careers laboratory technician

Laboratory Technician Jobs

Laboratory technician jobs… did you know?

Becoming a laboratory technician is an amazing entry route into a world of science wonder. You’ll help scientists with their work in all kinds of areas, from forensic science to research laboratories or charitable organisations.

It’s a science job you don’t need a degree to get into, but it’s really good experience if you have graduated with a science degree too! Science is about achieving positive results – just like you on your career journey.

Industry: Health and Science

Laboratory technician job trends

How much money can you make as a laboratory technician?

Current labour market information says you can earn a starting wage of around £15,000 a year as a laboratory technician in the UK. Experienced lab technicians can earn up to around £25,000, and once you’re highly experienced you can earn £30,000 or more.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, or location. Your salary as a laboratory technician will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need?

School, college and training

Different lab technician jobs have different requirements.

Some employers – like the NHS – offer lab technician roles where you won’t need any formal qualifications, for instance if you want to work as an NHS medical laboratory assistant.
Many employers are looking for people with around five GCSEs or S grades (9-4/A*-C) include science, maths, English and potentially another science or technology related subject.

Some roles may be open to those with higher level qualifications like A-levels or H grades, HNDs or science degrees.

Apprenticeships

You can get into this job through completing a relevant science apprenticeship. For example, you could search for laboratory technician apprenticeships which could result in a qualification like a Level 3 subsidiary BTEC diploma in applied science. You can also search for science apprenticeships that match your field of interest and include practical work in a laboratory.

Higher laboratory technician apprenticeships are also offered, and may be most suitable for those who have several A-levels or the equivalent, with ideally at least one and often preferably two A-levels in a science-related subject.

A science apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to learn on the job, getting a salary while working and training towards a recognised qualification. It also gives you real hands-on experience to put on your CV and networking opportunities with your employer.

Career progression

With time and experience you could increase your level of responsibility and salary, becoming a team leader or lab supervisor. You could specialise in more complex analysis and research, and move on to be a research technician.

What experience do you need for eyecare jobs?

Work experience

You can apply for this role as a school leaver with no experience, but it can help your application if you have previously done work experience in an environment where health and safety is important. For example, if you’ve done any work in a restaurant kitchen and can demonstrate the extra care you took to keep things clean and hygienic, it will show employers you will treat a laboratory – and its potentially unsafe contents – with respect.

In addition, any work experience which shows your self-management skills and your ability to absorb information correctly will be useful.

Examples of relevant work experience include:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company
  • Work placements on a college or university course
  • Part-time, full-time or summer jobs

Volunteering and extra-curricular activities

Employers may be impressed to see volunteering on your CV. It shows you have motivation, and are organised enough to take extra steps in life. Joining a science club in school or showing you have hobbies and interests related to science will help to show employers you are a great candidate for the job.

What skills do you need for laboratory technician jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for laboratory jobs include:

  • Positive attitude and energy
  • A willingness to learn
  • Self-management skills – you can be trusted to carry out tasks to your best ability without someone watching you the whole time
  • Accuracy and attention to detail

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a laboratory technician do?

The laboratory you work in could be anywhere. You could be working for the Government, for the NHS, for schools and colleges, in the manufacturing and service industries, or in the world of forensic science. The nature of your work might change according to how much knowledge and experience you’ve already got.

Example job responsibilities:

  • Setting up experiments and research studies
  • Carrying out risk assessments for health and safety needs
  • Collecting samples and analysing their contents
  • Preparing specimens, solutions or cultures
  • Recording data and findings
  • Ordering stock for the lab
  • Disposing safely of waste products or chemicals
  • Keeping equipment in the lab clean and safe to use

Your first steps into lab technician jobs

Laboratory technician jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Laboratory technician apprenticeship
  • Laboratory technician
  • Lab technician
  • Junior laboratory technician
  • Assistant laboratory technician
  • Laboratory support technician
  • Graduate laboratory technician

Useful organisations and links

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