This post provides detailed information on jobs you can get with a chemistry degree, including the duties they perform and the salaries they can expect to earn.
A degree in chemistry is arguably one of the most underrated courses around the globe, but which provides immense career opportunities to excel in various job positions.
If you are trying to make up your mind whether to take a career in chemistry or not, and you are asking the question: what jobs can you get with a chemistry degree?, then you are on the right page.
A little about Chemistry Degree Program:
Many students dread the subject on account of its numerous theories and can’t seem to wait to drop it in high school but that notwithstanding, it ranks 40th most popular course out of 200 others studied in the U.S according to Matchcollege.
In spite of the lukewarm acceptance of chemistry in colleges, it is known to provide jobs in an array of sectors ranging from the research and development industry to the agricultural, pharmaceutical, quality control/assurance, and manufacturing field to mention but a few.
During the course of study, chemistry majors are furnished with good research skills, excellent communication, critical thinking, and great interpersonal skills.
These skills among others prepare chemistry graduates for jobs in almost any kind of industry.
No wonder renowned individuals such as Margaret Thatcher (politician), Catherine Coleman (astronaut), Dolph Lundgreen (actor) and Indra Nooyi (CEO PepsiCo.) were all chemistry majors.
A chemistry degree thus can be said to hold a good job outlook for its holder depending on the class of degree bagged and chosen industry.
What can you do with a Chemistry Associate’s Degree?
With an Associate’s degree in chemistry, one can secure chemistry job positions in various fields such as the research and development, laboratory, forensic, and manufacturing.
An Associate’s degree in chemistry provides the basic knowledge of substance handling, analytical methods, and a range of skills among which include numerical skills, oral and writing skills, teamwork, time management, analytical skills and a host of other skills all which are valuable to potential employers.
An Associate’s degree in chemistry is usually seen as a preparatory course for further Bachelor’s degree studies but nonetheless it qualifies one for various entry-level jobs as:
- Laboratory Technician: They utilize laboratory equipment in conducting laboratory tests such as running Gas Chromatography or Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometric tests on samples.
- Production Technician: Their job specification includes ensuring manufactured products are in line with quality standards. They ensure machinery/equipment function properly and also assist with administrative tasks.
- Forensic Science Technician: They work with intelligence agencies and Police investigation department, assisting them with analysis of crime scene evidence. They give report of analysis results which is used to identify crime suspects. See detailed forensic technician job description.
- Pharmacy Technician: They assist pharmacists with the preparation of patient’s prescription, supply of medicine to patients, and administrative duties of taking inventory and record keeping. See detailed pharmacy technician job description.
- Radiologic Technician: They specialize in the preparation of patients for radiological procedure, they ensure functionality of equipment and adherence to radiation protection techniques in order to minimize exposure of patients and staff to radiation. See detailed radiologic technician job description.
Payscale projects a median annual salary of $57,767 for chemistry Associate’s degree holders while the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015 estimated a $44,660 annual median salary for chemical technicians.
To achieve career advancement as an Associate’s holder and to go above performing supervised routine tests, it is advisable to opt for a Bachelor’s degree, which teaches the fundamentals of chemistry and prepares one for a career in chemical, research, engineering, education, and even in business and management field.
What can you do with a Chemistry Bachelor’s Degree?
With a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, one is positioned for entry-level chemistry jobs as:
- Quality Control Analyst: They deal with the sampling and testing of raw materials used in a production process as well as finished products to ensure they meet quality standards. See detailed quality control analyst job description.
- Chemical Engineer: They convert laboratory processes to large-scale industrial process for production and manufacture of desired products.
- Toxicologist: They monitor the effect of chemicals and various other substances on living things, they also try to determine safe exposure limit of living organisms to such chemicals.
- Quality Assurance Supervisor: They ensure that all management activities ranging from Quality control to good manufacturing practices are in line with set standards and that they maintain product quality and consistency.
- High School Chemistry Teacher: Their duties involve shaping the minds of students through chemistry lessons.
They also help students understand the basics of chemistry through practical, field trips and assessment tests.
According to Payscale, the salary of chemistry Bachelor’s degree holders is in the range of $41,545-$92,449 for males and $36,573-$75,118 for females.
BLS on the other hand projects chemistry Bachelor’s holders to receive an annual median remuneration of $72,610 with a 3% growth rate, which indicative of a slow growth over a period of 2014-2024 and minimal number of jobs.
To overcome the stiff competition prevalent in the chemistry job market, chemistry graduates often go for an advanced chemistry degrees such as Master’s or Doctorate degree.
What can you do with a Chemistry Master’s or Doctorate Degree?
With advanced chemistry degree, one stands a better opportunity to secure employment in the following chemistry career areas:
- Science Writer: They work in research companies where their part in a research project is to pen down the scientific findings for academic purposes and public consumption.
- University Lecturer: They are responsible for imparting knowledge of chemistry to undergraduates; they monitor the performance of the students and encourage them to adjust where necessary.
- Research Chemist: They work in laboratories where they utilize their chemistry knowledge to scrutinize the application of scientific and medical innovations.
- Environmental Consultant: They offer expert recommendations and advisory services to organizations regarding the best strategies necessary for the efficient management of environmental issues.
Payscale pegs the annual median salary of MS Chemistry degree holders at an average of $69,306 for females and $74,469 for males. The median salary of doctorate degree holders on the other hand is estimated to be $81,000 annually.
A career in chemistry provides numerous job opportunities that one can get and be fulfilled. You can also use the skills developed in the course of your degree training to do other things not particularly related to chemistry, such as business, politics, and arts, and succeed in them.