University Laboratory Technicians do a lot of hard work. Their ‘behind the scenes’ role is vital, catering for the day-to-day running of a research lab, as well assisting students with research projects and maintaining and fixing machines.
University Technicians ensure that the relevant machines and materials are available for use in the laboratory. They also carry out research into highly specialized matters and record their findings.
- Ensuring the functionality and safety of the laboratory
- Carrying out experiments and research projects
- Recording the results of any experiments that take place
- Presenting the findings to relevant parties
- Assisting students with research projects
- Demonstrating methods and experiments to students
- Controlling the materials kept in stock
- Ensuring machines and materials are ready for use
- Maintaining and repairing machines and equipment
- Managing the lab timetable and scheduling machine use
Although advantageous, a degree is not required. Many A-level qualified staff work as technicians. Science based qualifications are preferable due to the nature of the work. Degrees in fields such as Biology, Chemistry and Engineering will help you to start up in this career. HND qualified applicants are also welcome.
Some personal qualities are vital in this field of work. Attention to detail, patience and team working skills are attributes looked for in technicians.
- Degree in a science subject
- A-levels in the sciences
- HND in relevant field
- Ability to work with people
- Communication skills
- IT skills, such as Word and Excel
- Knowledge of the HE sector and research environment is a plus
- Careful attention to detail and organization skills
- Part time jobs are often available
- Starting salary is normally £14k-£19k
- Salary progresses beyond £25k for more experienced staff
- Working hours are normally fixed
- Training in health and safety is provided
- Training courses in technical areas
Technicians can be found in most educational institutions, including high schools and colleges. The role of University Technician is normally more research focused and involves dealing with more complex experiments and equipment.
Technicians can progress to the role of Senior or Lead Technician, which involves more managerial duties and financial budgeting.
Moving into the public sector is a big pull for technicians. Generally, the wages are higher and the rewards greater in the public sector. Hospitals, government institutions and research organizations all offer a similar type of work but with the potential to earn more and climb higher.
Colleges of Further Education