges
- Thermal conductivity analyzers — Thermal conductivity detectors
- Thin layer chromatography tanks — Chromatography developing tanks
- Thinlayer chromatographs — Thinlayer chromatography analyzers
- Titration equipment — Autotitrators; Titrators
- Triple beam balances
- Ultraviolet UV lamps
- Vacuum desiccators — Drying pistols
- Vacuum gauges — Ionization gauges; McLeod gauges; Pirani gauges
- Vacuum or rotary evaporators — Evaporator rotators; Rotary evaporators
- Viscosimeters — Automated microviscometers; Viscosity meters
- Voltage or current meters — Voltmeters
- Volumetric pipettes — Volumetric glass pipettes
- Water baths — Constant temperature water baths
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — Laboratory information management system LIMS software
- Data base user interface and query software — Database software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Detailed Work Activities
- Evaluate quality of materials or products.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Interpret research or operational data.
- Analyze chemical compounds or substances.
- Clean objects.
- Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.
- Set up laboratory or field equipment.
- Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Prepare compounds or solutions for products or testing.
- Operate laboratory or field equipment.
- Develop new or advanced products or production methods.
- Manage scientific or technical project resources.
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 98% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 69% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 60% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 50% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 44% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Contact With Others — 52% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
- Consequence of Error — 56% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 13% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 41% responded “Some freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 70% responded “Some freedom.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 44% responded “High responsibility.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 41% responded “Important results.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 29% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 41% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 54% responded “40 hours.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Physical Proximity — 37% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “High responsibility.”
- Telephone — 32% responded “Never.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 43% responded “Less than half the time.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|22||High school diploma or equivalent|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IRC
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$21.24 hourly, $44,180 annual|
|Employment (2014)||67,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Slower than average (2% to 4%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||21,100|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Chemical technicians . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) , 410 N 21st St., Colorado Springs, CO 80904. Phone: (719) 636-1100. Fax: (719) 636-1993.
- American Chemical Society (ACS) , Education Division, Career Publications, 1155 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: (800) 227-5558. Fax: (202) 872-4615.