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What is a Laboratory Technician?

  • laboratory technician working the the laboratory conducting an experiment

What is a Laboratory Technician?

The primary role of a laboratory technician is to assist industry scientists in their research and testing. This can involve a number of different tasks and these tasks can vary greatly between roles.

Within the pharmaceutical industry, laboratory technicians can be employed in research and development or in production and manufacturing. As a result, the work can be based in a laboratory or on a production line, depending on the specific responsibilities of the role.

Laboratory technicians are expected to have a good awareness of general laboratory practices 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. 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 Bachelors 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.

The ideal skill set for someone moving into project engineering includes:

  • Numerical Skills – often needed for the successful running of experiments or reporting of results
  • Team Working – may be required to work as part of a lab-based team or production line, 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
  • 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

Switch to a Laboratory Technician Role in the Pharmaceutical Industry

If you want to know more about making a mid-career change into this area, the first step is our 30-week conversion certificate course eBioPharmaChem.

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

How Much Do Laboratory Technicians Earn?

For information on typical salaries for this role, check out our Salaries Page.

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