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Become A Production Chemist

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Working As A Production Chemist

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Processing Information
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Production 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.

Duties

Chemists and materials scientists typically do the following:

  • Plan and carry out complex research projects, such as the development of new products and testing methods
  • Direct technicians and other workers in testing and analyzing components and the physical properties of materials
  • Instruct scientists and technicians on proper chemical processing and testing procedures, including ingredients, mixing times, and operating temperatures
  • Prepare solutions, compounds, and reagents used in laboratory procedures
  • Analyze substances to determine their composition and concentration of elements 
  • Conduct tests on materials and other substances to ensure that safety and quality standards are met
  • Write technical reports that detail methods and findings
  • Present research findings to scientists, engineers, and other colleagues

Some chemists and materials scientists work in basic research. Others work in applied research. In basic research, chemists investigate the properties, composition, and structure of matter. They also experiment with combinations of elements and the ways in which they interact. In applied research, chemists investigate possible new products and ways to improve existing ones. Chemistry research has led to the discovery and development of new and improved drugs, plastics, and cleaners, as well as thousands of other products.

Materials scientists study the structures and chemical properties of various materials in order to develop new products or enhance existing ones. They determine ways to strengthen or combine materials, or develop new materials, for use in a variety of products. Applications of materials science include inventing or improving ceramics, metallic alloys, and superconducting materials.

Chemists and materials scientists use computers and a wide variety of sophisticated laboratory instrumentation for modeling, simulation, and experimental analysis. For example, some chemists use three-dimensional computer modeling software to study the structure and properties of complex molecules. 

Most chemists and materials scientists work as part of a team. The number of scientific research projects that involve multiple disciplines is increasing, and it is common for chemists and materials scientists to work on teams with other scientists, such as biologists, physicists, computer specialists, and engineers. For example, in pharmaceutical research, chemists may work with biologists to develop new drugs and with engineers to design ways to mass-produce the new drugs. For more information, see the profiles on biochemists and biophysicists, microbiologists, zoologists and wildlife biologists, physicists and astronomers, computer and information technology occupations, and engineering occupations.

Chemists often specialize in a particular branch of the field. The following are examples of types of chemists:

Analytical chemists determine the structure, composition, and nature of substances by examining and identifying their various elements or compounds. They also study the relationships and interactions among the parts of compounds. Some analytical chemists specialize in developing new methods of analysis and new techniques for carrying out their work. Their research has a wide range of applications, including food safety, pharmaceuticals, and pollution control.

Inorganic chemists study the structure, properties, and reactions of molecules that do not contain carbon, such as metals. They work to understand the behavior and the characteristics of inorganic substances. Inorganic chemists figure out how these materials, such as ceramics and superconductors, can be modified, separated, or used in products.  

Medicinal chemists research and develop chemical compounds that can be used as pharmaceutical drugs. They work on teams with other scientists and engineers to create and test new drug products. They also help develop new and improved manufacturing processes to produce new drugs on a large scale effectively.

Organic chemists study the structure, properties, and reactions of molecules that contain carbon. They also design and make new organic substances that have unique properties and applications. These compounds in turn, have been used to develop many commercial products, such as pharmaceutical drugs and plastics.

Physical chemists study the fundamental characteristics of how matter behaves on a molecular and atomic level and how chemical reactions occur. On the basis of their analyses, physical chemists may develop new theories, such as how complex structures are formed. Physical chemists often work closely with materials scientists, to research and develop potential uses for new materials.

Theoretical chemists investigate theoretical methods that can predict the outcomes of chemical experiments. Theoretical chemistry encompasses a variety of specializations itself, although most specializations incorporate advanced computation and programming. Some examples of theoretical chemists are computational chemists, mathematical chemists, and chemical informaticians.

Materials scientists tend to specialize by the material they work with most often. A few examples of materials in which these scientists specialize are ceramics, glasses, metals, nanomaterials (extremely small substances), polymers, and semiconductors.

A growing numbers of chemists work in interdisciplinary fields, such as biochemistry and geochemistry. For more information, see the profiles on biochemists and biophysicists and geoscientists.

