California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

   Chemical Technicians in California

May also be called: Analytical Lab Technicians; Analytical Technicians; Environmental Lab Technicians; Formulation Technicians; Laboratory Analysts; Laboratory Technicians; Laboratory Testers; Research and Development Technicians; Research Technicians

What Would I Do?

Chemical Technicians* work in laboratories, assisting chemists and chemical engineers with practical, hands-on duties related to laboratory work or performing quality control duties at manufacturing facilities. Generally, there are two types of Chemical Technicians: Research Technicians who work in experimental laboratories and Process Control Technicians who work in manufacturing facilities.

Chemical Technicians working in laboratories perform a variety of tasks ranging from maintaining an inventory of laboratory equipment to producing chemical compounds through complex organic synthesis.

Chemical Technicians working in manufacturing or industrial plants are responsible for designing and testing product packaging and checking the integrity of the manufactured materials before their shipment to retailers and consumers, including any environmental or human threat the product may pose.

Green Economy: Chemical Technicians are expected to play an important role in the emerging green economy. They will assist with the research and development of natural and sustainable manufactured products and be mindful of potential hazards.

Chemical Technicians generally work in laboratories or manufacturing facilities. They may perform some duties outdoors, for example, gathering water samples to test for pollution levels. Most Technicians work a 40-hour workweek. Some facilities may require a Chemical Technician to monitor experiments or manufacturing plants overnight. Chemical Technicians sometimes work with toxic chemicals or radioactive isotopes. Therefore, following proper safety procedures and wearing protective gear can prevent injury when working with hazardous materials.

*This product was partially funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The information contained in this product was created by a grantee organization and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. All references to non-governmental companies or organizations, their services, products, or resources are offered for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Department of Labor. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it and is intended for individual organizational, non-commercial use only.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Those who want to become Chemical Technicians should enjoy working with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking while working independently and supervised. The ability to communicate both orally and in writing is highly valued. Patience and perseverance also are necessary when monitoring and carrying out experiments or performing product quality control duties.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2017 for Chemical Technicians in California was $42,794 annually, or $20.58 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2017Low
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(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Most employers provide health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Those in private industry may receive holiday bonuses.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job opportunities are expected to be highest in pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, which would be less affected by economic downturns. Environmental research and the search for alternative sources of energy will offer many new opportunities for Chemical Technicians.

How Do I Qualify?

An associate degree in chemistry or a related science is generally the minimum education requirement for entry-level Chemical Technician jobs. However, it is possible for job seekers with a high school diploma to enter the field as trainees and work under the direct supervision of an experienced Technician and gradually gain more responsibilities while working toward a two-year degree in chemistry or a related scientific discipline.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers is one of the most common and effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers, online job boards, and professional engineering organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

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