Chemist Career

chemist-500People who choose to work in the field of chemistry can do so in a multitude of capacities. Because their job entails the observation and study of how chemicals interact with each other, the job opportunities can be varied and vast. A great deal of inventions that occur have done so with the help of chemists.

From innovations dealing with paint, to new uses for plastics, polymers, resins, rubber, and carbon fibers, chemists have always been at the cusp of the cutting edge, ever helping us move forward as a society. Chemists help us understand the world around us and benefit mankind as new discoveries are made.

Chemist Career Snapshot

Chemists typically keep regular work hours, and they tend to work in offices for companies or universities. There are also work opportunities within the United States government, helping to enhance our knowledge of the materials needed to make Kevlar, more effective armor, propulsion systems, aeronautics, and rocket fuel. Other chemists may find employment by giving a foundation in chemistry to students through teaching.

Further details on a career as a chemist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average pay for chemists per year.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 7% have a Master’s degree.

Chemist Education

For many chemistry jobs, students will need to achieve at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or in a field that is related. Entry-level engineering positions are available for those who have their bachelor’s in chemical engineering. For employment in research positions, more education is needed in the form of a master’s degree or doctorate.

Chemist Job Duties

A chemist is most likely going to be working with a team and will be in a controlled environment. He or she will be responsible for analyzing chemical compounds, will use equipment like a spectrometer or a chromatograph, and will need to take detailed records of the information gleaned. Though a chemist has very little chance of being self-employed, he or she will be responsible for taking the initiative, self-directing, demonstrating time management.

Chemist Salaries

The median salary earned by chemists in entry-level positions is $71,610 per year, or $34.91 per hour according to May 2015 data from the For chemists with Ph.D.s, the median annual salary is $98,000, or $47.11 per hour.

Chemist Job Outlook

Though the field of chemistry is slated to have a slower than average job growth for the next eight years, at just 3%, the number of jobs projected to exist for the same time period is 22,400. The opportunities, of course, will vary depending on the level of education a person has procured. There are currently 91,000 employed chemists in our country.

Chemist Skills & Traits

Chemist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Chemists:Typical Work Activities:
• Science
• Critical Thinking
• Reading Comprehension
• Active Listening
• Mathematics
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Oral Comprehension
• Written Comprehension
• Mathematical Reasoning
• Benchtop centrifuges
• Calorimeters
• Lasers
• Spectrometers
• Spectrometers
• Recording information
• Working with computers
• Communicating with others
• Analyzing data
• Processing information

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