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Chemistry Major

22,203 yearly degrees
#52 in popularity
$84,000 median salary

Chemistry is a major that typically falls into the Physical Sciences category.

There are 197 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in chemistry, 1,298 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 342 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 234 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Chemistry Degree?

In 2017, roughly 16,100 chemistry majors graduated with a bachelor’s degree. This makes it #31 in popularity of all the majors we track. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 50.8% of the graduates are women, and 49.2% are men.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of chemistry majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 12.8%
  • Black or African American: 7.3%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 11.8%
  • White: 55.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 6.1%
  • Other Races: 6.8%
Chemistry Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in chemistry. About 6.1% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending chemistry majors to the U.S. are China, India and South Korea.

What Will You Learn as a Chemistry Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to chemistry to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Chemistry Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Chemistry Majors

Skills for Chemistry Majors

When studying chemistry, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

Important Skills for Chemistry Majors

Abilities for Chemistry Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a chemistry student include the following:

Important Abilities for chemistry Majors

What Can You Do With a Chemistry Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with chemistry:

Careers Related to Chemistry
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Industrial Ecologists

11.1%

$71,130

Physics Postsecondary Professors

10.2%

$90,800

Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health

11.1%

$71,130

Natural Sciences Managers

9.9%

$123,860

Clinical Research Coordinators

9.9%

$123,860

Water Resource Specialists

9.9%

$123,860

Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education

7.5%

$60,320

Environmental Science Professors

10.1%

$79,910

Chemists

6.5%

$76,890

Chemistry Professors

9.9%

$79,550

Chemistry Major Salary

Chemistry majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $64,000 to $92,000. 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, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Chemistry Major  ( 64000 to 92000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
$0
$200k
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )
$0
$200k

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Chemistry Major Jobs

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.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to chemistry have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Chemistry
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma

0%

High School Diploma or Equivalent

1.2%

Post-Secondary Certificate

0.6%

Some College Courses

3.4%

Associate's Degree or Equivalent

2.3%

Bachelor's Degree

36.3%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

3.6%

Master's Degree

23.8%

Post-Master's Certificate

0.8%

First Professional Degree

0.5%

Doctoral Degree

17.7%

Post-Doctoral Training

9.8%

Online Chemistry Programs

There are 1,298 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, with 4 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

Is a Chemistry Major Worth It?

The median salary for a chemistry grad is $84,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 116% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $899,000 after 20 years!

chemistry salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Sarah Chambers via License

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