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Become A Senior Chemist

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Working As A Senior Chemist

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

  • $96,823

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Chemist Do

Senior Chemists are responsible for designing, developing, and testing formulations and compounds. They also maintain and troubleshoot laboratory equipment and relevant documentation.

How To Become A Senior 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.


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.


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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Senior Chemist jobs

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Real Senior Chemist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Chemist SDC Technologies, Inc. Irvine, CA Jun 30, 2016 $117,000
SR. Chemist American Antibiotics, Inc. Brooklyn Park, MD Apr 18, 2016 $110,000
Senior Analytical Chemist Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. Washington, DC Jan 14, 2016 $109,777
Senior Chemist W. R. Meadows, Inc. Fort Worth, TX Jul 18, 2016 $107,723
Senior Chemist Eastman Chemical Company Kingsport, TN Jun 06, 2016 $107,505
Senior Chemist 3M Company Saint Paul, MN May 08, 2016 $107,303
Senior Chemist-Polystyrene Plant Support Total Petrochemicals & Refining USA, Inc. La Porte, TX Aug 12, 2015 $106,920
Senior Pharmaceutical Chemist S&B Pharma, Inc. D/B/A Alkem Laboratories Fenton, MO Nov 10, 2016 $105,000
Senior Scientist-Analytical Chemist Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. Pleasanton, CA Jul 12, 2015 $105,000
Senior Chemist Eastman Chemical Company Kingsport, TN Sep 19, 2015 $102,505 -
Senior Chemist Eastman Chemical Company Kingsport, TN Jul 18, 2016 $102,505 -
SR. Chemist Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 30, 2016 $101,005
Senior Chemist BASF Corporation Union, NJ Aug 25, 2016 $100,450
SR. Chemist Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials LLC, A Subsidiary of The Dow Chemic Marlborough, MA Aug 21, 2016 $100,090 -
SR. Chemist The Dow Chemical Company Midland, MI Dec 08, 2016 $90,624 -
SR. Chemist The Dow Chemical Company Midland, MI Aug 24, 2016 $90,624 -
Senior Chemist W. R. Meadows, Inc. Fort Worth, TX Jul 18, 2016 $90,000
Senior Chemist The Valspar Corporation Minneapolis, MN Feb 09, 2016 $89,828
Senior Chemist Moroccanoil Inc. Teterboro, NJ Jan 11, 2016 $89,000
Senior Chemist The Dow Chemical Company Freeport, TX Sep 13, 2016 $88,152 -
Senior Chemist The Dow Chemical Company Freeport, TX Sep 08, 2015 $88,152 -
Senior Chemist The Dow Chemical Company Midland, MI Sep 02, 2015 $88,152 -
Senior Synthetic Chemist Navinta LLC Ewing, NJ Dec 09, 2016 $81,000
Senior Analytical Chemist Appco Pharma LLC Somerset, NJ Jul 24, 2016 $81,000
Senior Synthesis Chemist Silatronix, Inc. Madison, WI Aug 26, 2015 $80,870 -
Senior Chemist Oxygen Development Palm Springs, FL Oct 27, 2016 $80,000
Senior Chemist Helen, Inc. Caledonia, MI Sep 23, 2015 $80,000
Senior Chemist Actagro, LLC Biola, CA Sep 24, 2015 $80,000
Senior Chemist Micro Quality Labs, Inc. Burbank, CA Sep 02, 2015 $79,306
Senior Chemist Plastic Innovations, Inc. CA Feb 12, 2016 $79,206

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Top Skills for A Senior Chemist


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Top Senior Chemist Skills

  1. Method Development
  2. Laboratory Equipment
  3. Analytical Methods
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed method development, validation, carried out quantitative and qualitative analyses in support of method transfers.
  • Assist in the laboratory equipment set up.
  • Used microscopy and other analytical methods to evaluate product quality.
  • Prepared and maintained documentation at every stage of product development.
  • Analyzed finished products for conformance to specifications using wet chemistry techniques.

Top Senior Chemist Employers

Senior Chemist Videos

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