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Laboratory technician

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

Annual Salary

£17,000 to £30,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: weekends; on shifts

1%
Future employment

There will be 1% more Laboratory technician jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

You will work safely, following strict guidelines. You could do routine or one off tests and will:

  • set up experiments and investigations
  • carry out risk assessments
  • collect and analyse samples
  • prepare solutions, cultures or specimens
  • record and present data
  • order and control stock
  • dispose of chemicals and waste products safely
  • clean and maintain equipment

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing.

You could work in a laboratory.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
University

Some employers may expect you to have a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a scientific subject like:

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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 A levels or equivalent
For more information
College

You could take a college course to help improve your chances of finding work.

Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science
  • Chemistry, Physics or Biology A levels
  • T Level in Science

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
For more information
Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships relevant to this role include:

  • Laboratory technician advanced apprenticeship
  • Technician scientist higher apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information

More information

Career tips

Experience in a lab can help when looking for work. You can look for opportunities at:a research lab in a university; clinical laboratories in hospitals; a production or research lab in an industrial setting; school and college science departments

Professional and industry bodies

You can join a professional body relevant to your area of work for career development and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a laboratory technician from:the Science Council; Health Careers

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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.

You can join a professional body relevant to your area of work for career development and training opportunities.

You can find out more about becoming a laboratory technician from the Science Council and Health Careers.


Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • science skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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