Laboratory Technician

Job Description:

Laboratory technicians help scientists carry out research and tests in lab settings.

Job Category:
Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences

What you will do:

You could work in areas like forensic science, scientific analysis, health services 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


You’ll need:

  • science skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • thinking and reasoning skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a laboratory technician, you typically need a good general education, including specific GCSE subjects that can prepare you for the role. Laboratory technicians assist scientists and researchers by conducting experiments, performing tests, and maintaining lab equipment. While educational requirements can vary by employer and location, here are the typical subjects and skills that can be beneficial:

  1. Science Subjects: High grades in science subjects are essential. You should aim for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, as these subjects provide fundamental knowledge of scientific principles and lab techniques.
  2. Mathematics: Mathematics is important for conducting calculations, measurements, and data analysis in the laboratory.
  3. English: Good communication skills are necessary for documenting experimental procedures and results, as well as for effectively communicating with colleagues and superiors.
  4. Computer Science: Proficiency in basic computer skills is increasingly important as many lab instruments and data analysis tools are computer-based.
  5. Design and Technology: Courses in design and technology can provide you with hands-on experience in working with equipment, tools, and materials similar to those used in laboratories.
  6. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Knowledge of ICT is valuable for working with laboratory software, data entry, and record-keeping.

Post School

Requirements vary from country to country.

Employers may also expect you to have 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.

Working Hours 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.

Career Path & 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.