Laboratory assistant

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Chemical laboratory assistant (1952)

Chemical laboratory assistants or chemical laboratory technicians (Austria) work in close cooperation with natural scientists and engineers in research, development and production laboratories in industry, at universities, in chemical research facilities and in test centers. When transferring a chemical process from laboratory scale to operational scale, they are also used in technical centers.

Chemical laboratory assistants carry out analyzes and quality controls, syntheses and metrological tasks independently, planning the practical work processes occurring in laboratories, recording the work and evaluating the work results. In their work, they must, with a high level of responsibility, take into account the rules and regulations on occupational safety, health protection, environmental protection and quality assurance. They have a broad scientific education which enables them to work in many different areas on a team and project basis.

Situation in Germany

In Germany, training to become a chemical laboratory technician is regulated by the Vocational Training Act and takes place at the company and vocational school in the so-called dual system . It usually lasts 3½ years and can be shortened to 3 or, in exceptional cases, to 2½ years with good performance. Chemical laboratory technicians

  • prepare and carry out chemical and physico-chemical laboratory tests and test series,
  • create solutions,
  • determine by-products,
  • perform chemical measurement and conversion processes as well as chemical calculations,
  • operate chemical-technical equipment and laboratory devices and monitor them
  • maintain and maintain equipment and laboratory equipment,
  • log all chemical processes.

In 2002 the training regulations were amended. The first two years of training are devoted to basic training in the chemical laboratory. In the following years of training, various elective qualifications are chosen (e.g. spectroscopy, chromatography, process engineering, synthesis technology, etc.). There is therefore no longer any division into different disciplines. The chemical technician is a further training option .


Starting with the Testing Ordinance of 2002, the final examination was divided into two parts, which was confirmed by the 2009 reorganization. The first part of the final exam is planned for the end of the second year of training. It contributes 35% of the final grade and primarily deals with organic preparative chemistry. The second part of the final examination (rated at 65%) takes place at the regular end of the training and deals with the areas of inorganic and analytical chemistry as well as 3 of 8 selected elective qualifications. The examination area “Economics and Social Studies” is examined in the second part and contributes 10% to the overall grade.

Situation in Switzerland

The training to become a chemical laboratory technician usually lasts 3 years and is based on the dual or triple training model. The training can be shortened to 2 years, provided that there is a corresponding education (in the case of a second training), whereby the theoretical training at the vocational school is omitted. In addition to the general chemical basics, organic chemistry, environmental science, poison science, technical English, physical basics, biology, technical computing and laboratory methodology are also learned.

There are three specializations: analytics , synthesis and galenics .


The chemical basics will be tested in the fourth semester and will add up to the grade of the technical English test. The actual LAP takes place at the end of the third year of training and consists of the following partial exams:

  • 2 days practical test in the laboratory
  • Biology (preferred, 45 minutes)
  • Organic chemistry, general chemistry, technical English, laboratory methodology and physical basics (LPMG), one hour each
  • Technical arithmetic, 100 minutes
  • General education (for apprentices doing their first training)

An intermediate examination does not take place. The oral exams were held for the last time in 2008. At that time, they were taken in organic chemistry and general chemistry and the examination grades received were added together with the written examination result to form a sub-grade.

Situation in Austria

The contents of the training differ only slightly from those in Germany or Switzerland; the official name in Austria is slightly different as laboratory technician . The apprenticeship in chemical laboratory technology was replaced by the modular apprenticeship in laboratory technology on June 1, 2015. No new training courses can be started in the chemical laboratory technology apprenticeship. In this modular apprenticeship, the possible module combinations were changed on June 1, 2016.

The training in the modular apprenticeship laboratory technology comprises a mandatory two-year training in the basic module laboratory technology and a year and a half training in one of the following main modules:

  • chemistry
  • Lacquers and paints
  • biochemistry

In addition, a second main module or the special module laboratory automation can be selected in a further half year of training.

Combination options: The main module “Biochemistry” cannot be combined with the other main modules. Otherwise all combinations are permitted. Duration of the apprenticeship:

  • 3.5 years: basic module + one main module
  • 4 years: basic module + one main module + one special module
  • 4 years: basic module + two main modules


The final apprenticeship examination is divided into a practical and a theoretical part. The theoretical examination covers the subjects chemistry, technology and applied mathematics. The practical part consists of an examination and an expert discussion based on it. The test work is essentially the processing of a company work order with documentation.

Well-known chemical laboratory assistants (selection)

There are a number of chemical laboratory technicians who have achieved considerable academic degrees. Hans-Peter Beuck, Dipl-Ing. (FH) Chemie has been managing director of Rare Chemicals GmbH for 20 years. Helmut Schwarz became known as a professor at the Technical University of Berlin , recipient of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize and President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation . Heino Finkelmann was Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Freiburg , Dieter Hoppe at the University of Münster , Ulrich Stottmeister at the University of Leipzig , Heinz Köser at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and Jürgen Gmehling at the University of Oldenburg . Jürgen Martens is a professor at the Institute for Chemistry at the University of Oldenburg. Carol V. Robinson started out as a chemical laboratory technician in England . Historically probably the most famous chemical laboratory assistant is Michael Faraday .

See also



Training / learning content for chemical laboratory technicians:

  • Brackmann, Peter, Grote-Wolff, Astrid a. a .: Specialist knowledge chemistry 1: core qualifications for laboratory professions, Europa-Verlag, Haan-Gruiten 2011, 1st edition, ISBN 978-3-8085-6991-7 (for apprentices as chemical laboratory technicians and similar laboratory professions)
  • Wächter, Michael: chemistry laboratory. Introduction to Laborpraxis, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2011, 1st edition, ISBN 978-3-527-32996-0 (For first-year chemistry students at universities and technical colleges, for apprentices to become chemical-technical assistants, CTA, chemical laboratory technicians, etc.)

Web links

Wiktionary: Chemical laboratory assistant  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations