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Also known as: Agricultural Chemist, Analytical Chemist, Bench Chemist, Food Chemist, Formulary Chemist, Industrial Chemist, Inorganic Chemist, Laboratory Chemist, Nuclear Chemist, Organic Chemist


Career Video transcript
Chemicals make up our world. Some are natural. Some are made by humans - synthetic. But each chemical has its own particular way of behaving under changing conditions, such as heat, exposure to light, and combination with other substances.

Chemists study how chemicals affect each other and how they interact with the environment. Usually they specialize in a particular kind of chemistry. They use their knowledge to contribute to many deferent fields, from energy development to medicine and food processing. The list of products invented either through the direct involvement of chemists, or through their basic research goes on and on - drugs, fibers, paints, adhesives, cosmetics, and electronic components, to name just a few.

Along with research and product development, chemists also work at chemical manufacturing plants, in production and quality control. To find employment as a chemist, you will almost always need at least a bachelor's degree in chemistry or a related science. Many working chemists have master's degrees or Ph.Ds.

In the years ahead, more openings for chemists are expected in drug manufacturing and firms that provide testing services. For any chemistry position, curiosity, the ability to focus on details, and painstaking follow-through are essential "elements" of success.
What they do
Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.


Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict

Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
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.

Write technical papers or reports or prepare standards and specifications for processes, facilities, products, or tests.

Compile and analyze test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency or to diagnose malfunctions.

Develop, improve, or customize products, equipment, formulas, processes, or analytical methods.

Conduct quality control tests.

Prepare test solutions, compounds, or reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct tests.

Direct, coordinate, or advise personnel in test procedures for analyzing components or physical properties of materials.

Analyze organic or inorganic compounds to determine chemical or physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, or reactions, using chromatography, spectroscopy, or spectrophotometry techniques.

Maintain laboratory instruments to ensure proper working order and troubleshoot malfunctions when needed.

Daily Tasks
Main Activities
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Interacting With Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

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.

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

English Language
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Knowledge Areas
Main Activities
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Mathematical Reasoning
The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

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.

Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Knowledge Areas
Average Salary
$72,080 per year
Considerable   [more info]
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
This job is going green!
The green economy is increasing the demand for Chemists
[more info]
Green Economy
The green economy is an economic activity that is focused on the development and adoption of renewable sources of energy. It seeks to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and as a result, decreases pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases. Green jobs promote the use of recycling materials, and pay close attention to the efficiency of energy use.

Increasing the Demand
The impact of green economy activities and technologies is an increase in the employment demand for an existing occupation.

Change of Work and Skills
The impact of green economy activities and technologies results in a significant change to the work and worker requirements of an existing occupation. The essential purposes of the occupation remain the same, but tasks, skills, knowledge, etc. are likely to evolve.

New and Emerging Occupations
The impact of green economy activities and technologies is sufficient to create the need for a new generation of occupations. This new occupation could be entirely novel or evolve from an existing one.
Career Traits
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


Work Experience

Expected On the Job Training