Chemical technologists and technicians (NOC 2211)

About this job

Chemical technologists and technicians provide technical support and services or may work independently in chemical engineering, chemical and biochemical research and analysis, industrial chemistry, chemical quality control and environmental protection.

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People in this occupation:

  • are employed by research and development and quality control laboratories, consulting engineering companies, in chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and a variety of other manufacturing and processing industries, and by utilities and health, education and government establishments
  • should have a strong background in chemistry, physics and math
  • should have the ability to draw conclusions from data and communicate technical information clearly
  • should also be patient and persistent and have a good eye for detail
  • must have problem-solving skills
Common job titles
  • analyst, chemical
  • analyst, document examiner
  • analyst, forensic handwriting expert
  • technician, chemical processing QC
  • technician, chemical research
  • technician, forensic laboratory
  • analyst, chemical
  • analyst, document examiner
  • analyst, forensic handwriting expert
  • analyst, forensic lab
  • chromatographer, gas
  • crime scene examiner

Duties

Chemical technologists: 

  • Set up and conduct chemical experiments, tests and analyses using techniques such as chromatography, spectroscopy, physical and chemical separation techniques and microscopy
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus and prepare solutions of gas or liquid, reagents, and sample formulations
  • Compile records and interpret experimental or analytical results
  • Develop and conduct programs of sampling and analysis to maintain quality standards of raw materials, chemical intermediates and products
  • Assist in the development of chemical engineering processes, studies of chemical engineering procurement, construction, inspection and maintenance and the development of standards, procedures and health and safety measures
  • Operate experimental chemical or petrochemical pilot plants
  • Conduct or assist in air and water quality testing and assessments, environmental monitoring and protection activities, and development of and compliance with standards
  • Assist in synthesis of small molecules for the purpose of creating drug candidates
  • Assist in the design and fabrication of experimental apparatus.

Chemical technicians:

  • Assist in setting up and conducting chemical experiments, tests and analyses
  • Operate and maintain laboratory equipment and apparatus and prepare solutions of gas and liquid, reagents and sample formulations
  • Compile records for analytical studies
  • Assist in developing and conducting programs of sampling and analysis to maintain quality standards
  • Carry out a limited range of other technical functions in support of chemical research, tests and analyses, and environmental air and water quality monitoring and protection
  • Assist in the design and fabrication of experimental apparatus.

Special duties

Chemical technologists and technicians generally specialize in an area such as analytical chemistry, production of industrial chemicals, materials science, food technology, mineral processing, pulp and paper technology, recycling technology, industrial chemistry or environmental monitoring and protection.

Work environment

Chemical technologists and technicians generally work 35 to 40 hours per week, however, evening and weekend shifts may be required to meet deadlines. Most work is performed indoors in labs or processing plants, although outdoor work may be necessary to take environmental samples and conduct site inspections.

Chemical technologists and technicians may work alone or as part of a team. Workers are often required to stand for extended periods of time and may be exposed to odours, toxic fumes and other hazardous substances, so workers follow safety procedures in order to limit risks

Insights from industry

The majority of the jobs that will become available will come from the need to replace workers who retire. However, there is currently strong demand in this industry for skilled technical professionals in this occupation.

The largest employer of chemical technologists and technicians in B.C. is the Manufacturing industry. Within this industry, Rubber, plastics and chemicals manufacturing will likely see growth in the future. Pulp and paper manufacturing may experience further consolidation as older mills are phased out and newer, state-of-the-art mills remain. This could limit demand for workers in this sector, although prospects could change if more pulp mills are retrofitted for the production of specialty chemicals, bioenergy and biofuels.

Demand for workers in the Professional business services industry is tied to a wide variety of other industries, such as the resource sector, manufacturing, real estate development and health care services. Employment growth in this industry is expected to follow overall growth in the provincial economy. Demand for workers in the Rubber, plastics and chemicals industry will likely see growth in the future.

An area of employment growth for these workers is environmental services. The growing prominence of environmental issues for federal, provincial and municipal government agencies will create employment opportunities in monitoring and regulatory services that involve chemical sampling and analysis.

Improvements in automation technology may somewhat reduce the demand for chemical technologists and technicians. Basic instrumentation skills are increasingly required in order to maintain and troubleshoot these pieces of equipment.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Chemical technologists and technicians may progress to managerial positions (i.e., supervisors, managers, project managers) with experience. There is also a lot of mobility among the different jobs in this occupational group.

Additional resources