CAREER GUIDE FOR CHEMICAL TECHNICIAN

SOC Code: 19-4031

Pay Band(s): 3                       (Salary Structure)

Standard Occupational Description: Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for purposes, such as research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.

Chemical Technician positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Laboratory and Research Career Group:

Laboratory and Research Specialist I

While Chemical Technicians within the Commonwealth are all located within the Laboratory and Research Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.   

Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:

Life and Physical Science

Health Care Technology

Forensic Science

Engineering Technology

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

Skills
Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Chemical Technicians commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

  1. Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  2. Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  3. Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  4. Using mathematics to solve problems.
  5. Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  6. Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  7. Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  8. Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  9. Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  10. Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Knowledge
Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Chemical Technicians commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Knowledge of:

  1. Chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  2. Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  3. Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  4. Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Abilities
Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Chemical Technicians commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Ability to:

  1. Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  2. See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  3. Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  4. Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  5. Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  6. Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  7. Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  8. Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  9. Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  10. Choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

Tasks

Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Chemical Technicians.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed.  T

  1. Monitor product quality to ensure compliance to standards and specifications.
  2. Set up and conduct chemical experiments, tests, and analyses using techniques such as chromatography, spectroscopy, physical and chemical separation techniques, and microscopy.
  3. Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials.
  4. Compile and interpret results of tests and analyses.
  5. Provide technical support and assistance to chemists and engineers.
  6. Prepare chemical solutions for products and processes following standardized formulas, or create experimental formulas.
  7. Maintain, clean, and sterilize laboratory instruments and equipment.
  8. Write technical reports or prepare graphs and charts to document experimental results.
  9. Order and inventory materials in order to maintain supplies.
  10. Develop and conduct programs of sampling and analysis to maintain quality standards of raw materials, chemical intermediates, and products.

INTERESTED?

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

The occupation of Chemical Technician has Realistic, Investigative and Conventional characteristics as described below:

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Generally this is not required for Chemical Technician positions in state government.

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

The Department of Labor provides the following information:

Chemical technicians work with chemists and chemical engineers, developing and using chemicals and related products and equipment. Generally, there are two types of chemical technicians—research and development technicians who work in experimental laboratories, and process control technicians who work in manufacturing or other industrial plants.

Many employers prefer applicants who have at least 2 years of specialized training or an associate degree in applied science or science-related technology. Because employers' preferences vary, however, some chemical technicians have a bachelor's degree in chemistry, biology, or forensic science, or have taken several science and math courses at 4-year colleges.

Most chemical process technicians have a 2-year degree, usually an associate degree in process technology, although in some cases a high school diploma is sufficient. They usually receive additional on-the- job training. Entry-level workers whose college training encompasses extensive hands-on experience with a variety of diagnostic laboratory equipment usually require less on-the-job training. Those with a high school diploma typically begin work as trainees under the direct supervision of a more experienced process technician. Many with only a high school diploma eventually earn a 2-year degree in process technology, often paid for by their employer.

There are 4 recognized apprenticeable specialties associated with this occupation:
Chemical Laboratory Technician; Laboratory Technician; Laboratory Tester; Chemical-Engineering Technician

Apprenticeship information for chemical technician can be found on the Department of Labor & Industry's web site at: http://www.dli.state.va.us/

COMMONWEALTH COMPETENCIES

Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.

The Commonwealth Competencies are:

  1. Technical and Functional Expertise
  2. Understanding the Business     
  3. Achieving Results
  4. Serving the Customer
  5. Teamwork
  6. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  7. Leadership and Personal Effectiveness

The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences. 

Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!

For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.virginia.gov/cc_planningctr.htm.  For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each.  Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like. 

COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH

Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)

For example: Chemical Technician

PAY BAND

PRACTITIONER ROLES

 

PAY BAND

MANAGER ROLES

3

Laboratory and Research Specialist I

 

5

Laboratory and Research Manager

4

Laboratory and Research Specialist II

     
         

Sample Career Path

Laboratory and Research Specialist I

The Laboratory and Research Specialist I role provides career tracks for assistants to chemists, microbiologists and other scientists who support in the performance of various technical, scientific or analytical activities for clinical, research, regulatory or laboratory programs. Laboratory and research support responsibilities range from journey-level to advanced-level.

Laboratory and Research Specialist II

The Laboratory and Research specialist II role provides career tracks for laboratory specialists and research specialists performing advanced to expert level responsibilities and for supervisors in a laboratory, field setting or for scientific research. The first track is for positions conducting complex scientific procedures or research for a laboratory or program manager, principal investigator or project director. The second track is for laboratory and research specialists who continue to deliver scientific services while assuming additional supervisory and administrative responsibilities.

Laboratory and Research Manager

The Laboratory and Research Manager role provides career tracks for managers of laboratories in a teaching, research, clinical, service or regulatory setting. Employees are responsible for making administrative decisions related to all laboratory operations and exercise broad-based administrative responsibility for all laboratory functions and personnel.

ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: 

O*NET (Occupational Information Network) 

http://online.onetcenter.org/gen_search_page

Virginia Employment Commission 

http://www.alex.vec.state.va.us/

Career One Stop

  http://www.careeronestop.org/

Virginia Career Resource Network 

http://www.vacrn.net/

Professional Organization

American Chemical Society:

 http://www.acs.org/