How to become a Laboratory Worker

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 for 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:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Participating in fabricating, installing and modifying equipment to ensure that critical standards are met.
  • Presenting results in graphic and written form by preparing maps, charts, sketches, diagrams and reports.
  • Performing routine mathematical calculations, and computations of measurements.
  • Conducting field and laboratory experiments, tests and analyses.
  • Preparing materials for experimentation such as freezing and slicing specimens and mixing chemicals.
  • Checking, calibrating and maintaining test equipment.
  • Collecting information and samples.
  • Controlling the quality and quantity of laboratory supplies by testing samples and monitoring usage.
  • Preparing experiments and demonstrations for science classes.

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.


Specializations

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.

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    42 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    53% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,500
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    High skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    71% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    23,000 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.9%
    NSW: 25.5%
    NT: 1.1%
    QLD: 19.3%
    SA: 7.6%
    TAS: 2.7%
    VIC: 27.2%
    WA: 14.6%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 1.2%
    20-24: 8.6%
    25-34: 24.8%
    35-44: 21.3%
    45-54: 23.5%
    55-59: 10.3%
    60-64: 7%
    65 and Over: 3.4%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 18.4%
    Bachelor degree: 31.6%
    Certificate III/IV: 17.5%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 11.1%
    Year 10 and below: 5.7%
    Year 11: 2.7%
    Year 12: 13%
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