Laboratory technicians are essential in the daily operation of research labs. From providing scientists and medical staff with crucial support to maintaining complex facilities, lab technicians specialise in analysing samples, data management and safety standards.
While your role as a lab technician will depend on the area of expertise involved, numerous overarching responsibilities are core to how a high-quality lab functions. Here, we explore the skills required for lab tech roles and how to make your career a success.
What does a lab technician do?
Lab technicians support scientific research and analysis through standardised experiments using various samples, such as blood, saliva and tissue. By learning about specific laboratory techniques and equipment, you can perform these experiments to gather data and complete investigations.
For example, a laboratory technician might process blood samples collected from hospital patients to help determine why someone feels unwell.
Lab technicians must also calibrate equipment and instruments to deliver accurate results. Meanwhile, they clean working areas, maintain detailed records, store samples, and keep the lab stocked with vital tools and equipment.
What are the skills and qualifications required?
Supported by a bachelor’s degree in Science, Biomedical Sciences or Chemistry, lab technicians require several refined skills to perform. Perfect the following skills to land your ideal job.
A high-quality lab requires its team members to have outstanding organisational skills. As samples come into the lab, you must deal with each one appropriately while maintaining precise records and keeping a clean space to avoid contamination.
Depending on your laboratory, you might have to conduct specific investigations that require in-depth problem-solving skills. For example, lab techs in a forensic science role might delve into toxicology results to aid police enquiries.
Research laboratories are busy environments where collaboration is key to success. By working effectively with colleagues and managers, you can benefit from a high-functioning lab that delivers precise results early.
Different types of lab technicians
Most laboratory technician roles require similar skills to succeed. However, each part of the sector presents unique challenges that might suit your skillset or reflect your career goals. These are just some areas you can find work in as a lab technician:
- Forensic lab technician
- Medical lab technician
- Veterinary lab technician
- Scientific lab technician
- Dental lab technicians
Why you should become a lab technician
Becoming a lab technician makes sense for countless people looking to work at the forefront of the science and medical worlds. Here are the top reasons to get involved today.
1. Contribute to innovative developments
Lab technicians serve as vital cogs in the research and development process. By working on the front lines of the medical and scientific fields, your work has a tangible impact on cutting-edge discoveries and methodologies.
2. Explore incredible opportunities
Trained lab technicians can use their skills to explore numerous professional opportunities. From working as a lab technician in police forensics to product development for a pharmaceutical company, there’s a position to suit virtually every area of interest.
This career choice is highly stable, and the skills you learn as a lab tech apply to varied working environments. As you expand your knowledge and develop specialisations, you can easily move sectors or climb the ranks.
How to excel in a laboratory technician job
Excel in your role to streamline your professional development and move through your organisation’s hierarchy. Below, we offer some quick tips to enhance your career progress.
1. Review the latest research
The medical and science worlds are constantly changing. By keeping up-to-date on the latest research relevant to your field, you can understand how global practices are evolving. Then, you can use these developments to improve your own work.
2. Establish a network
While work is always available for talented laboratory technicians, establishing a robust network speeds up your career development. Stay in touch with educators, seek out mentors, join professional societies and attend industry events to expand your reach.
3. Take initiative
Taking initiative is the best way to excel in your career as a lab technician. Rather than simply completing the tasks assigned to you, catch up on the latest research, keep the lab clean and implement processes that help the wider team succeed.