Types of Degrees Chemistry Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many chemistry graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Chemistry Majors Need to Know
In an O*NET survey, chemistry majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.
Knowledge Areas for Chemistry Majors
This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Skills for Chemistry Majors
The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to chemistry:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- 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.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Abilities for Chemistry Majors
A major in chemistry will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
What Can You Do With a Chemistry Major?
People with a chemistry degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Clinical Research Coordinators||9.9%||$123,860|
|Environmental Restoration Planners||11.1%||$71,130|
|Environmental Science Professors||10.1%||$79,910|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health||11.1%||$71,130|
|Forensic Science Technicians||16.9%||$58,230|
|Natural Sciences Managers||9.9%||$123,860|
|Physics Postsecondary Professors||10.2%||$90,800|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||7.5%||$60,320|
|Water Resource Specialists||9.9%||$123,860|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of chemistry majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||1,067|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,908|
Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Chemistry. About 6.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
How Much Do Chemistry Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry made a median starting salary of $35,600 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $33,250 (25th percentile) and $38,850 (75th percentile).
Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a chemistry degree.
Salaries According to BLS
Chemistry majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $64,340 to $92,360 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Chemistry
Some careers associated with chemistry require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.
Find out what the typical degree level is for chemistry careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||1.2%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||0.6%|
|Some College Courses||3.4%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||2.3%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||3.6%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||0.8%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.5%|
Online Chemistry Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,379 schools offered some type of chemistry program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||18||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||6||1|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||233||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||1||0|
Is a Degree in Chemistry Worth It?
The median salary for a chemistry grad is $83,850 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 110% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $879,000 after 20 years!
Explore Major by State
Majors Related to Chemistry
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to chemistry.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Geological & Earth Sciences||9,522|
|General Physical Sciences||4,527|
|Astronomy & Astrophysics||1,168|
|Atmospheric Sciences & Meteorology||1,072|
|Other Physical Science||503|
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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