Which laboratory-based science jobs should I apply to?

Stephen O'Brien 07.03.2018

Looking for a new role, or starting off your career, can sometimes be confusing especially when there are so many different titles for similar roles. It can also be frustrating as you can apply for roles which may not be applicable to your particular skill set.

To help clarify some of these laboratory-based positions, see below for the various terminology commonly used when recruiting lab-based positions across science.  

Quality Control Analyst (QC Analyst) / QC Technician / QC Chemist jobs

You’ll find these in every lab across pharmaceutical or bio-pharmaceutical companies. QC analysts ensure that a product complies with defined regulations and meets the requirements of the client or customer. These analysts are required to do a number of tests across raw materials, in-process control (IPC), finished product and stability tests in a GMP environment.

This analysis is carried out using various tests such as Karl Fischer, UV spectrometry, heavy metals, loss on drying and other wet chemistry techniques. However, the two most common methods of analysis used in these industries are GC (gas chromatography) and HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography). The analyst should be able to run all areas of HPLC including preparation of reagents, running samples, interpreting results and troubleshooting (dealing with any issues that arise).

When recruiting for these positions, companies generally look for candidates with a minimum of two years' HPLC/GC experience, depending on the role.

Laboratory Technician / Laboratory Analyst / Quality Technician jobs

Lab technicians can work across ISO, INAB-accredited, GMP environments. These can typically be in an environmental or food manufacturing or chemical plants. A laboratory technicians tasks will vary depending on their place of work.

  • Food lab technician tests can include macromolecule analysis (e.g. protein or fat), moisture analysis and even sensory analysis. 
  • A laboratory or quality technician’s role in a manufacturing environment can involve more physical analysis including particle size, strength tests and visual checks.
  • Environmental lab analysts are involved in chemical, biological and bacteriological analysis on samples (mainly liquid).


These positions can range in experience requirement and some positions can even be open to graduates. These are a great opportunity to gain some industry experience. 

QC Microbiology Analyst

These microbiology analysts work in the same pharmaceutical/biopharmaceutical industries as the QC analysts however, their responsibilities cover bacteriological analysis to support operations. Generally this analysis is composed of bioburden and endotoxin testing. Environmental monitoring is also a key requirement.

Microbiology analysts within a food or contract laboratory can have a variation of tests e.g. pathogen testing and media preparation (agars etc.) as well as autoclave use. Experience required differs between the pharmaceutical and ISO-accredited labs.

Pharmaceutical companies generally look for minimum two years with experience across environmental monitoring, endotoxin and bioburden testing. PhD or Master’s graduates with relevant experience can also be considered.

Biopharmaceutical companies favour plate-based methods,  ELISA and immunoassays. 

ISO or INAB-accredited labs can sometimes take on graduates with microbiological experience gained from college .

If you would like more information on the above or would like to discuss current opportunities, please contact me via my details below.

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