If chemistry is a subject that intrigues you and piques your imagination, why not consider making a career out of it?
Contrary to what many believe, studying chemistry does not always mean memorizing long formulas. In fact, professionals spend years conducting groundbreaking research to provide actionable solutions to the ills of society.
And if you're caught asking yourself: "what jobs can I get with a chemistry degree," know that the field offers immense employment prospects for graduates.
The salary and requirements may vary according to the nature of the job and organization you're working with. But careers for chemistry majors are a dime and dozen and among the highest paying in current times.
Keep scrolling as we elaborate on some positions you can take up as a chemistry graduate in America:
Analytical chemists are trained to analyze chemical substances and identify their underlying components.
A chemistry career in this field involves:
- Studying different chemicals and chemical substances
- Analyzing them quantitatively
- Trying to work out how these substances will behave
- Calculating the reactions that will follow when they come in contact with other substances
An analytical chemist's job entails analyzing food and beverages, drugs, and other products to make sure their quality is maintained and that they are fit for consumption and everyday use.
Their jobs are important and can undoubtedly result in a potentially lengthy and fruitful chemistry career path for many graduates.
Some tasks that fall under the ambit of an analytical chemist include toxicology examinations on substances, developing pharmaceuticals, and conducting forensic analysis. They may either be employed with an organization or specialize in a particular field like toxicology.
Chemical engineers are responsible for developing and designing products from raw materials. They use their knowledge of chemical substances and their properties to transform materials into new forms.
- Synthesizing nylon
- Making plastic from oil
Chemical engineers are needed across a vast range of industries to help develop innovative products based on the needs of the industry, such as ecologically friendly biodegradable plastics for the plastic industry.
Along with this, they might even be asked to monitor equipment and assist chemists with specific research tasks in some instances.
A chemical engineer might not necessarily work in a laboratory but find employment prospects in many chemistry-related careers such as food and beverage manufacturing.
This is the one profession without which none of the others on this list would exist. Chemistry teachers are the guiding light for any chemistry student who wants to learn the subject.
They must work through a set curriculum set by the school or institute and help students pass their examinations while also giving them a thorough understanding of the subject.
On the other hand, chemistry teachers can also provide private tutoring to students through platforms like Superprof. That is if they don't want to find employment with a school.
Everyone who wants to get into this line of work must have a teaching qualification to be eligible for a job, along with an equivalent certification or qualification in chemistry.
Chemistry teachers are tasked with developing and presenting the curriculum and ensuring that their students gain a comprehensive understanding of the subject through:
- Field Trips
- Lab work
If you have a chemistry degree and wish to teach it as a hobby, you can opt for chemistry summer programs as a teacher to see if you have the aptitude for it.
This job is a testament to the fact that a chemistry career does not always entail research work!
Forensic scientists analyze illegal materials and other substances of interest, typically found during an investigation or at a crime scene.
They must collect samples of materials found at the crime scene to study and later present as evidence in legal proceedings. These can include things like:
- Bodily fluids
Forensics have to use their expertise to aid legal cases and substantiate evidence concerning the investigation.
This is the perfect job for anyone studying in the pursuit of becoming a chemist in America who also has a knack for crime scenes and investigative work.
Geochemists are responsible for studying the physical and chemical properties of rocks and minerals for research purposes.
By drawing on their knowledge, they must determine the quality and quantity of the components within rocks and minerals, alongside delineating their makeup and distribution.
In practical terms, careers for chemistry majors in geochemistry can involve:
Geochemists can find work in these and other fields where it is necessary to understand soil and water systems on a piece of land.
They may also be tasked with identifying rigging sites for oil and precious metals, lowering or raising the water table, and removing toxic waste from under the ground.
Hazardous Waste Chemist
A chemistry career based on hazardous waste management involves managing, handling, disposing, and relocating dangerous materials.
However, your job won't require you to pull up your sleeves and collect trash. As a hazardous waste chemist, you will have to analyze the waste you're dealing with and provide alternate usage ideas.
They are trained to identify chemicals in natural elements – such as in the air, water, or soil – and analyzing them to ascertain their dangers, in which case they must coordinate their disposal, containment, and relocation.
A hazardous waste chemist might be employed with large manufacturing organizations to ensure that no by-products or materials used in the production process can harm the natural and artificial environment.
They must also ensure that proper safety protocols are followed during the process as they develop efficient waste management systems to manage hazardous materials.
Material scientists are responsible for studying and analyzing natural and synthetic substances to determine their properties and composition.
In effect, this entails studying these substances to enhance their functionality and effectiveness or creating new materials by synthesizing different elements.
With their analysis, they can use existing resources to create new materials with enhanced qualities, like Kevlar and nylon. These are ideas that are widely taught in chemistry programs in American universities.
Furthermore, their findings can also be used to alter existing materials or using them in alternate ways. In today's world, there is immense potential for materials scientists to carve their niche as a career for chemistry majors.
Pharmacologists are responsible for developing and testing drugs and inspecting their effects on the human body.
They are effectively responsible for ascertaining if the drugs are safe for human use and might even be tasked with testing the drugs on animals or human volunteers before giving the go-ahead.
A large part of their job consists of lab-based work, where they must supervise experiments and conduct research.
Besides studying the chemistry and makeup of drugs, they must also be aware of their sources and their production process.
The scope of a toxicologist is similar to pharmacologists in that they study the effects of drugs. However, they also analyze other substances – natural and human-made – and determine effects.
They develop methodologies to mitigate and manage the harmful effects of the substances under examination and judge their correct dosages.
Toxicologists also spend a lot of time in the laboratory, and their work involves monitoring experiments and studying the results.
Moreover, they might be responsible for testing tissue samples to detect harmful substances like alcohol, poison, and high-grade pharmaceuticals.
They may even be drafted into criminal investigations.
Water chemists are tasked with analyzing and regulating water quality, a responsibility that can overlap with other fields, like microbiology and geology.
They might even work under different roles but with the same scope, such as a hydrologist or hydrogeologist.
Their job duties entail:
- Monitoring chemicals and other substances present in public water sources
- Making sure the purification processes are safe
- Studying water inputs and outputs from different ecosystems
- Making policies with regards to water use
Most of the chemistry jobs listed above will require you to have some level of qualification in chemistry, whether that's a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D.
And the job of a water chemist is no different!
Studying To Become A Chemist
Many chemistry jobs are lab-based, though not all - several roles may include fieldwork, office work, or even teaching in an academic environment.
Other senior roles can involve people management, liaising with businesses, and management of departments and budgets.
And if you want to learn to succeed in your field, you may need the help of a private tutor, or better yet, a private Superprof tutor!
Superprof provides users with an extensive catalog of qualified teachers for every discipline. Simply sign up, search for a chemistry tutor, and begin your journey towards a chemistry career!