Laboratory technicians work in almost every type of manufacturing industry that employs chemists or chemical engineers. They are needed wherever testing is carried on, whether it is for developing new products or improving current manufacturing procedures or for quality control purposes. They are employed by such companies as Baxter, The Kraft Heinz Company, Shell, DuPont, and 3M. They also can find positions in research institutions and in government laboratories, such as those run by the federal Departments of Health, Agriculture, and Commerce, as well as by state and local agencies. They may assist biochemists, metallurgists, meteorologists, geologists, or other scientific personnel in large and small laboratories located all over the country.
Technical schools often help place graduating technicians. Many laboratories contact these schools directly looking for student employees or interns. Students can also contact local manufacturing companies and laboratories to find out about job openings in their area. Technicians often begin as trainees who are supervised by more experienced workers. As they gain experience, technicians take on more responsibilities and are allowed to work more independently.
Skilled laboratory technicians may be promoted to manager or supervisor of a division in their company. For example, a quality-control technician who has become an expert in testing computer monitors may be put in charge of others who perform this task. This supervisor may assign project duties and organize how and when results will be recorded and analyzed, and may also help other technicians solve problems they encounter when running tests. Experienced technicians may form their own testing laboratories or return to school to become engineers, physicists, or geologists.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Land an entry-level job as a laboratory assistant to learn about the field and make valuable industry contacts.
Talk to laboratory testing technicians about their careers. Ask them for advice on breaking into the field.