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Become A Senior Research Chemist

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Working As A Senior Research Chemist

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

  • $85,920

    Average Salary

Example Of What A Senior Research Chemist does

  • Participated in FDA process analytical technology (P.A.T.)
  • Scaled process through pilot plant.
  • Developed chemical syntheses toward the production of API's to support safety assessment and clinical programs.
  • Acted as lead scientist for over 13 clinical and nonclinical (GLP) sample analysis studies.
  • *Provided up to date knowledge /perspective of new technologies/ingredients from journals, suppliers, technical seminars, and industry conferences.
  • Assisted chemists and technicians in organic synthesis, formulations etc.
  • Reviewed and approved all test methods.
  • Synthesized drug substances under CGMP facilities.
  • Provided analytical method development for ongoing drug development programs.
  • Experienced in structure identification of bulk polymers by GC/MS ( HP5989B Mass Spectrometer ).
  • Prepared chiral supplies of agents and metabolites for preclinical studies.
  • Worked on military apparel and rental uniform for fabric testing, concept development, and customer technical support.
  • Led a new product development team.
  • Carried out process development of opioid compounds.
  • Acted as liaison for top chemistry consultants.
  • Developed, validated, and improved chromatography methods, (HPLC, GC, and IC).
  • Compared properties of polymers and films made by new and conventional routes.
  • Initiated research projects based on blueprinting Customer needs, Scaled up several new products & commercialized.
  • Calculated amounts of unknown components of a distillation bottoms mixture using NMR.
  • Developed scanning electron microscopy, FTIR and Karl Fischer techniques for routine analyses.

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How To Become A Senior Research 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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18,086 Senior Research Chemist jobs

Kelly Services
Evansville, IN
Research Chemist

$60,000 Estimated

Sepax Technologies, Inc.
Newark, DE
Research Chemist

$65,925 Estimated

Stamford, CT
Research Chemist

$73,352 Estimated

King of Prussia, PA
Research Chemist

$77,046 Estimated

Church Dwight Co Inc.
Princeton, NJ
Research Chemist

$63,794 Estimated

Leprino Foods Company
Denver, CO
Research Chemist

$88,701 Estimated

Van Drunen Farms
Momence, IL
Research Chemist

$65,416 Estimated

Versum Materials
Tamaqua, PA
Research Chemist

$70,000 Estimated

Air Force Personnel Center
Edwards Air Force Base, CA

$57,554 Estimated

Prescient Edge Corporation
Natick, MA
Research Chemist, Level II

$90,628 Estimated

Allentown, PA
Research Chemist, Mass Spectrometry

$70,000 Estimated

Troy Corporation
Florham Park, NJ
Research Organometallic Chemist

$86,723 Estimated

Exxon Mobil Corporation
Baytown, TX
Process Research Chemist (BTEC)

$82,931 Estimated

Manpower Group
Milwaukee, WI
Upstream Research Chemist - Wauwatosa, WI

$68,539 Estimated

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Rockville, MD
Research Chemist, ZP-1320-III (equivalent GS-11 / 12)

$65,925 Estimated

Department of The Air Force
San Antonio, TX

$51,683 Estimated

Department of The Air Force
Patrick Air Force Base, FL

$50,000 Estimated

Drug Enforcement Administration
Pleasanton, CA

$58,406 Estimated

Department of The Air Force
Eglin Air Force Base, FL

$50,000 Estimated

Department of Justice
New York, NY

$55,514 Estimated

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Real Senior Research Chemist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Research Chemist Exxon Mobil Corporation Baytown, TX Oct 01, 2015 $114,700 -
Senior Research Chemist SRI International Menlo Park, CA Dec 07, 2010 $107,557 -
Senior Research Chemist The Lubrizol Corporation Cleveland, OH May 16, 2016 $105,352
Senior Research Chemist The Lubrizol Corporation Cleveland, OH Jan 02, 2016 $105,352
Senior Research Chemist Eastman Chemical Company Kingsport, TN Sep 08, 2016 $102,467 -
Senior Research Chemist Milliken & Company Spartanburg, SC Oct 01, 2013 $101,900
Senior Research Chemist Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. TX Sep 21, 2011 $98,987 -
Senior Research Chemist 3M Company Saint Paul, MN Jan 08, 2016 $98,444
Senior Drug Metabolism Research Chemist Abbott Laboratories Parkersburg, IL Sep 26, 2010 $98,318
Senior Research Chemist Merck & Co., Inc. Point, PA Sep 15, 2010 $97,781 -
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Top Skills for A Senior Research Chemist


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Top Senior Research Chemist Skills

  1. New Product Development
  2. Analytical Method Development
  3. Analytical Laboratory
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed and executed programs aimed at new product development for Thermoplastics.
  • Provided analytical method development for ongoing drug development programs.
  • Directed a research analytical laboratory in support of division research and development and plant organizations.
  • Work under the supervision of a group leader performing complex organic synthesis and research and development work as required.
  • Direct internal medicinal chemistry research program.

Top Senior Research Chemist Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Senior Research Chemist

  1. Merial Limited
  2. FMC Corporation
  3. Lorillard Tobacco Company
  4. The Henkel Company
  5. Inolex Chemical Company
  6. Premium Power Corp
  7. Albemarle Corporation
  8. AVX Corporation
  9. Tyco Electronics
  10. Stepan Company
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