Chemicals make up our world. Some are natural, others are synthetic - made by people. But every chemical is unique, and behaves differently under changing conditions, such as when heated, exposed to light, or combined with other substances. Chemists study how chemicals affect each other, and how they interact with the environment. They conduct experiments in laboratories, and analyze results and data. Most chemists use databases, scientific software, graphics, and design and photo imaging tools in their work. Chemists work with many different materials in different fields, from energy development to medicine and food processing. They have invented and improved products like medicines, fibers, paints, adhesives, cosmetics, and electronic components, to name just a few. Chemical manufacturing plants employ many chemists in production and quality control, where safety is critical. Interdisciplinary fields, like biochemistry and geochemistry, are also growing. Besides manufacturing, chemists work in colleges and universities, government, and independent testing and research laboratories. A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related science is required to enter the field. Many working chemists have a master’s degree or a PhD in chemistry. They usually specialize in a particular field. For any chemistry position, curiosity, the ability to focus on details, and painstaking follow-through are essential “elements” of success.
What they do:
Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
On the job, you would:
Analyze organic or inorganic compounds to determine chemical or physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, or reactions, using chromatography, spectroscopy, or spectrophotometry techniques.
Conduct quality control tests.
Maintain laboratory instruments to ensure proper working order and troubleshoot malfunctions when needed.
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
product and service development
Arts and Humanities
using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
listen and understand what people say
read and understand what is written
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
use rules to solve problems
Hand and Finger Use
put together small parts with your fingers
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Analytical or scientific software
Data base user interface and query software
Structured query language SQL
Graphics or photo imaging software
Digital imaging software
bachelor's degree usually needed
New job opportunities are likely in the future.
Green jobs will increase the demand for this type of work.