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Career and Education Opportunities for Chemical Laboratory Technicians in Charleston, West Virginia

If you want to be a chemical laboratory technician, the Charleston, West Virginia area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 820 working chemical laboratory technicians in West Virginia; this should shrink 4% to about 780 working chemical laboratory technicians in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for chemical laboratory technicians are expected to shrink by about 0.8%. In general, chemical laboratory technicians conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for purposes, such as research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.

Income for chemical laboratory technicians is about $15 per hour or $32,880 per year on average in West Virginia. Nationally, their income is about $20 hourly or $42,120 yearly. Incomes for chemical laboratory technicians are not quite as good as in the overall category of Physical Science Technical in West Virginia, and not quite as good as the overall Physical Science Technical category nationally. Chemical laboratory technicians work in a variety of jobs, including: assayer helper, spectrographer, and color maker.

The Charleston area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can get a degree as a chemical laboratory technician. The most common level of education for chemical laboratory technicians is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a chemical laboratory technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Chemical Laboratory Technician

Chemical Laboratory Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, chemical laboratory technicians conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for purposes, such as research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.

Chemical laboratory technicians maintain and sterilize laboratory instruments and equipment. They also compile and interpret results of tests and analyses. Finally, chemical laboratory technicians order and inventory materials to maintain supplies.

Every day, chemical laboratory technicians are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for chemical laboratory technicians to furnish and maintain a safe work environment by participating in safety programs or teams, and by conducting laboratory and plant safety audits. They are often called upon to conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to help scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids and gaseous materials. They also ready chemical solutions for products and processes following standardized formulas, or develop experimental formulas. They are sometimes expected to monitor product quality to insure compliance to standards and specifications. Somewhat less frequently, chemical laboratory technicians are also expected to layout and fabricate experimental apparatus to evolve new products and processes.

Chemical laboratory technicians sometimes are asked to furnish technical support and assistance to chemists and engineers. They also have to be able to order and inventory materials to maintain supplies And finally, they sometimes have to direct or monitor other staff producing chemical products.

Like many other jobs, chemical laboratory technicians must be thorough and dependable and be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Charleston include:

  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Chemical Laboratory Technician Training

West Virginia State Community and Technical College - Institute, WV

West Virginia State Community and Technical College, 103 Cole Complex, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State Community and Technical College is a small college located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,741 students. West Virginia State Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Chemical Technology/Technician.

CERTIFICATIONS

Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist: RELT -- Registered Environmental Laboratory Technologist is a special registration/certification for persons engaged in the laboratory management and/or analysis of environmental samples.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

Certified Metalworking Fluids Specialist: Certified Metalworking Fluids Specialists are those individuals who have met minimum standards of experience, knowledge and written examination requirements as established by the STLE Metalworking Fluids Certification Committee to provide technical consultation in the field of metalworking fluids management.

For more information, see the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.