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Working in a laboratory requires a lot of careful technical and scientific knowledge. Lead scientists are often too busy planning and creating new theories to do much of the hands-on scientific duties. They often rely on their laboratory technicians to do these duties. The analytical laboratory technician is one of these laboratory technicians.
An analytical laboratory technician runs tests in a laboratory environment and analyzes her results. She is not a scientist and cannot create the tests that she runs. The laboratory scientists will create the test and the conditions for the test. The types of tests vary depending on her lab and her scientific focus. For example, a technician in a chemist laboratory may analyze the results of an acidity test on a chemical compound.
The duties of a technician will vary depending on his scientific focus; however, all analytical laboratory technicians will select appropriate samples for their tests. They must make sure the samples meet all of the test requirements, such as the sample’s strength and build. They perform the test on these samples in a safe and sanitized environment. They must follow all rules of the laboratory to make sure the sample’s integrity isn’t compromised. Tests vary depending on the field. Some will be hands-on, while others will be completely automated. After performing the tests, they analyze the results of the test. They write down all observations about the reactions, including how the samples interacted with the tested material. They write a report about their observations and present their findings to the laboratory scientists.
Analytical laboratory technicians must have at least an associate's degree from a community college in their chosen field in order to find a job. They can also possess a bachelor’s degree in science for their chosen field. Having a bachelor’s will increase their likelihood of getting hired as a bachelor's degree indicates that the job candidate has spent more time on training. However, someone possessing an associate’s degree can still obtain the same job. On-the-job training will prepare technicians for the job details.
Analytical laboratory technicians must understand the basic functioning of their lab, including all the rules, regulations, safety procedures and equipment operation. Operating the laboratory on their own and without constant supervision helps the technician speed up the process of testing and analyzing. Maintaining and cleaning their equipment helps keep it from falling into disrepair. Great communication skills are a must. Analytical laboratory technicians must be able to communicate their findings via a report in a clear and concise manner. Computer skills will also be necessary as many labs will run much of their equipment by computers.
The pay of an analytical laboratory technician can vary depending on his lab. According to the Indeed, the average salary of a laboratory technician was around $40,000. Payscale reported the hourly wage to be about $14 to $19 on regular time and $19 to $29 on overtime. It estimated the range for yearly salaries at about $32,000 to $42,000 a year.
Eric Benac began writing professionally in 2001. After working as an editor at Alpena Community College in Michigan and receiving his Associate of Journalism, he received a Bachelor of Science in English and a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.