The duties of a laboratory mechanic may differ greatly depending on the specific type of company he or she works for. There are many types of companies that employ this position including optical, dental, medical, and engineering companies. One of the primary duties of a laboratory mechanic is to maintain, repair, and order equipment for company laboratories. Many of these fields require that the mechanic has a college degree and/or specialized training, which may be offered at community colleges or vocational schools. Depending on the company, this profession can be extremely lucrative and may offer numerous career advancements.
An optical laboratory mechanic is in charge of the machinery used to grind, cut, and polish lenses. He or she may be responsible for the assembly of frames and other optical components. There is a lens molding process that is performed by this position and it includes using a template to form the shape of the lens, operating machinery that coats the lens, and using grinding tools to finish shaping in order to fit the lenses in a frame. A minimum of an associate's degree may be required.
Dental mechanics work closely with dentists to assist in manufacturing, preparing, or fixing replacement teeth and natural teeth. They are familiar with the equipment needed to set molds of teeth that a dental prosthetist has made a plaster impression of. A dental laboratory mechanic may also be responsible for various repairs and alignments of dentures. Some offices only require that this position has a high school diploma or equivalent certificate and extensive training in the field.
A medical laboratory mechanic sometimes works with equipment that tests various bodily fluids and tissues. They are responsible for overseeing testing and other laboratory work. In addition to observing and reporting, they may be in charge of preparing specimens for analysis by other professionals. This profession requires specific training in the field and academic coursework may include pathology, immunology, microbiology, and other sciences.
There are many engineering fields that use a laboratory mechanic to assist senior engineers including mechanical, aerospace, civil, or electrical engineering companies. A mechanic in this case often performs a wide range of duties including drawing preparations, product evaluation, repairing or adjusting equipment, and product cost analysis. Most companies may require that candidates for this position are certified by an engineering association and have at least an associate's degree in the field.