laboratory technician working the the laboratory conducting an experiment

What is a Laboratory Technician?

A Laboratory Technician assists industry scientists with research, testing and conducting experiments. This can involve a number of different technical tasks which can vary greatly between roles. Their work is almost always laboratory-based and while they might be working alone on a specific task, they are generally working within a larger laboratory team.

Within the pharmaceutical industry, Laboratory Technicians can be employed in research and development or in production and manufacturing. All roles are likely to be primarily based in a laboratory. 

Laboratory Technicians are expected to have a good awareness of general laboratory practices (GLP) and techniques but full training is usually given on the specific tasks required for each role.

What does a Laboratory Technician do?

The specific tasks of a Laboratory Technician can vary greatly depending on the laboratory they’re based in and the types of scientific work that is carried out there. Generally though, a Laboratory Technician will conduct the routine tasks required within laboratory, in support of the Laboratory Scientists.

All work must be carried out in strict accordance with both internal protocols and external regulations.

As examples, tasks may include:

  • Preparing experiments
  • Supervision of experiments as they run
  • Taking precise and accurate notes of experiments and their results
  • Sample preparation and testing
  • Cleaning of lab equipment
  • Routine maintenance and calibration of laboratory equipment
  • Mixing compounds during the manufacturing process
  • Write reports on lab-based activities
  • Supervision of junior laboratory staff
  • Liaising with laboratory suppliers as required

Becoming a Laboratory Technician

The level of education needed for Laboratory Technicians can also vary greatly depending on the role. Some employers may accept an Associate level degree, others may prefer a Bachelor’s level degree, typically in a science subject.

Companies will often provide training for the specific duties they require of employees to ensure they are carried out in full compliance with internal and external regulations.

If you are already a Laboratory Technician but want to retrain for other science roles in Development, Manufacturing, and Quality in the Pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, check out our Conversion Course into Science Roles in Pharma.

Depending on your previous experience, here are some of the most common job titles we see advertised;

  • Quality control – Quality Control Associate, QC Associate, Quality Control (QC) Technician, QC Specialist, QC Analyst, QC Scientist, QC Specialist -LIMS
  • Quality assuranceQuality Assurance Specialist, QA Associate, Quality Assurance (QA) Technician, QA Specialist, QA Compliance Specialist, QMS/QA Specialist
  • Development – Tech Transfer Scientist Jobs, Process Technology Transfer Scientist, Transfer Scientist, Product and Process development scientists
  • Science roles that support manufacturing – Microbiology/Particle Analyst, Environmental Microbiologist, Bioprocessing Scientist, Production Scientist, Process Scientist / Specialist – Purification, Process Scientist / Specialist – In-Process Control

What Skills Do I Need?

The ideal skill set for someone moving into a Laboratory Technician role includes:

  • Numerical Skills – often needed for the successful running of experiments or reporting of results
  • Team Working – generally working as part of a lab-based team, must be able to work in close coordination with other team members
  • Attention To Detail – must be very precise in all activities, following protocols and quality procedures closely, noticing quickly if something is deviating from expected results
  • Hand-Eye Coordination – required for using laboratory equipment, handling of samples and accurate testing
  • Organisational Skills – should be running tests in a strictly methodical way as well as maintaining the overall organization of the laboratory and its supplies and equipment
  • Written Communication Skills – must keep clear and concise records of laboratory activities and experimentation results in accordance with internal SOPs as well as external regulatory requirements

Laboratory Technician Salaries & Job Growth

Check out our Salary Guide for Laboratory Technicians for information local to you.

Laboratory Technician Resume Tips

As with all resumes, it’s extremely important that you tailor your Laboratory Technician resume to reflect the language used within the job advert. Where you have relevant experience or skills, use the words and phrases that the employer has used to describe them. Do not assume that someone will read similar wording and know what you mean.

Laboratory Technician roles will typically be looking for the skills previously outlined:

  • Numerical Skills
  • Team Working
  • Attention To Detail
  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Organisational Skills
  • Written Communication Skills

For more help with your resume, check out these templates and this list of 30 tips to improve your resume.

What Type of Jobs Can Scientists & Science Graduates Get in the Pharma Industry?

As a science graduate or scientist, you have a large and varied selection of opportunities within the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

With so many options, it can be difficult to find your feet and figure out where to start. Unfortunately, there isn’t one set of specific job titles that every company uses, and the requirements for similar jobs can (and do) change between companies.

The specific opportunities will depend on the company and what they’re manufacturing, but there are some general guidelines you can follow to make your search a little easier.

Our number one piece of advice is to read job adverts.

Until you really get to grips with industry opportunities, don’t discount jobs based on their title alone. Even jobs that sound kind of niche often have some flexibility around degree subject and experience level required. Science roles in pharma are often more about the skills you have, than the title of your degree.

But for specialist advice based on your degree subject, click on one of the links below:

Laboratory Technician Job Vacancies

For more information on currently available Laboratory Technician roles within the pharmaceutical industry, head to our jobs boards and select Science in the “Jobs by Category” menu. We currently have jobs boards for Ireland and the UK.