Organic Chemist Career Profile

Organic Chemist Job Profile

An organic chemist in a laboratory
Grete Kask, organic chemist at Tallinn University of Technology. By Maxim Bilovitskiy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is an organic chemist job profile. Learn about what organic chemists do, where organic chemists work, what type of person enjoys organic chemistry and what it takes to become an organic chemist.

What Does an Organic Chemist Do?

Organic chemists study molecules that contain carbon. They may characterize, synthesize or find applications for organic molecules. They perform calculations and chemical reactions to achieve their goals.

Organic chemists typically work with advanced, computer-driven equipment as well as traditional chemistry lab equipment and chemicals.

Where Organic Chemists Work

Organic chemists put in a lot of time in the lab, but they also spend time reading scientific literature and writing about their work. Some organic chemists work on computers with modeling and simulation software. Organic chemists interact with colleagues and attend meetings. Some organic chemists have teaching and management responsibilities. An organic chemist's work environment tends to be clean, well-lighted, safe and comfortable. Expect time at the lab bench and at a desk.

Who Wants to Be an Organic Chemist?

Organic chemists are detail-oriented problem solvers. If you want to be an organic chemist, you can expect to work in a team and to need to communicate complex chemistry to people in other areas. It's important to have good oral and written communication skills.

Organic chemists often lead teams or organize research strategies, so leadership skills and independence are helpful, too.

Organic Chemist Job Outlook

Presently organic chemists face a strong job outlook. Most organic chemist positions are in industry. Organic chemists are in demand by companies that produce pharmaceuticals, consumer products, and many other goods.

There are teaching opportunities for Ph.D. organic chemists at some colleges and universities, but these tend to be highly competitive. A smaller numbers of teaching and research opportunities exist for organic chemists with masters degrees at some two and four-year colleges.