We're building a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Laboratory technician Lab technician

Laboratory technicians support scientists and help carry out tests, research and investigations.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need at least 4 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English, maths and science.

Employers may also expect you to have A levels or a degree in a subject like:

  • biology
  • biomedical science
  • chemistry
  • physics
  • pharmacy
  • forensic science
  • environmental science
  • materials science

Experience of working in a laboratory could help you get a job.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to understand, follow and convey technical instructions
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • organisational skills

3. What you'll do

You could work in areas like forensic science, scientific analysis, the health service and education.

You could help diagnose diseases, measure pollution, develop products or use specialised medical techniques.

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • setting up experiments and investigations
  • carrying out risk assessments
  • collecting and analysing samples
  • preparing solutions, cultures or specimens
  • recording and presenting data
  • ordering and controlling stock
  • disposing of chemicals and waste products safely
  • cleaning and maintaining equipment

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37 hours a week. You may work shifts on a rota.

Work usually takes place in sterile conditions. You'll wear clothing to protect you from dangerous substances and to prevent contamination of samples.

In some industries, you may need to travel for field work.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to team manager or lab supervisor, or specialise in complex analysis work.

With a degree and experience you could move into a research technician role.

Related careers

You may be interested in:

Last updated: 18 August 2017