How to become a Laboratory Worker

Laboratory workers assist scientists, engineers, technical officers and other laboratory staff by collecting and preparing samples, carrying out experiments, making measurements with scientific equipment, recording results and presenting them for critical analysis.

Personal requirements of a Laboratory Worker

  • Enjoy scientific activities
  • Able to produce accurate and detailed work
  • Good eyesight (may be corrected) and normal colour vision
  • Able to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Laboratory Worker

To become a laboratory worker you usually have to complete a traineeship in Laboratory Skills or Laboratory Techniques. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school. You can also become a laboratory worker by completing a VET qualification in laboratory skills, laboratory techniques or laboratory technology. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

Duties & Tasks of a Laboratory Worker

Laboratory workers may perform the following tasks:

  • clean, maintain and set up equipment for use in experiments
  • collect, classify and preserve specimens and samples
  • water and observe plants, and feed and observe animals in laboratories
  • perform diagnostic and other scientific tests on specimens (such as animal and plant tissues or food and water samples) in order to identify chemicals, minerals, cellular or other constituents, bacterial content and chemical contamination
  • carry out experimental procedures and monitor processes
  • inspect and test animals and plants for diseases
  • perform routine mathematical calculations and prepare graphs
  • use computers and computer-interfaced equipment
  • carry out routine quality assurance checks on production line samples and materials.

Working conditions for a Laboratory Worker

Laboratory workers work in the field, on the process-production line and in the laboratory. They may work in a team or alone. Depending on the type of laboratory, they may handle dangerous or hazardous materials. Safety awareness and compliance with regulations is important. Protective clothing and equipment is usually provided.

Employment Opportunities for a Laboratory Worker

Laboratory workers usually work under the direction of scientists in fields such as dairy production, food preservation research, entomology, plant pathology, botany, seed production, agricultural chemistry, biochemistry, pathology, artificial insemination, wine production, minerals and chemical industries, science equipment manufacturing, plastics and occupational health. Laboratory workers are also employed in breweries, chemical manufacturers, food and beverage manufacturers, government agencies, hospitals, museums, textile manufacturers, schools, universities and a wide range of other industries.

Specialisations:


Senior Laboratory Technician/Technical Officer

A senior laboratory technician/technical officer undertakes duties similar to, but more complex than, those of laboratory workers. They generally have more responsibility and may supervise other staff.

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