What is a Chemist

If you're looking for a career that will blow all the other careers out of the water, becoming a chemist will quite literally do that. At least the blowing up part. Chemists get to study how substance interact with each other, while studying them at atomic and molecular levels.

You won't have to worry about any schedule changes because chemists tend to keep regular, full-time hours. Plus, you'll get to work in a lab. It'll be like "Dexter's Laboratory" and you could be Dexter! But seriously, blowing stuff up is where it's at.

What Does a Chemist Do

Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and the ways in which the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods.

Learn more about what a Chemist does

How To Become a Chemist

Chemists and materials scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field. However, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is required for many research jobs.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or in a related field is needed for entry-level chemist or materials scientist jobs. Although some materials scientists hold a degree in materials science, most have a degree in chemistry, physics, or engineering. Many jobs require a master’s degree or a Ph.D. and also may require significant levels of work experience. Chemists and materials scientists with a Ph.D. and postdoctoral experience typically lead basic- or applied-research teams.

Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in chemistry that are approved by the American Chemical Society. There are few programs specifically in materials science, but the number of programs is gradually increasing. Some colleges offer materials science as a specialization within their chemistry programs, and some engineering schools offer degrees in the joint field of materials science and engineering. High school students can prepare for college coursework by taking chemistry, math, and computer science classes.

Undergraduate chemistry majors typically are required to take courses in analytical, organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry. In addition to chemistry coursework, they take classes in mathematics, biological sciences, and physics. Computer science courses are essential, because chemists and materials scientists need computer skills to perform modeling and simulation tasks, manage and manipulate databases, and operate computerized laboratory equipment.

Laboratory experience, either at a college or university, or through internships, fellowships, or work–study programs in industry, is also useful.

Graduate students studying chemistry commonly specialize in a subfield, such as analytical chemistry or inorganic chemistry. For example, those interested in doing research in the pharmaceutical industry usually develop a strong background in medicinal or organic chemistry.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Chemists and materials scientists carry out scientific experiments and studies. They must be precise and accurate in their analyses, because errors could invalidate their research.

Communication skills. Chemists and materials scientists need to communicate with team members and other scientists. They must be able to read and write technical reports and give presentations.

Critical-thinking skills. Chemists and materials scientists carefully evaluate their own work and the work of others. They must determine if results and conclusions are based on sound science.

Interpersonal skills. Chemists and materials scientists typically work on interdisciplinary research teams and need to work well with others toward a common goal. Many serve as team leaders and must be able to motivate and direct other team members.

Math skills. Chemists and materials scientists regularly use complex mathematical equations and formulas, and they need a broad understanding of mathematics, including calculus, algebra, and statistics.

Organizational skills. Chemists and materials scientists need to document processes carefully in order to conform to regulations and industry procedures. Disorganization in the workplace can lead to legal problems, damage to equipment, and chemical spills.

Perseverance. Scientific research involves substantial trial and error, and chemists and materials scientists must not become discouraged in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Chemists and materials scientists research and develop new and improved chemical products, processes, and materials. This work requires a great deal of trial and error on the part of chemists and materials scientists before a unique solution is found.

Time-management skills. Chemists and materials scientists usually need to meet deadlines when conducting research. They must be able to manage time and prioritize tasks efficiently while maintaining their quality of work.

Advancement

Chemists typically receive greater responsibility and independence in their work as they gain experience. Greater responsibility also is gained through further education. Ph.D. chemists usually lead research teams and have control over the direction and content of projects, but even Ph.D. holders have room to advance as they gain experience. As chemists become more proficient in managing research projects, they may take on larger, more complicated, and more expensive projects.

Some chemists and materials scientists become natural sciences managers.

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Average Salary
$60,377
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
4%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
13,387
Job Openings
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Average Salary for a Chemist

Chemists in America make an average salary of $60,377 per year or $29 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $80,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $45,000 per year.
Average Salary
$60,377
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Chemist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Chemist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Chemist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Chemist resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Chemist Demographics

Chemist Gender Statistics

male

55.3 %

female

38.9 %

unknown

5.8 %

Chemist Ethnicity Statistics

White

62.6 %

Asian

19.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.8 %

Chemist Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

47.2 %

French

8.3 %

Chinese

5.2 %
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Chemist Education

Chemist Majors

54.0 %
17.1 %

Chemist Degrees

Bachelors

80.1 %

Masters

10.6 %

Associate

4.7 %

Top Colleges for Chemists

1. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

2. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

4. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

5. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

6. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

7. Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,816
Enrollment
6,840

8. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

9. Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,465
Enrollment
6,483

10. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083
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Online Courses For Chemist That You May Like

Become A Master in HPLC Technique - (Liquid Chromatography)
udemy
4.1
(689)

Become A Professional in HPLC From A to Z - Your Comprehensive guideline. The first and the lonely Chemistry HPLC course...

Basic Analytical Chemistry
edX (Global)

Analytical chemistry takes a prominent position among all fields of experimental sciences, ranging from fundamental studies of Nature to industrial or clinical applications.Analytical chemistry covers the fundamentals of experimental and analytical methods and the role of chemistry around us. This course introduces the principles of analytical chemistry and provides how these principles are applied in chemistry and related disciplines - especially in life sciences, environmental sciences and...

Sample-based Learning Methods
coursera

In this course, you will learn about several algorithms that can learn near optimal policies based on trial and error interaction with the environment-learning from the agent's own experience. Learning from actual experience is striking because it requires no prior knowledge of the environment's dynamics, yet can still attain optimal behavior. We will cover intuitively simple but powerful Monte Carlo methods, and temporal difference learning methods including Q-learning. We will wrap up this cou...

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Top Skills For a Chemist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.4% of chemists listed chemistry on their resume, but soft skills such as math skills and organizational skills are important as well.

  • Chemistry, 17.4%
  • Procedures, 10.2%
  • Analytical Methods, 7.1%
  • Lab Equipment, 6.2%
  • Test Results, 5.7%
  • Other Skills, 53.4%
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12 Chemist RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Chemist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a chemist. The best states for people in this position are Delaware, Virginia, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Chemists make the most in Delaware with an average salary of $89,145. Whereas in Virginia and Vermont, they would average $81,658 and $77,075, respectively. While chemists would only make an average of $75,560 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Delaware

Total Chemist Jobs:
72
Highest 10% Earn:
$126,000
Location Quotient:
1.24
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Massachusetts

Total Chemist Jobs:
1,082
Highest 10% Earn:
$109,000
Location Quotient:
2.54
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Chemist Jobs:
565
Highest 10% Earn:
$111,000
Location Quotient:
1.67
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Chemists

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What do you like the most about working as Chemist?

To discover new formulas and mixtures thats can break through the science world Show More

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I do not have a bachelor in chemistry but i do have a associate's in biology from the university of belize. Show More

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