Employment of chemical technicians is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Declines in the employment of chemical technicians are projected in all chemical manufacturing industries, including pharmaceutical manufacturing. However, the development of cheaper energy and sources of raw materials, such as shale gas, is expected to spur some chemical manufacturing activity to return to the United States. Their return should generate demand for these workers in the next decade.
Chemical technicians will continue to be in demand 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 R&D. 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.
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 in the latest technology and sophisticated equipment used in laboratories or production facilities.
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Life, physical, and social science technicians
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program