Chemist Profile and Career Information

Job Profile and Career Information about Chemists

Chemists study and work with chemicals.
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Here's a look at what a chemist is, what a chemist does, and what type of salary and career opportunities you can expect as a chemist.

What Is a Chemist?

What Do Chemists Do?

There are a lot of different employment opportunities open to chemists. Some chemists work in a lab, in a research environment, asking questions and testing hypotheses with experiments. Other chemists may work on a computer developing theories or models or predicting reactions. Some chemists do field work. Others contribute advice on chemistry for projects. Some chemists write. Some chemists teach. The career options are extensive.

Job Outlook for Chemists

Chemist Salaries

  • federal executive branch: $88,930
  • scientific research & development: $68,760
  • chemical manufacture: $62,340
  • pharmaceutical manufacture: $57,210
  • testing laboratories: $45,730

Chemist Working Conditions

Types of Chemists

  • Organic Chemists - work with carbon and carbon-compounds, many of which come from plants or animals. Organic chemists develop drug, petrochemicals, fertilizers, and plastics.
  • Inorganic Chemists - deal primarily with non-carbon chemistry involving metals, minerals, and electronics.
  • Analytical Chemists - examine substances. Analytical chemists identify materials, measure quantities, and evaluate properties of elements and compounds.
  • Physical Chemists - work primarily in the field of energy research. Physical chemists look at chemical and physical changes and examine the relationships between matter and energy.

Chemist Educational Requirements

Advancement as a Chemist

How to Get a Job as a Chemist

often accept co-op positions with companies so they can work in chemistry while getting their education. These students often stay on with the company following graduation. Summer internships are another excellent way to learn whether or not a chemist and a company are a good fit for each other. Many companies recruit from campuses. Graduates can learn about jobs from college career placement offices. Chemistry jobs may be advertised in journals, newspapers, and online, though one of the best ways to network and find a position is through a chemical society or other professional organization.