Laboratory technician

lab technician
Science, mathematics and statistics

Career outlook for laboratory technician

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would do tests, research and investigations and support scientists and their research. You could work in different areas such as forensic science, scientific analysis, the health service, responding to climate change and in education.

You might work to diagnose diseases, measure levels of pollution or help to develop new products. You might work with specialised techniques such as ways of treating infertility.

You would:

  • Set up experiments or investigations
  • Do risk assessments for lab activities
  • Collect and analyse samples
  • Prepare solutions, cultures or specimens
  • Analyse samples
  • Record and present data
  • Order and control stock
  • Dispose of chemicals and waste products in a safe way
  • Make sure that equipment is clean and in good working order.

If you worked in education, you would also set up equipment and demonstrate experiments.

You’d need to have a good awareness of health and safety regulations to work safely.

Your team would include scientists and other technicians. With experience you may also supervise lab support workers or junior technicians.

Working conditions


You would usually work 37 hours a week as a full-time lab technician. You could work shifts and be on an on-call rota with some employers.


You would generally work in sterile lab conditions and wear protective clothing such as lab coats, safety glasses and gloves.


In some industries, you may need to travel to carry out field work or collect samples for analysis.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Managing resources
  • Analysing
  • Understanding

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There are different entry routes and levels for this role.

Some employers may consider you with SCQF levels 4-6 qualifications for entry level roles.

You may be able to do a Modern Apprenticeship and complete a work-based qualification. Entry requirements for an apprenticeship vary, ranging from no requirements to SCQF level 4-6 qualifications or above.

Most employers will value a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in a science subject.

Some employers may ask for a undergraduate degrees (SCQF level 9), most undergraduate courses ask for at least four Higher (SCQF level 6) passes with a B although this varies depending on the university. 


Useful subjects

  • Science subjects (required by most employers and courses)
  • Maths (required by most employers and courses)
  • English (required by most employers and courses)
  • Other science subjects
  • Technologies subjects

Helpful to have

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (SVQ level 3).