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What Does it Take to Be a Chemist?

Chemist Job Description Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.

Life As a Chemist: What Do They Do?

  • Compile and analyze test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency or to diagnose malfunctions.
  • Conduct quality control tests.
  • Prepare test solutions, compounds, or reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct tests.
  • Purchase laboratory supplies, such as chemicals, when supplies are low or near their expiration date.
  • Maintain laboratory instruments to ensure proper working order and troubleshoot malfunctions when needed.
  • Analyze organic or inorganic compounds to determine chemical or physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, or reactions, using chromatography, spectroscopy, or spectrophotometry techniques.

Chemist Skills

Chemists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Mathematics: Using mathematics to solve problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Types of Chemist

  • Food Processing Chemist
  • Scientist
  • Analytical Scientist
  • Physical Chemist
  • Medical Chemist

Chemist Job Outlook

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 88,300 jobs in the United States for Chemist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.5% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,700 new jobs for Chemist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 8,600 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Chemist are Utah, Wisconsin, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, North Dakota, or Hawaii. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Chemists Salary

Chemists make between $43,920 and $133,180 a year.

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Chemists who work in District of Columbia, Maryland, or Delaware, make the highest salaries.

How much do Chemists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $76,220
Alaska $83,310
Arizona $72,090
Arkansas $72,840
California $88,570
Colorado $77,250
Connecticut $92,850
Delaware $105,570
District of Columbia $120,980
Florida $67,800
Georgia $83,240
Hawaii $76,480
Idaho $78,400
Illinois $74,770
Indiana $69,690
Iowa $71,120
Kansas $77,600
Kentucky $72,100
Louisiana $77,490
Maine $64,730
Maryland $116,060
Massachusetts $94,270
Michigan $79,860
Minnesota $88,400
Mississippi $78,680
Missouri $73,940
Montana $64,820
Nebraska $79,740
Nevada $71,230
New Hampshire $77,960
New Jersey $96,100
New Mexico $95,940
New York $85,590
North Carolina $77,820
North Dakota $83,570
Ohio $72,940
Oklahoma $77,740
Oregon $76,780
Pennsylvania $77,250
Rhode Island $85,390
South Carolina $75,960
South Dakota $62,550
Tennessee $75,430
Texas $87,490
Utah $70,450
Vermont $69,140
Virginia $98,670
Washington $84,440
West Virginia $66,040
Wisconsin $71,690
Wyoming $66,420

What Tools do Chemists Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Chemists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Hypertext markup language HTML
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Access
  • Word processing software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Structured query language SQL
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Extensible markup language XML
  • Minitab
  • National Instruments LabVIEW
  • C
  • Graphics software
  • Statistical software
  • Internet browser software
  • Laboratory information management system LIMS
  • Apple iWork Keynote

How to Become a Chemist

Education needed to be a Chemist:

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Where Chemists Are Employed

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Chemists work in the following industries:

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Those thinking about becoming a Chemist might also be interested in the following careers:

Career changers with experience as a Chemist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:

References:

Image Credit: Sarah Chambers via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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