A lab technician is a scientific and technical worker who assists scientists in laboratories. This often involves work with complex systems to help the functioning of scientific processes and projects, to record the results appropriately, and to aid in the routine procedures that take place in a laboratory.
As a brief job description, laboratory technicians work alongside scientists and engineers in a laboratory and assist with a range of experiments and investigations. They carry out both routine procedures and one-off projects, which will be dependent on the function of the laboratory – a laboratory technician could help develop new products, diagnose diseases, or carry out mechanical or diagnostic texts, subject to the nature of the work that the company employing them specialises in. Many lab tech jobs, for example, involve medical science and take place in medical laboratories, doctors’ offices, and hospitals.
Some laboratory work takes place in educational institutions including schools and universities, where the technician’s job will be to support science teachers, lecturers and students. Technicians can perform a variety of technical support functions, therefore their work will often be highly varied. This could involve working independently and taking responsibility for the quality and accuracy of their own work, or as part of a wider group, working collaboratively with other science technicians. Additionally, this job could be part-time or full-time.
Lab technicians may have a number of key responsibilities as part of their role. This can include:
Different lab technician jobs have different requirements, and particular employers will seek particular qualities in potential employees. Unlike many other scientific jobs, it is not normally required to have completed a particular degree programme in order to become a lab technician, however, it may be highly valued or considered necessary to advance into other jobs in a similar field. Lab technician apprenticeships and jobs are normally advertised on an entry-level basis and tend to be contract-based. Many lab technicians enter this career through apprenticeships or work placements, and some jobs offer the chance for training and qualifications alongside employment such as the End-Point Assessment, requiring technicians to meet the Laboratory Technician Apprenticeship Standard.
The competitive salary offered by most employers of lab technicians can vary, starting salaries can differ depending on factors like level of experience, training, or location. A laboratory technician’s salary will increase over time with skills, knowledge, and experience gained.
Through our membership grades, The Welding Institute offers professional membership to both those considering a career as a lab technician and to those who are already qualified lab technicians:
For qualified lab technicians, The Welding Institute also offers professional membership to engineering technicians with our Technician (TechWeldI) membership grade. In addition to this, as a Professional Engineering Institution (PEI) licensed by the Engineering Council, The Welding Institute can also assess candidates for Professional Registration with the Engineering Council for the internationally recognised title of Engineering Technician (EngTech).