Cast your mind back to when you were at school. If, during science lessons, you loved the practicals, the testing, the bunsen burners, the analysing and observing, then a career as a Lab Technician might certainly be worth considering.
Offering career options in both the public & private sector, Lab Technicians are responsible for support and aiding scientists to (yep you guessed it!) test, research, develop, analyse and investigate things within the fields of ‘science’.
If leaving the college or University environment is a scary prospect, you could always bag yourself a career as a Lab Technician working in the science lab! Alternatively, if you would prefer to work in the private sector, you can choose from a variety of environments; from healthcare and pharmaceutical to research and engineering disciplines – all still working on testing, research, and investigating, but using different equipment and work environments. Check out Tecomak for examples of the types of equipment and working environments.
The UK government’s National Careers website is also a good place to look for specific details on becoming a Lab Technician and the places you can go to find out more information.
However, with all this mind, we’ve outlined below some of the basics in a more comprehensive overview:
Well, you kind of need to like sciences! Agree? Whilst a degree or HND is not an essential, like any job these days, an academic background in the subject or field will certainly aid any application you make. You can check out where and what you can study via the UCAS website.
Having said that, the core basics required will be at least good GCSE results, ideally then with subsequent A-Levels too.
Pardon the pun, but the more hands on experience you can get in an actual Lab environment, the better. Experience plus good qualifications will help your application stand out, compared to applicants with no practical experience in getting their hands dirty and testing themselves in the real world.
Whilst you will get ongoing on the job training in this type of position, try gaining work experience with either a public or private sector employer to get that valuable foot in the door. Gaining a qualification that also offers a work placement as part of the course would also be advantageous.
Type of person
It stands to sense, but ideally you need to have an interest (even passion) for the sciences to see this as a long term career.
Good mobility, hand and eye co-ordination, good attention to detail and the ability to follow precise instructions are essential!
As is the ability to support others, the ability to take instruction, work with others and teamwork skills are also required
A good background in Maths and English and good oral and written skills are essential
How to become a Lab Technician
Still interested, after weighing up all of the above? There are quite a few government affiliated websites that advertise apprenticeships, internships, and paid positions for you to take a look at. Also both specialist recruitment agencies and more generalist job sites will advertise for Lab Technician roles as and when they come up. Simply type in “Lab Technician job + your location where you want to work” and you may be surprised to see that there are openings available.
Looking for a job, but not too sure what career path to follow? Check out TheEmployable “How to Become” career directory