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Chemical technicians work in every area of the chemical industry, from basic research to hazardous waste management. Research and development technicians work in experimental laboratories, and process control technicians work in manufacturing or other industrial plants. They conduct a variety of laboratory procedures from routine process control to complex research projects. Technicians also work in data management, quality control, and shipping to provide technical support and expertise to these functions.
Most technicians work indoors, but a few work outdoors taking samples and measurements. Chemical technicians are vital members of self-directed work teams. They sometimes work independently. Most follow the normal 5-day, 40-hour week except when processes or tests must be completed without interruption. Chemical technicians tend to be on the move during the day, with a variety of responsibilities.
Chemical technicians usually work under the direction of a chemist, chemical engineer, or laboratory supervisor. They are employed in research, development, process control, production, and sales.
Employment of chemical technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Chemical technicians will continue to be in demand in scientific research and development (R&D) and to monitor the quality of chemical products and processes. Greater interest in environmental issues, such as pollution control, clean energy, and sustainability, are expected to increase the demand for chemistry research and development.
Declines in the employment of chemical technicians are projected in all chemical manufacturing industries, including pharmaceutical manufacturing. Many chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers are expected to outsource their scientific R&D and testing operations to professional, scientific, and technical services firms that specialize in these services. However, due to the development of cheaper energy and raw materials sources such as shale gas, some chemical manufacturing is expected to return to the United States. This should generate more demand for these workers in the next decade.
Chemical technicians receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, colleges, and universities. Some companies hire chemists with a bachelor’s degree as technicians, but in many cases, employers say a 2-year associate degree is acceptable.
Licensure is not required in the state of Connecticut.
American Chemical Society
1155 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036