Employment of chemical technicians is expected to increase by 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Chemical technicians will continue to be needed in scientific research and development (R&D) and to monitor the quality of chemical products and processes. Greater interest in environmental issues, such as pollution control, clean energy, and sustainability, are expected to increase the demand for chemistry research and development.
Declines are expected in chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Many chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers are expected to outsource their scientific R&D and testing operations to professional, scientific, and technical services firms that specialize in these services. In addition, many companies are expected to increase the amount of manufacturing done overseas, further limiting the demand for chemical technicians in those industries.
As the instrumentation and techniques used in research, development, and production become more complex, employers will seek job candidates with highly developed technical skills. Job opportunities are expected to be best for graduates of applied science technology programs who are well trained on equipment used in laboratories or production facilities.
In addition to job openings created by growth, many openings should arise from the need to replace technicians who retire or leave the labor force for other reasons.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition