Laboratory technicians support laboratory-based scientific investigations by undertaking a range of routine technical tasks and experiments.
Lab technicians might collect samples, study and perform tests on body fluids, teeth, chemical compounds, biological specimens, or other fields of science. Lab techs use various types of machinery, lab equipment and complex computer programs to perform their tests.
Employers of laboratory technicians
- Environmental agencies
- Specialist research organizations or consultancies
- Hospitals and clinics
- Water companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Chemical companies
- Food and drink companies
- conducting and supporting scientific investigations and experiments
- planning, setting up and undertaking controlled experiments and trials
- recording and analyzing data
- demonstrating procedures
- collecting, preparing and/or testing samples
- maintaining, calibrating, cleaning and testing sterility of the equipment
- providing technical support
- presenting results to senior staff
- writing reports, reviews and summaries
- keeping up to date with relevant scientific and technical developments
- supervising staff
- carrying out risk assessments
- ordering and maintaining stock and resources
Ophthalmic and dental lab techs can typically get started with only a high school diploma, and will learn most of their skills on the job. For Medical and clinical lab techs, you typically need an associate’s degree in life science or medical technology, but a bachelor’s degree will increase your chances at getting hired. People looking to get started should have an aptitude for science and will want to take classes in biology, chemistry and math.
- Compassion: Empathy is necessary when working closely with patients who might be in pain or under emotional duress.
- Attention to Detail: Performing tests requires exact measurements and a good eye for detail, or the results could be false.
- Dexterity: Lab techs work with their hands and will need dexterity to work with small vials, test tubes, and delicate lab equipment.
- Stamina: Lab technicians work long days on their feet, sometimes hunched over a workstation for long periods of time.
- Technical Skill: Lab techs need to understand complex lab machinery and computer programs used to conduct tests.