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The role of laboratory technician is an exciting job that is often on the cutting edge of technology. Best-suited for analytical-minded professionals who know how to lead testing procedures, document and interpret results and maintain sensitive laboratory equipment, the job is both rewarding and profitable. With the typical lab technician earning around $50,000 annually, it’s enough to pay the bills and leave a little bit left in your pocket at the end – but what exactly does it take to become a laboratory technician?

Academic Background

Today’s lab technicians come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. In most cases, an associate degree is required – but many organizations are open to the actual area of study or concentration. Some laboratories, like those in the medical sector, will show preference to those with medical backgrounds and related degrees.

Most labs don’t require an education beyond an associate degree – but preference is often given to those with relevant bachelor’s degrees. But keep in mind that not any bachelor’s degree is acceptable – it has to be relevant to the lab’s work to have any real impact.

Required Skills

Given the multifaceted and diverse nature of many labs, professional lab technicians maintain varied skill sets that revolve around several key skills, including:

  • Proficiency with laboratory equipment. The ability to use and maintain hardware – including delicate glass containers and sensitive electronic devices – in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Industry-specific knowledge. It typically doesn’t matter if this knowledge is gained from firsthand experience or from academia, but it’s essential to have a strong working knowledge of the lab’s primary industry or focus.
  • Familiarity with technology. Because today’s labs rely on next-gen technology, the average lab technician has an in-depth familiarity with the latest IT breakthroughs and innovations. More importantly, they’re able to keep up with the rapid pace of development and innovation seen in the 21st century.

With that in mind, there are many complementary areas – or soft skills – that are also useful to the typical laboratory technician.

Complementary Skills

While things like industry-specific knowledge and an interest in technology are necessary for nearly any laboratory role, there are a host of other skills that benefit lab technicians specifically. This includes:

  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office or similar office software. Most lab technicians use professional word processing software to take notes, record their findings and even deliver presentations.
  • Familiarity with various chemicals and substances. Lab technicians who have previous knowledge or experience of the substances they’re testing, or of the chemical agents they use during the testing process, are often highly valued in the industry.
  • The ability to lead a team. While many lab technicians work within a highly skilled team of professionals, the most talented and experienced ones may be picked as a team leader or supervisor.

Now that you have a better idea of what it takes to become a lab technician, don’t hesitate to reach out to Mega Force today and find out how we can help you achieve that dream with the best jobs in North Carolina.

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