What is the Job Description of a Lab Technician?

If you are applying to get the job of a lab technician, then read this job description guide to see the duties and responsibilities you should expect.

The Job description of a laboratory technician may differ slightly depending on where they work.

These professionals play a major role in the scientific research as well as medical diagnosis.

When employing lab technicians,  employers look out for independent, detail oriented individuals.

They hire lab technicians who posses good communication and time management skills.

These skills are relevant in carrying out most of their duties and responsibilities.

Some of the duties a lab technician will be expected to perform irrespective of their area of work include collecting and preparing samples, conducting tests and experiments as well as writing reports.

Contrary to popular believe, lab technicians do not work in hospitals only. There are a variety of organisations that also require their services.

Familiarizing one’s self with the Job description of a lab technician is a good step to becoming one.

Therefore, I will advice that you take time to study this free guide on a lab technician job description.

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What do lab technicians do?

Lab technicians are trained individuals who carry out laboratory based investigations.

Such investigations may be in biology, physics, or chemistry.

They work as a team with other scientists to perform functions such as sample collection, measurement, analysis, recording as well as reporting.

What a lab technician does greatly depends on where they work.

Lab technicians who work in medical field collect and analyse bodily tissues and fluids such as sputum, blood and urine. They carryout blood tests and examination of cells.

Whereas, lab technicians who work in manufacturing companies are commonly responsible for quality control.

They examine drinks as well as food to ensure that they are free of contaminants and they meet required standard.

Irrespective of where a lab technician works, their major aim should be to assist the scientists to carry out easier functions, thereby giving the scientist more time to focus on more complex and analytical tasks.

Laboratory technicians contribute to the advancement of science and technology.

The work environment may be hazardous, therefore, lab technicians are expected to be cautious and protect themselves at all time.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a laboratory technician?

Although the duties and responsibilities of a lab technician may vary depending on the sector they work, there are some common duties and responsibilities featured in most lab technician job description.

Even lab technicians who teach in schools perform most of these duties, the only difference is that they work in the education sector.

Here are some of the duties and responsibilities of a lab technician:

1. Perform laboratory test and analysis

It is the duty of a lab technician to perform laboratory tests and analysis.

They also ensure that the result of the tests are accurate and precise.

Because they may be used to support advanced scientific investigations.

2. Prepare samples

Lab technicians are also responsible for the preparation of samples and specimens.

Preparation may include identifying and labeling samples.

The samples or specimen they prepare depends on where they work.

Those who work in research institutes may work with lab animals, as well as plant extracts and/or human fluids and body parts.

Whereas those in hospitals work with human bodily fluids, and tissues only.

3. Make use of laboratory equipments

Aside operating laboratory equipments, some lab technicians are also responsible for making them.

Lab technicians use and maintain equipments.

As one, it is your responsibility to ensure that all lab equipments are properly cleaned and placed in the appropriate position when not in use.

4. Record and interpret results

Lab technicians may also record and interpret results of scientific investigations.

But they still have to show the report to a senior colleague for approval.

5. Stay updated with modern technology

These individuals are also saddled with the responsibility of staying updated with modern equipments and methodologies.

Especially those which make laboratory analysis more accurate, easier and faster.

Some other duties and responsibilities of a laboratory technician include:

  • Conducting all analysis using strict methodologies
  • Adhering to all laboratory safety precautions
  • Ensure that all laboratory reagent and samples are properly labeled.
  • Make sure that all lab equipments, reagents samples and reagents are always available.

It is important to note that these duties and responsibilities listed above are not all there is.

Employers may choose to add or subtract to these duties depending on their needs.

What qualification do I need to become a laboratory technician?

A bachelor’s degree or HND/HNC usually required, but a bachelor’s degree is not mandatory.

Most lab technicians have degrees or higher national diplomas (HND) in :

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biological science
  • Forensics science
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmacology
  • Biomedical science
  • Environmental science
  • Materials science
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology

Although degree holders may start off as lab technicians, with hard work and by improving their qualification, they can work their way up to Senior positions.

High school leavers may also apply for entry level roles in lab technology or apprenticeship.

All you need is GCSEs and good A levels grades in science related subjects.

Ideally, employers prefer employing individuals with experience in operating laboratory equipments.

They also prefer those who have previously worked in hazardous and infectious environment.

Knowledge of the use of Microsoft office suite is also preffered.

In some states and/or countries, lab technicians require license to practice.

What skills does a lab technician need?

When creating a lab technician job description, employers also include certain skills.

Employed expected prospective lab technicians to possess these skills because they enable them perform their duties with a lot of accuracy and on time.

Some of the skills usually featured in a lab technician job description include:

1. Communication skills

A good lab technician should have strong written and verbal communication skills.

He or she should be able to communicate well in writing and verbally.

They should be capable of communicating the technical and non technical aspect of their job.

2. Interpersonal skills

Lab technicians should also have interpersonal skills.

They should be able to develop good relationship with other members of the team, including Senior colleagues 

3. Time management skills

Time management skills is also a relevant skill for lab technicians.

They should develop a good method of allocating time to all activities.

They daily schedule should be time conserving and realistic as well.

4.Organisation skills

This skill plays a relevant role in performing so many of the duties of a lab technician.

They have to be organised and careful when performing tests and analysis.

They also nedd organisational skills in operating and maintaining laboratory equipments.

5.Detail oriented

When conducting analysis and research, laboratory technicians must give attention to details.

That is the only possible way they can arrive at accurate results and conclusions.

6.Teamworking skills

Lab technicians work as  team with scientists to perform their duties.

Therefore it is important that they posses strong team spirit.

7.Independence

A good lab technician should be capable of conducting analysis and tests without the supervision of a senior colleague.

Although all results and summaries must be presented to a senior colleague for approval.

Where do laboratory technicians work?

Whenever anyone hears the tittle ‘laboratory technician’ the first thing that comes to mind is they work in laboratories.

Well that not false, practically every organisation that has a lab requires the services of a laboratory technician.

Some of their typically employers include the following:

  • Food and drink companies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Chemical companies
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Schools
  • Research institutes
  • Civil service
  • Water companies
  • Environmental agencies.

Job postings or advertisements may be made online or offline via local newspapers or radio stations.

How much do lab technicians make?

The salary of  laboratory technicians vary depending on where they work.

According to Indeed, on an average they are make $19.58 per hour.

This figure is for those working in the United States.

Therefore it may vary in your geographical location.

The pay of a laboratory technician is determined by factors such as :

  • Employer
  • Sector
  • Experience
  • Qualification
  • Location.

More experienced and qualified lab technician may earn more than their less experienced and/or qualified colleagues.

Lab technicians work environment and schedule

Lab technicians typical work in laboratories, their work environment may be high contagious, as such they are required to always wear protective clothings and adhere to necessary precautions.

Those who work in industries or manufacturing companies may have to travel for fieldwork once in a while 

Once again, area of work plays a role in determining the number of hours laboratory technicians work.

In the United kingdom, they typically work for 37hours per week.

What should I include in my lab technician resume?

Any information capable of convincing employers that you are suitable for the job is relevant and should be featured in your resume.

When creating a lab technician resume, here are some information you should consider including:

  • Years of experience
  • Area of experience
  • Soft skills
  • Hard skills
  • Academic qualification
  • License (if any)

It is also important to make reference to this information during your interview.

Conclusion: laboratory technician job description guide

This free guide on the job description of a laboratory technician was complied with aspiring technicians in mind.

But, it is still suitable for use as a template for creating a lab technician job description.

Therefore, don’t hesitate to make use of it to achieve your goal.

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