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What Does it Take to Be a Chemist?

Career Description Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.

List of Chemist Job Duties

  • Direct, coordinate, or advise personnel in test procedures for analyzing components or physical properties of materials.
  • Induce changes in composition of substances by introducing heat, light, energy, or chemical catalysts for quantitative or qualitative analysis.
  • Confer with scientists or engineers to conduct analyses of research projects, interpret test results, or develop nonstandard tests.
  • Prepare test solutions, compounds, or reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct tests.
  • Maintain laboratory instruments to ensure proper working order and troubleshoot malfunctions when needed.
  • Compile and analyze test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency or to diagnose malfunctions.

Chemist Needed Skills

Chemists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Types of Chemist Jobs

  • Chemical Economist
  • Nutritional Chemist
  • Physiological Chemist
  • Oil Expert
  • Food Chemist

What Kind of Chemist Job Opportunities Are There?

In the United States, there were 88,300 jobs for Chemists in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.5% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,700 new jobs for Chemists by 2026. The BLS estimates 8,600 yearly job openings in this field per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Chemists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Chemists are California, Texas, and New Jersey.

Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, North Dakota, or Hawaii. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Chemist

Chemists Make between $43,920 and $133,180 a year. A Chemist median salary is $76,890.

Salary Ranges for Chemists

How much do Chemists make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

District of Columbia

$120,980

Maryland

$116,060

Delaware

$105,570

Virginia

$98,670

New Jersey

$96,100

New Mexico

$95,940

Massachusetts

$94,270

Connecticut

$92,850

California

$88,570

Minnesota

$88,400

Texas

$87,490

New York

$85,590

Rhode Island

$85,390

Washington

$84,440

North Dakota

$83,570

Alaska

$83,310

Georgia

$83,240

Michigan

$79,860

Nebraska

$79,740

Mississippi

$78,680

Idaho

$78,400

New Hampshire

$77,960

North Carolina

$77,820

Oklahoma

$77,740

Kansas

$77,600

Louisiana

$77,490

Colorado

$77,250

Pennsylvania

$77,250

Oregon

$76,780

Hawaii

$76,480

Alabama

$76,220

South Carolina

$75,960

Tennessee

$75,430

Illinois

$74,770

Missouri

$73,940

Ohio

$72,940

Arkansas

$72,840

Kentucky

$72,100

Arizona

$72,090

Wisconsin

$71,690

Nevada

$71,230

Iowa

$71,120

Utah

$70,450

Indiana

$69,690

Vermont

$69,140

Florida

$67,800

Wyoming

$66,420

West Virginia

$66,040

Montana

$64,820

Maine

$64,730

South Dakota

$62,550

Tools & Technologies Used by Chemists

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Chemists may use on a daily basis:

  • C++
  • Extensible markup language XML
  • ChemSW Molecular Modeling Pro
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • Minitab
  • ChemInnovation Software Chem 4-D
  • Microsoft Excel
  • C
  • Microsoft Office
  • Structured query language SQL

How do I Become a Chemist?

What education is needed to be a Chemist?

Chemist Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Chemist Work Experience

Where do Chemists Work?

Chemist Sectors

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming Chemists might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Archeologists

Those who work as Chemists sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

  • Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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