Many people with a chemistry background become professors or teachers. For more information, see the profiles on high school teachers and postsecondary teachers.

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How To Become A Production 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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Production Chemist Career Paths

Production Chemist
Chemist Scientist
Senior Research Associate
6 Yearsyrs
Chemist Laboratory Manager Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Assurance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Chemist Project Manager Quality Manager
Senior Quality Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Quality Control Supervisor Quality Manager
Corporate Quality Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Scientist Senior Scientist
Research And Development Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Quality Control Supervisor Quality Control Manager
Quality Control Director
9 Yearsyrs
Analytical Chemist Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Engineering Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Analytical Chemist Quality Assurance Manager Regulatory Affairs Manager
Regulatory Affairs Director
12 Yearsyrs
Analytical Chemist Research Scientist Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Manager Of Operations
10 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Engineer Quality Engineer
Assistant Manager Of Quality
6 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Engineer Research And Development Engineer
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Research Associate Research Scientist Senior Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Quality Control Manager Processing Manager
Process Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Quality Control Manager Compliance Manager
Regulatory Compliance Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Process Engineer Product Development Engineer
Lead Product Developer
7 Yearsyrs
Production Supervisor General Manager Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Scientist Quality Assurance Manager Regulatory Affairs Manager
Regulatory Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Research Chemist Postdoctoral Research Associate Research And Development Senior Engineer
Research And Development Project Leader
6 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Chemist 5.0 years
Control Chemist 3.9 years
Chemist 3.5 years
Process Chemist 3.4 years
Analytical Chemist 3.2 years
Production Chemist 3.0 years
Associate Chemist 3.0 years
Food Chemist 2.9 years
Laboratory Chemist 2.8 years
Chemist Assistant 2.5 years
Junior Chemist 2.2 years
Contract Chemist 1.4 years
Top Careers Before Production Chemist
Chemist 12.4%
Internship 6.0%
Technician 2.9%
Researcher 2.4%
Scientist 1.9%
Top Careers After Production Chemist
Chemist 13.0%
Scientist 6.1%
Engineer 2.7%

Do you work as a Production Chemist?

Average Yearly Salary
$78,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$53,000
Min 10%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
BP America Inc.
Highest Paying City
Bothell, WA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Production Chemist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Production Chemist in the United States is $78,817 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $53,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $117,000.

Real Production Chemist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Production Chemist Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. Houston, TX Jan 10, 2016 $184,600
Production Chemist Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. Houston, TX Sep 14, 2016 $184,600
Production Chemist Shell Oil Company Houston, TX Jan 15, 2016 $157,600
Production Chemist Shell International Exploration and Production Inc. Houston, TX Jan 01, 2014 $157,600
Production Chemist BP America Inc. Houston, TX Aug 25, 2016 $112,000 -
$115,000
Production Chemist BP America Inc. Houston, TX Sep 24, 2012 $100,000
Production Chemist LNK International, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Oct 27, 2014 $87,500
Production Chemist/Lead Apicore Us, LLC Somerset, NJ Nov 19, 2016 $83,188
Senior Development and Production Chemist Areva Med LLC Dallas, TX Mar 11, 2013 $70,429 -
$75,000
Production Chemist Kamiya Biomedical Company Seattle, WA Nov 05, 2009 $70,000
Production Chemist Kamiya Biomedical Company LLC Seattle, WA Nov 12, 2009 $70,000
Senior Production Chemist Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. Cranbury, NJ Sep 29, 2014 $69,498
SR. Production Chemist Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. Cranbury, NJ May 12, 2015 $69,498
Production Chemist Apicore, LLC Somerset, NJ Jun 01, 2014 $66,149
Production Chemist (Packaging) Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. Cranbury, NJ Oct 01, 2014 $65,582
Production Chemist Guardian Drug Company Dayton, NJ Sep 01, 2014 $65,000
Production Chemist Polypeptide Laboratories, Inc. Torrance, CA Oct 01, 2009 $65,000
Production Chemist Makro Technologies Inc. Pleasanton, CA Sep 02, 2015 $64,697
Production Chemist Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. Cranbury, NJ Nov 26, 2014 $64,614
Production Chemist Sun Pharmaceutical Industires, Inc. Cranbury, NJ Oct 10, 2015 $64,614
Production Chemist (Packaging) Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. Cranbury, NJ Nov 18, 2015 $62,982
Production Chemist Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. Cranbury, NJ Aug 10, 2015 $56,935
Production Chemist Aptapharma, Inc. Pennsauken, NJ Aug 07, 2016 $56,888
Production Chemist Fritz Industries, Inc. Mesquite, TX Oct 01, 2011 $55,000
Production Chemist Insys Therapeutics, Inc. Round Rock, TX Sep 11, 2015 $55,000
Production Chemist Insys Therapeutics, Inc. Round Rock, TX Aug 30, 2016 $55,000
Production Chemist Cepheid Bothell, WA Sep 15, 2012 $54,808
Production Chemist Pharmaceutics International, Inc. Huntingtown, MD Dec 15, 2012 $53,667
Softgel Production Chemist Pharmaceutics International, Inc. Huntingtown, MD Dec 15, 2009 $53,500

