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So You Want To Be A Lab Technician?
MCR Labs is hiring lab techs for all shifts. Read on to find out what its like to work for a cannabis testing lab.

MCR Labs is growing and hiring additional laboratory technicians!  So we thought this would be a great time to talk to a few of our “lab techs” to see how they got into cannabis and what their advice is for people looking to get into the field.  For information on applying, visit the link.  

Vince Barcinas prepping samples in the lab.

1) Name and title:

My name is Vince Barcinas and I’m a Lab Tech 2 at MCR Labs.

2) Tell us a little about yourself. 

I started in December 2018 as a Lab Tech 1. I went to The University of Scranton for Chemistry, which funny enough was roughly an hour away from where MCR Labs Pennsylvania ended up setting up. Small world, big state! Aside from that, I can confidently state that I never know what to put in these “About Me” sections of things. That’s a usable fact, right?

3) What does a day on the job look like for you?

Honestly, it depends on the needs of the day. Right now I’m training on our Heavy Metals screen so most of my time is being spent over in that little corner of the lab. If one of the other tests needs help though, say Microbio with weighing or Cannabinoids with processing, then you can usually find me at a balance or with a pipette in the other corner of the lab.

4) What prior experience did you have that helped prepare you for work in the lab?

All of my previous lab experience was in academic labs at school. It was the fundamentals that helped me the most starting out, particularly with skills around weighing, solution making, and note taking. The instruments between the labs were different but both places still needed samples put into vessels, reagents/solutions added to said vessels, and notes to be taken down about sample weights.

5) What do you see as the biggest misconception people have of cannabis?

A lot of people still believe the “lazy stoner” stereotype you usually see on TV and movies applies to all users. However, the consumers I’ve known are some of the hardest working people I’ve had the honor and pleasure of meeting. On a broader scale, consumers come from all walks of life. Sure, you’re going to get people who do end up fulfilling that stereotype, but you’ll also get people who use it to unwind from a long, stressful day at work, people who use it to get into their productive mindset, or people who use it to help their treatment and healing. It just isn’t fair to assume all consumers are lazy.

6) What’s your favorite part of the job? 

I like the learning opportunities that are available. Even 2 years into working here I’m always learning something new, whether it’s how to run a new instrument or how to test a new product that comes in. People are getting creative with what they can infuse with marijuana so there’s always a bit of figuring out how to run it on our instruments.

7) What advice do you have for someone considering entering the cannabis industry?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It helps you grow and improve your ability to do your job, plus it helps you get to know the people you’re working with.

Vanessa Mora prepping for a heavy metals screen.

1) Name and title:  

My name is Vanessa Mora, and I’m a lab tech. I’ve been working here a little over a year now.

2) Tell us a little about yourself. 

During my senior year of college at UMASS Lowell, I became more curious about the cannabis industry and the science behind it. I use it recreationally and medically now, so I’m happy I get to work with something I love. 

3) What does a day on the job look like for you?

Every day is very busy. I mainly process for heavy metals, so I’m constantly moving between the weigh station and the metals station. 

4) What prior experience did you have that helped prepare you for work in the lab?

Since I went to school for clinical lab sciences, a lot of my lab courses had us using scales and pipettes for experiments. Even with that though, I feel like I learned a lot more on the job from my coworkers and the Sciops team. 

5) What do you see as the biggest misconception people have of cannabis?

I think the biggest misconception of weed is that it’s a “gateway drug”, so it has a lot of negative associations with it and with people who use it. 

6) What’s your favorite part of the job? 

My favorite part of the job is definitely the people I work with. Being at the weigh station is always fun because as we’re weighing samples, we can talk and joke around.  Everyone is also so hard working and smart, so it’s really motivating. 

7) What advice do you have for someone considering entering the cannabis industry?

My advice is to prepare yourself for change and to get ready to learn. Since this is a newer industry and we’re continuing to grow with it, protocols and methods change, so it’s always important to be in communication with your team with what’s going on. 

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If you are interested in applying for a lab technician position, please reach out to La Verne Freeman.

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