WORKING ABROAD / AUG. 20, 2014
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How to Become a Laboratory Technician

Would you like to do practical hands-on work in a laboratory? If so, then working as a laboratory technician is ideal for you. Laboratory technicians help scientists in performing research, investigations and tests. They help laboratory staff in maintaining glassware, record books, logs and resolving various problems that may arise.

What do Laboratory Technicians do?

Laboratory technicians work in various areas such as forensic science, health service and forensic where they carry out the following tasks:

  • Documenting information by maintaining equipment record books on a daily basis
  • Completing projects by helping the project teams: participating and attending project and    group meetings
  • Resolving problems by analyzing and examining data using selective corrective steps
  • Enhancing organization and laboratory reputation by admitting ownership for accomplishing new and varying requests
  • Controlling and ordering stock
  • Preparing cultures, solutions and specimens
  • Collecting and evaluating samples
  • Performing risk evaluations for lab activities
  • Analyzing samples
  • Ensuring that equipment is in good working order

Salary

Laboratory technicians earn as follows:

Starting salary

 

£13,500

Senior salary

 

£25,000

Source: NCS

Skills

The position of a laboratory technician requires you to have the following skills:

  • Good technical and practical skills
  • Ability to schedule your own workload
  • Awareness of safety and health issues
  • Have an analytical and inquiring mind
  • Precision and attention to detail
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Ability to give work a methodological approach
  • Excellent problem solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • B able to work alone and as part of a team

Qualifications

Prospective laboratory technicians are required to earn at least four GCSEs (A-C) inclusive of English and Math. Individuals with As in science related subjects have a competitive advantage. Many employers prefer laboratory technicians who have secured degrees in laboratory technology. Some of the important subjects for laboratory technicians include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biomedical science
  • Pharmacy
  • Physics
  • Environmental science
  • Forensic science
  • Materials science

To pursue a degree in this field, you require at least five GCSEs (Grade A-C), plus three A levels. However, requirements might vary across various universities. Even though your employer can provide you with on-the-job training, you can advance your skills through pursuing a Higher Apprenticeship for Life Sciences and Chemical Science Professionals. The type of Apprenticeships that are available depend on the skills needed by potential employers.

Laboratory technicians who work in schools or colleges can get more training through the ASE and the CLEAPSS School Science Service. The IST also provides various services such as skills training, recognized qualifications, networking opportunities and continuing professional development for lab technicians across many specialties of work. For instance, research and development, higher education, government departments and health facilities. If you gain the RSciTech status, you are bound to boost your employability, show your commitment in this field and achieve professional recognition.

Career Prospects

Laboratory technicians can secure jobs in both public and private sector organizations. These include government and non-government agencies, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, public health laboratories and forensic science laboratories. With experience, you can become a lab supervisor, team manager or dedicate yourself to complex analysis work.

According to the National Careers Service, there will be about 488,000 job opportunities for laboratory technicians are projected to increase to by 2020. Job openings for these professionals are advertised in industry journals, websites, and the national and local press.  

If you have a soft spot for practical science and enjoy analyzing and testing things, this career is fit for you.

Image Source: After10thwhat

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