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Top Skills for A Production Chemist

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Raw Materials
  3. Analytical Methods
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • JOB RESPONSIBILITIES: Lab analysis, lab equipment calibration, production supervision and formulation for Polymeric Emulsion and Adhesives.
  • Performed QC tests of raw materials and finished goods; set up and monitored warehouse containing over 135 products and components.
  • Developed analytical methods and procedures, solved plant problems and developed new epoxy resins.
  • Trained new employees on wet chemistry techniques and safety procedures.
  • Identified manufacturing quality issues and generated deviation or non-conforming reports in order to maintain a GMP compliant work environment.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Production Chemists

  1. Maryland
  2. North Dakota
  3. Minnesota
  4. Delaware
  5. Virginia
  6. Nebraska
  7. Georgia
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Connecticut
  10. New Mexico
  • (72 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (110 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (91 jobs)
  • (24 jobs)
  • (117 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)

Production Chemist Demographics

Gender

Male

64.0%

Female

24.6%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

50.4%

Asian

22.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.2%

Black or African American

8.4%

Unknown

5.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

19.0%

German

9.5%

French

9.5%

Mandarin

9.5%

Filipino

4.8%

Chinese

4.8%

Vietnamese

4.8%

Russian

4.8%

Dari

4.8%

Carrier

4.8%

Hindi

4.8%

Cantonese

4.8%

Polish

4.8%

Arabic

4.8%

Tamil

4.8%
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Production Chemist Education

Schools

University of California - San Diego

20.0%

San Jose State University

10.3%

San Diego State University

10.3%

University of California - Irvine

6.5%

University of California - Berkeley

5.2%

University of California - Davis

4.5%

California State University - East Bay

4.5%

University of California - Santa Cruz

3.2%

University of California - Santa Barbara

3.2%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.2%

LIU Brooklyn

3.2%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.2%

University of Missouri - Kansas City

3.2%

University of Phoenix

3.2%

Michigan State University

3.2%

University of Washington

2.6%

Oregon State University

2.6%

Wayne State University

2.6%

University of New Haven

2.6%

University of California - Riverside

2.6%
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Majors

Chemistry

44.3%

Biology

11.8%

Pharmacy

8.8%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

8.3%

Chemical Engineering

6.2%

Business

4.3%

Biotechnology

1.9%

Microbiology

1.7%

Pharmacology

1.7%

Environmental Science

1.3%

Medical Technician

1.3%

Computer Science

1.1%

Management

1.1%

Chemical Technology

1.1%

Law

0.9%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

0.9%

Finance

0.9%

Public Health

0.8%

Electrical Engineering

0.8%

Ecology, Population Biology, And Epidemiology

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

54.3%

Masters

26.4%

Other

7.4%

Doctorate

5.7%

Associate

3.4%

Certificate

2.0%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.2%
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