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Become A Quality Assurance Chemist

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Working As A Quality Assurance Chemist

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

  • $62,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Quality Assurance 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 Quality Assurance 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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Quality Assurance Chemist Career Paths

Quality Assurance Chemist
Chemist Laboratory Manager Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Assurance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Chemist Project Manager Quality Manager
Senior Quality Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Chemist Quality Control Supervisor Quality Control Manager
Quality Control Director
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Quality Control Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Regulatory Affairs Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Quality Assurance Specialist Quality Engineer
Assistant Manager Of Quality
6 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Chemist Senior Scientist Research And Development Director
Vice President Of Research And Development
13 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
Analytical Chemist Scientist Senior Scientist
Study Director
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Supervisor Production Manager Food Service Director
Food Safety Director
8 Yearsyrs
Research And Development Chemist Process Engineer Research And Development Engineer
Research And Development Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior 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
Research And Development Chemist Process Engineer Senior Quality Engineer
Vice-President Of Quality
15 Yearsyrs
Scientist Senior Technologist Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Laboratory Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Specialist Regulatory Affairs Specialist Regulatory Affairs Manager
Regulatory Compliance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Specialist Quality Engineer Product Quality Engineer
Product Quality Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Senior Process Engineer Research And Development Senior Engineer
Research And Development Project Leader
6 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Chemist 5.0 years
Chemist 3.5 years
Process Chemist 3.4 years
Analytical Chemist 3.2 years
Chemist Lead 3.0 years
Associate Chemist 3.0 years
Food Chemist 2.9 years
Production Chemist 2.9 years
Laboratory Chemist 2.8 years
Junior Chemist 2.2 years
Contract Chemist 1.4 years
Top Careers Before Quality Assurance Chemist
Chemist 15.1%
Internship 4.4%
Scientist 2.2%
Researcher 1.9%
Top Careers After Quality Assurance Chemist
Chemist 12.1%
Scientist 4.9%

Do you work as a Quality Assurance Chemist?

Average Yearly Salary
$62,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$42,000
Min 10%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$62,000
Median 50%
$90,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Lowell, MA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does a Quality Assurance Chemist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Quality Assurance Chemist in the United States is $62,101 per year or $30 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $42,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $90,000.

Real Quality Assurance Chemist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Research Quality Assurance Chemist Mastercontrol, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Jul 01, 2015 $104,205
Research Quality Assurance Chemist Mastercontrol, Inc. Salt Lake City, UT Sep 01, 2013 $91,605 -
$101,205
Quality Chemist Inspectorate America Corporation Beaumont, TX Aug 26, 2016 $85,966
Quality Assurance Chemist Izeen Pharma, Inc. Frederick, MD Nov 24, 2014 $80,500
Quality Assurance Research Chemist Bactolac Pharmaceutical Inc. Hauppauge, NY Jan 10, 2016 $78,500
Chemist-Quality Assurance/Compliance Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc. Cranbury, NJ Sep 11, 2015 $76,220
Quality Assurance Chemist Invagen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Dec 01, 2013 $73,000
Quality Assurance Chemist Appco Pharmaceuticals Corp. Somerset, NJ Jun 17, 2013 $70,000
Quality Assurance Chemist Medcore Pharma LLC Somerset, NJ May 19, 2013 $70,000
Quality Assurance Chemist New Chapter, Inc. Brattleboro, VT Oct 01, 2012 $70,000
QA Chemist Guardian Drug Company Dayton, NJ Sep 01, 2014 $70,000
Quality Assurance Chemist Appco Pharma LLC Somerset, NJ Nov 07, 2014 $70,000
Quality Assurance Chemist Sannova Analytical Inc. Somerset, NJ Jul 10, 2015 $68,016
Quality Assurance Research Chemist Bactolac Pharmaceutical Inc. Hauppauge, NY Oct 01, 2013 $58,501
Chemist, Qa Validation, II LNK International, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Mar 12, 2015 $58,032
Quality Assurance Chemist Invagen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Dec 01, 2013 $58,000
Quality Assurance Chemist Quagen Pharmaceuticals LLC West Caldwell, NJ Jan 09, 2016 $57,075
Quality Assurance Chemist Sciegen Pharmaceuticals Inc. Hauppauge, NY Dec 21, 2016 $57,000
SR. Quality Assurance Chemist Aptapharma, Inc. Pennsauken, NJ Sep 21, 2016 $56,888
Quality Assurance Chemist Invagen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Dec 01, 2013 $56,000
SR. Quality Assurance Chemist Silarax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Spring Valley, NY May 07, 2012 $55,328
Quality Assurance Chemist Sciegen Pharmaceuticals Inc. Hauppauge, NY Oct 01, 2014 $49,000
QA Chemist Allure Labs, Inc. Hayward, CA Sep 02, 2015 $48,318
QA Compounding Chemist Pharmacare, LLC Bel Air, MD Sep 01, 2013 $48,084
Quality Assurance Chemist Sciegen Pharmaceuticals Inc. Hauppauge, NY Dec 21, 2016 $48,000
Quality Assurance Chemist Invagen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Hauppauge, NY Oct 01, 2013 $48,000

