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Life in the lab: science careers without a degree

Science careers without a degree

Here’s how to get an awesome science career without going to uni!

If uni isn’t for you but you’re still keen on working in a science lab, you totally can! There are lots of VET pathways to becoming a lab technician, and here’s what that gig looks like.

What to study

There are heaps of great TAFE courses that’ll set you up for life in the lab. These include:

·  Certificate III in Laboratory Skills

·  Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques

·  Diploma in Laboratory Technology, in either Chemistry or Food  

If pathology is your jam, you could also look at:

·  Certificate III in Pathology Collection

·  Diploma in Laboratory Technology

Career opportunities

By studying a lab tech course through VET, there are so many ways to combine science with your ‘X’ – that’s your passion, hobby or big goal. You could become a:

·  Biological testing technical assistant

·  Laboratory assistant in water quality, food testing or polymer testing

·  School laboratory technician

·  Forensic science technician

·  Medical laboratory technician

·  Manufacturing testing technical officer

·  Pathology collector

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Where you could work

So many interesting places! If you’re interested in science + education, you could work in a school science lab. Keen on crime and justice? Get a job in forensics. Enjoy being hands on? You could land a gig in manufacturing. Love the idea of a health career? Pharmacology could be perfect for you. Top tip: research all your VET study options to see which course will get you to where you want to go.

What you’ll be doing

So what does a lab technician actually do? Technicians head up the maintenance of lab tools and equipment, capture and sort data and ensure efficiency and accuracy.

Show me the money

In 2023, lab technologists earned $65,795 on average.

Be in-demand

Lab technician jobs will grow by 6.8% by 2026, according to the National Skills Commission!

VET pathways

Find out more about alternative pathways into science over here.

This story first appeared in Careers with STEM: Science 2024. Sign up to the Careers with STEM weekly newsletter to keep up to date on all things STEM study paths and careers.

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