Chemical technicians are the foundation of any lab. They do all the basic maintenance and lab setup and tear down. They can also do basic experiments and assist chemists in doing their experiments. What they can do and how much a tech can do depends on their experience and their education level.
The basic education that a chemical technician needs to have is a high school diploma or equivalent and a two year program or associates degree in chemistry.
In high school a person should focus on chemistry classes as well as biology and other science classes. They should also focus on some of the higher math classes.
There are a few ways that a person can get training post high school. Some chemical companies offer on-the-job training. They offer those internships or training slots to high school students who have higher than normal grades in science classes and have shown an aptitude in science. Usually once a person finishes their training they have an associates in arts degree. Once they have finished working in the training program they start out at the lowest level of tech. These jobs are assistant to other tech type jobs.
Other companies prefer to hire after people have gone to college or a technical school. There are technical or vocational schools that offer a 2 year program in chemical technology. Those programs will focus on further chemistry and science classes, as well a math, computing and possibly some chemical engineering classes. Colleges and universities offer 2 year chemistry programs. They are more common than the vocational or technical school. Once the person has finished the programs at either the tech school or university they will have an associates degree. Some schools will offer it as a an associates in science, others as an associates in art.
Getting a job after getting the education is the next step. Colleges and technical schools help their graduates get jobs. They have job placement offices. Those offices have relationships with chemical companies and other places that will hire chem techs. The placement offices will also hold job fairs, and point out companies that will work with the student's interests and help with interview training.
Generally a chemical technician who is just starting out in the field will do all the grunt work. This includes things like cleaning the lab and doing basic maintenance and setup. Once they have proved their value and work ethic they can go on to get more responsibilities. However, without further education a chemical technician can only go so far. Most companies will offer to pay for more education for people who are really outstanding in their job and who want to go on in the field.
There are plenty of job opportunities available for chemical technicians. It is a stable filed with good growth opportunities. The average salary for a chem tech is about $18.00/hour
For a person who wants to be in the chemistry field, starting as a chemical technician is a good way to get a foot in the field.