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Top Skills for A Quality Assurance Chemist

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Final Product
  3. Raw Materials
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed scheduled calibrations of lab equipment, and maintained the supporting documentation.
  • Started working on formulations of structural products to understand how variations in raw materials impact final product
  • Responded to customer and supplier product complaints and maintained Kosher certification requirements for raw materials and finished products.
  • Performed troubleshooting of HPLC instrumentation.
  • Developed and validated analytical methods to determine the vitamin and mineral levels in the premixes produced as well as customer-supplied samples.

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Top 10 Best States for Quality Assurance Chemists

  1. Delaware
  2. Maryland
  3. District of Columbia
  4. New Jersey
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Virginia
  7. Nebraska
  8. New Mexico
  9. Minnesota
  10. North Dakota
  • (45 jobs)
  • (227 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (313 jobs)
  • (439 jobs)
  • (337 jobs)
  • (58 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)

Quality Assurance Chemist Demographics

Gender

Male

51.1%

Female

37.5%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

56.4%

Asian

15.2%

Hispanic or Latino

12.4%

Black or African American

11.7%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

French

21.9%

Spanish

21.9%

Arabic

9.4%

Italian

9.4%

Vietnamese

6.3%

German

6.3%

Portuguese

3.1%

Filipino

3.1%

Chinese

3.1%

Japanese

3.1%

Russian

3.1%

Dakota

3.1%

Polish

3.1%

Croatian

3.1%
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Quality Assurance Chemist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

9.4%

University of Florida

7.2%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

5.8%

Michigan State University

5.8%

University of Cincinnati

5.8%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

5.8%

Northeastern University

5.8%

Virginia Commonwealth University

5.0%

Temple University

5.0%

Ohio State University

5.0%

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

4.3%

North Carolina State University

4.3%

University of California - Davis

4.3%

University of Memphis

4.3%

University of Illinois at Chicago

4.3%

Wake Technical Community College

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%

University of Texas at Austin

3.6%

Stevens Institute of Technology

3.6%

North Dakota State University -

3.6%
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Majors

Chemistry

45.8%

Biology

15.5%

Pharmacy

6.5%

Business

6.0%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

4.9%

Chemical Engineering

3.9%

Food Science

2.9%

Environmental Science

1.9%

Biotechnology

1.4%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

1.2%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.2%

Microbiology

1.1%

Food And Nutrition

1.1%

Nursing

1.1%

Project Management

1.1%

Management

1.1%

Public Health

1.0%

Biomedical Sciences

0.9%

Chemical Technology

0.7%

Materials Sciences

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

54.0%

Masters

28.9%

Other

6.7%

Doctorate

4.6%

Associate

2.7%

Certificate

2.5%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.1%
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