A chemist technician is an individual who works in a laboratory conducting routine tests and analyzing data. A bachelor's degree is required for most chemist technician positions. Many chemist technician jobs are highly technical and require on-the-job training as well. Some of the responsibilities of a chemist technician include preparing samples and solutions for testing, operating laboratory equipment, and maintaining records. A chemist technician can work in a variety of fields including the pharmaceutical industry, food industry, and nuclear energy industry.
Most of the work done by a chemist technician occurs in a laboratory setting. On a daily basis, technicians may have to handle hazardous chemicals or biological materials while conducting tests or synthesizing new products. Technicians wear protective clothing such as gloves, a lab coat, and safety glasses to ensure safety. Modern labs are equipped with adequate ventilation systems which help reduce the exposure to chemical fumes. The work day is usually split between working with chemicals at a bench, interfacing with a computer, and transporting finished products for testing.
Many laboratories have a team of scientists working on a particular project. Whether in research and development or quality control, chemist technicians work with other laboratory personnel to achieve a goal. To be successful in this position, the chemist technician should have good communication skills, problem solving skills and general laboratory acumen.
Technicians are generally responsible for the day to day operation of the lab. This includes maintaining an adequate stock of chemicals and materials by taking inventory and ordering supplies from vendors. It also involves preparing solutions that are frequently used in the lab and calibrating instruments.
Chemist technicians also conduct experiments and prepare reports for their supervisors. They typically test a sample by dissolving it in a chemical and then measuring the constituents of the solution with an analytical method, such as liquid chromatography. The results are illustrated on a graph and evaluated.
In the pharmaceutical industry, chemist technicians can test the effectiveness of drugs to treat a certain illness or evaluate how well a drug will metabolize in the body. Dissolution testing is one type of test a chemist technician may conduct. It examines how a drug dissolves in varying conditions.
Within the food industry, chemist technicians are typically part of the quality assurance department. They test foods for contamination by testing for toxic materials used during processing. Foods are also tested for biological contamination, which includes bacteria and fungus.