Where do you want to work?
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Quality Control Chemist
Top Careers After Quality Control Chemist
Hispanic or Latino10.3%
Black or African American1.2%
Quality Control Chemist
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University of Toledo5.9%
University of Florida5.9%
University of California - Davis5.9%
Fairleigh Dickinson University5.6%
Pennsylvania State University5.2%
San Jose State University5.2%
University of Phoenix5.2%
University of Utah4.8%
Cleveland State University4.8%
University of California - San Diego4.8%
University of Illinois at Chicago4.5%
Stevens Institute of Technology4.5%
Michigan State University4.1%
University of Cincinnati4.1%
Virginia Commonwealth University4.1%
University of California - Irvine3.7%
Middle Tennessee State University3.7%
Quality Control Chemist
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Quality Control Chemist Manager||Aviation Fueling Consulting Corp||Miramar, FL||Aug 16, 2016||$128,440|
|Quality Control Chemist||Bizlink Technology, Inc.||Fremont, CA||Jan 06, 2016||$114,941|
|Supervisor Quality Control Chemist||Jubilant Cadista Pharmaceuticals Inc.||Salisbury, MD||Oct 24, 2015||$81,110|
|Quality Control Chemist||Bactolac Pharmaceutical Inc.||Hauppauge, NY||Jan 10, 2016||$80,501|
|Supervisor, Quality Control Chemist||Jubilant Cadista Pharmaceuticals Inc.||Salisbury, MD||Nov 05, 2015||$78,107|
|Quality Control Chemist||Sciegen Pharmaceuticals Inc.||Hauppauge, NY||Jan 10, 2016||$77,575|
|Quality Control Chemist||Protech Minerals, Inc.||Victorville, CA||Mar 10, 2015||$77,230|
|Analytical QC Chemist||New Jersey Laboratories||New Brunswick, NJ||Jan 09, 2016||$76,960|
|Quality Control Chemist||Contract Pharmacal Corp.||Hauppauge, NY||Jun 14, 2016||$74,464|
|Quality Control Chemist/Scientist||Ascent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||Central Islip, NY||Jun 11, 2016||$74,000|
|QC Chemist||Sigmapharm Laboratories, LLC||Bensalem, PA||Nov 01, 2016||$72,093|
|QC Chemist||Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc.||Cranbury, NJ||Sep 20, 2016||$71,000|
|QC Chemist||Ambiopharm, Inc.||North Augusta, SC||May 01, 2015||$70,457|
|Quality Control Chemist II||Stason Pharmaceutical||Irvine, CA||Feb 25, 2016||$63,918|
|Quality Control Chemist/Scientist||Ascent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||Central Islip, NY||Jun 11, 2016||$63,500|
|Quality Control Chemist/Scientist||Ascent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||Central Islip, NY||Jun 11, 2016||$63,000|
|Quality Control Chemist||Belcher Pharmaceuticals, LLC||Largo, FL||Oct 01, 2015||$62,000|
|Quality Control Staff Chemist||Johnson Matthey Pharmaceutical Services||Devens, MA||Oct 28, 2015||$61,386|
|Quality Control Chemist||Invagen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||Hauppauge, NY||Sep 30, 2016||$61,360|
|QC Chemist||Vita-Pure, Inc.||Roselle, NJ||Sep 05, 2015||$60,523|
|Quality Control Chemist||Epic Pharma LLC||NY||Sep 19, 2016||$53,518|
|Quality Control Chemist||Invagen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||Hauppauge, NY||Oct 01, 2015||$53,000|
|Quality Control Chemist||SPI Pharma, Inc.||Lewes, DE||Sep 30, 2016||$52,562|
|Quality Control Chemist||Bactolac Pharmaceutical Inc.||Hauppauge, NY||Oct 01, 2015||$52,500|
|Quality Control Chemist||SPI Pharma, Inc.||DE||Sep 30, 2016||$52,500|
|Quality Control Chemist||SPI Pharma, Inc.||Lewes, DE||Sep 30, 2016||$52,420|
|Quality Control Chemist||SPI Pharma, Inc.||Lewes, DE||Sep 30, 2016||$52,416|
|Quality Control Chemist||Norwich Pharmaceutical, Inc.||Norwich, NY||Sep 04, 2015||$52,261|
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Introduction -- Basic Lessons in Laboratory Quality Control
Quality Control Associate
Pharmaceutical Analysis & Quality Control MSc