Becoming a technician
Technicians play a vital role in our society and work in virtually every sector and industry. They are the linchpins of the economy, driving innovation, productivity and generally keeping things running smoothly. The important work that technicians do is as diverse as their career paths.
Meet the technicians
So what is a technician?
According to the Technicians Council: “A technician is a person who is skilled in the use of particular techniques and procedures to solve practical problems, often in ways that involve considerable ingenuity and creativity. Technicians typically work with complex instruments and equipment, and require specialised training, as well as considerable practical experience, in order to do their job effectively.”
It's a pretty broad definition and it shows just how many roles can fall into this category. Many technicians won’t have the word “technician” in their job title or necessarily describe themselves as such.
What routes exist to become technicians or follow technical career paths?
There are various pathways into technical careers:
- The academic option: studying A-levels, Highers, Leaving Certificate, Foundation Degrees and Degrees
- The technical option: undertaking an apprenticeship or college-based technical education with a substantial work placement. The new T-levels will be part of the technical option in England.
The technical option prepares individuals for skilled employment in occupations that require both a substantial body of technical knowledge and a set of practical skills valued by industry. Apprenticeships are designed by employers and so help you to develop and build skills that employers really need. Your qualification and work experience will help you stand out to future employers and support your long-term career plans.
It’s also possible to develop the skills and knowledge required to further your technical career “on the job”.
What professional registration can I gain as a technician – and what are the benefits?
The benefits of professional registration include:
- Public recognition of your knowledge and experience
- Developing skills and confidence
- Improving your chances of promotion
- Demonstrating fitness for leadership
Registered Science Technician (RSciTech) is for technicians and technical support staff and is highly regarded within education and industry. Registered Scientist (RSci) is for those completing higher and degree apprenticeships, and scientific and higher technical support staff.
What is the Technician Commitment?
More than 80 universities and research institutions across the UK have backed a pledge to support their technicians. To safeguard vital technical skills, five target areas have been identified. The commitment will ensure greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines.