Do you get any chemistry with these chemistry degree jobs?

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A chemistry degree work allows you to work with everything from laundry detergents and drugs to fuel.

In its simplest form, chemistry is the study of substances. Chemistry professionals focus on the atomic and molecular aspects of substances. By conducting research, chemists learn about the interactions between substances, how to manipulate and improve them, and how to create new ones.

Chemistry specializations include analytical chemistry, chemical engineering, organic chemistry, and biochemistry.

Chemical technicians, chemists and materials scientists, and chemical engineers are among the most common chemistry jobs. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, all three roles are expected to experience increased demand until at least 2030.

With a chemistry degree, you can work in manufacturing, research and development, wholesale, education, or even government. Read on to find out more about the best jobs available for chemistry majors.

Types of careers in chemistry

Chemistry is a broad field with many possibilities for degree and career specialization. Here are some notable subdomains of chemistry.

  • Analytical chemistry discovers the chemical composition and structure of materials through standardized experimental methods.
  • Biological chemistry, also called biochemistry, studies chemicals and their interactions with living organisms.
  • Chemical engineering mixes chemistry and engineering to produce and improve manufactured chemicals.
  • Inorganic chemistry emphasizes the properties and behavior of inorganic (non-carbon) chemical elements and compounds.
  • Organic chemistry focuses on the properties, reactions and structures of organic (carbon-based) compounds.
  • Physical chemistry applies physics to the study of chemical interactions at the atomic and molecular levels.
  • Theoretical chemistry develops theories to explain chemical systems, principles and processes.

The best jobs for chemistry majors

Jobs in chemistry vary by level, experience required and environment. With an undergraduate degree in chemistry, you have the skills for entry-level positions. Graduate programs prepare you for advanced roles.

The jobs for chemistry majors listed here are just a few of the positions available to you.

To rank the best jobs for chemistry majors, we assessed roles based on salary, job demand and projected growth, work-life balance, and job satisfaction. The criteria we weighted the most were salary, work-life balance and job satisfaction.

1. Chemical engineer

Median salary (2020): $ 108,540

Minimum diploma required: Licence

Alternative job titles: Biochemical engineer, chemical process engineer, industrial chemical engineer

Important qualities: Works well independently and as part of a team, detail oriented, knowledge of chemistry and engineering, problem solver

The description: Chemical engineers combine chemistry and engineering to solve the challenges of using and producing chemicals. They monitor manufacturing processes, establish and follow safety procedures, troubleshoot problems, and evaluate performance throughout production.

2. Environmental scientist

Median salary (2020): $ 73,230

Minimum diploma required: Licence

Alternative job titles: Industrial ecologist, environmental specialist, climate change analyst

Important qualities: Knowledge of environmental issues, enjoys working outdoors or in the laboratory, problem solving, verbal and written communication skills

The description: Environmental scientists focus on solving problems related to the environment and human health. They collect and analyze samples to assess environmental threats and health risks. Environmental scientists may work in government agencies, manufacturing companies, or companies or nonprofit organizations focused on the environment.

3. Biochemist

Median salary (2020): $ 94,270

Minimum diploma required: Doctorate or professional degree

Alternative job titles: Biologist, molecular biologist, cell biologist

Important qualities: Able to work independently and in a team, verbal and written communication skills, analytical, able to follow safety rules and regulations

The description: Biochemists research the chemical principles of living organisms and biological processes. Basic and applied research on cell growth, development and division requires collaboration with scientists from all disciplines and fields. Biochemists can participate in the development of products related to medicine, agriculture or industrial manufacturing.

4. Agricultural and food scientist

Median salary (2020): $ 68,830

Minimum diploma required: Licence

Alternative job titles: Animal scientist, soil scientist, plant technician

Important qualities: Able to work in a laboratory or outside, enjoys traveling, can work independently or in a team, knowledge of challenges and issues related to field crops and farm animals

The description: Responsible for improving agricultural efficiency, agricultural and food scientists work to develop new food products and optimize existing agricultural and food resources. They also collaborate with fellow scientists, farm businesses, government agencies, and food producers to improve farm safety.

5. Materials scientist

Median salary (2020): $ 99,460

Minimum diploma required: Licence

Alternative job titles: Nanomaterial scientist, semiconductor specialist, organic scientist

Important qualities: Can follow experimental, analytical protocols, works well in a laboratory and in an office

The description: Materials scientists conduct experiments on specific substances to understand and evaluate them at the atomic and molecular levels. Materials scientists and their colleagues test and develop manufactured products, improve existing ones, and identify the properties and composition of substances. Specialty areas for materials scientists include metals, glass, and polymers.

6. Forensic science technician

Median salary (2020): $ 60,590

Minimum diploma required: Licence

Alternative job titles: Crime scene technician, crime scene investigator, forensic lab technicians

Important qualities: Able to work flexible hours, attention to detail, can spend hours working in a laboratory, written and verbal communication skills

The description: Forensic science technicians work alongside law enforcement to collect and analyze evidence. Many field science technicians work in the field, while others focus on laboratory analysis. Forensic technicians use chemistry, biology, toxicology, and other areas of the natural sciences. They keep detailed records of their findings and prepare reports for their colleagues.

7. Chemist

Median salary (2020): $ 79,300

Minimum diploma required: Licence

Alternative job titles: Inorganic chemist, organic chemist, analytical chemist, theoretical chemist

Important qualities: Works well independently and in a team, collaborates with fellow scientists, follows safety rules and regulations, verbal and written communication skills

The description: Chemists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels. They can focus on a subset of chemistry such as organic, inorganic, analytical, or theoretical chemistry. Chemists study the properties of substances and help develop new products such as detergents, plastics and drugs.

8. High school chemistry teacher

Median salary (2020): $ 62,870

Minimum diploma required: Licence

Alternative job titles: Chemistry teacher, high school science teacher, natural science teacher

Important qualities: Patience, communication skills, tech savvy, able to mentor students, observer, can manage a classroom

The description: High school chemistry teachers plan lessons, instruct students, supervise classroom experiments, and administer assessments. They coordinate with their colleagues, interact with administrators, and communicate with parents about student performance and abilities. Many high school chemistry teachers have duties outside of the classroom, including supervising lunch, hallways, and extracurricular activities.

9. Chemical technician

Median salary (2020): $ 49,820

Minimum diploma required: Associate degree

Alternative job titles: Laboratory technician, organic chemistry technician, chemical research assistant

Important qualities: Can follow complex experimental protocols, attention to detail, able to stand for hours in a lab, verbal and written communication skills

The description: Chemical technicians work alongside chemists and chemical engineers to conduct research. They set up and maintain laboratory equipment, monitor experiments, and keep records during experiments. Some chemical technicians may do their own research, compile and interpret data for other chemical professionals.

In conclusion

Jobs in chemistry exist for people who have training and experience at all levels. However, not all careers in chemistry involve spending all day in a lab.

Educational, manufacturing, and law enforcement institutions also provide opportunities for people with a chemistry degree.


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