What does a Lab Technician do?

A lab technician performs tests and analyses in a laboratory. Lab technicians work in a variety of different organizations, including healthcare institutions, manufacturing companies, and educational institutions. They work in different fields such as medicine, biology, environment, and electronics.

A lab technician's tasks differ greatly depending on the setting and the industry. For example, a medical lab technician collects samples and performs tests on body fluids and tissue to assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Other lab technicians may perform chemical, physical, or biological tests on products. The education needed for lab technicians depends on the role and industry. In some cases a high school degree or GED is sufficient, whereas for other roles an associate's degree, a certificate, or a Bachelor's degree are required.

What responsibilities are common for Lab Technician jobs?
  • Perform routine and non-routine tests and analyses using the appropriate technical equipment and instruments
  • Receive or collect, as well as process, samples
  • Calculate test results, and log and report results using a computer
  • Prepare and supervise experiments
  • Perform quality control and calibrate equipment if necessary
  • Maintain equipment in proper working order and maintain a clean work area
  • Practice safe work habits, including complying with all safety, health, and environmental rules and regulations
What are the typical qualifications for Lab Technician jobs?
  • High school diploma or general education degree (GED) required, associate's or Bachelor's degree in a scientific field preferred
  • 1-2 years of experience working in a lab
  • Computer skills: knowledge of Microsoft Office and other relevant computer programs
  • Analytical and numerical skills: ability to perform mathematical calculations (add, subtract, multiply, divide) in different units of measurement; ability to use concepts such as fractions, percentages, and ratios
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Ability to write correspondence and reports
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to perform physically demanding work such as moving and lifting equipment, standing for long periods of time, etc.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.2 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.0 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Lab Technician Salaries

Average Base Pay

$2,100 /month
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
See More Insights
$2K
Median: $2K
$3K
See More Insights
Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Lab Technician Career Path

Learn how to become a Lab Technician, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Lab Technician
$36,000/yr
Senior Lab Technician
No Salary Reports
Lab Technician IV
No Salary Reports
Lab Technician

Years of Experience Distribution

0 - 1
34%
2 - 4
29%
5 - 7
1%
8+
36%
Not including years spent in education and/or training

Lab Technician Insights

Read what Lab Technician professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Procter & GambleProcter & Gamble
QA/QC Lab Technician
18 May 2021

“I really liked alot of my coworkers and for the most part everyone was supportive and helpful.”

Oilfield Environmental and ComplianceOilfield Environmental and Compliance
Lab Analyst
22 Mar 2022

“Training felt hurried and incomplete; I felt unequipped with the skills needed to do my job.”

E. & J. Gallo WineryE. & J. Gallo Winery
Seasonal Lab Technician
10 Feb 2022

“The job was great because everyone was so nice and it started at $17.71 per hour.”

University of MichiganUniversity of Michigan
Research Lab Technician Intermediate
17 Apr 2021

“Very flexible work schedule which is great if you have a family or taking college classes.”

New York Blood CenterNew York Blood Center
Lab Tech
25 Mar 2022

“Furloughing is sneaky and promised a benefit package but I got nothing as I was per diem at that time.”

QualTex LaboratoriesQualTex Laboratories
Lab Technician
26 Aug 2021

“Worst place to work and they laid off so many people because they went downhill.”

Oilfield Environmental and ComplianceOilfield Environmental and Compliance
Laboratory Analyst
9 Oct 2020

“There is minimal career advancement unless you kiss backside and don't speak up about issues within the company.”

City College of New YorkCity College of New York
CLT (Central Lab Technician)
21 Apr 2022

“I've also been able to take classes here for free and enjoyed great job security.”

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Lab Technician Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of lab technicians

The typical day of a lab technician includes performing tests using analytical equipment and carefully recording the results for further analysis. Lab technicians follow detailed instructions from their supervisor, who is typically a senior scientist. These technicians are also responsible for maintaining their lab equipment and workspace.

Lab technician job satisfaction will likely be high for those who are highly organized and enjoy detailed-oriented analytical work. Lab technicians may enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from playing a crucial role in developing new medications, diagnosing diseases, or performing critical scientific research.

The average salary for lab technicians is $2,100. Medical equipment manufacturing, specialty hospitals, and general and surgical hospitals are the highest-paying industries for this profession. Senior lab technicians typically command the highest salaries. You can climb the ladder in this career by continuing your education and gaining experience.

Working as a lab technician requires exceptional attention to detail. It's critical that these professionals properly complete each step of a task. One of the challenges of being a lab technician is maintaining patience, attentiveness, and organization. Carelessness and errors are more catastrophic for a lab technician than for many other professionals.

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