There are currently an estimated 88,300 chemists in the United States. The chemist job market is expected to grow by 6.5% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are chemists?

CareerExplorer rates chemists with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 12,000 chemists. That number is based on 5,700 additional chemists, and the retirement of 6,300 existing chemists.

Are chemists in demand?

Competition for chemist positions is expected to be strong. Those with the best prospects will have advanced degrees, especially Doctorates, and obtain certification from the American Institute of Chemists and/or the National Certification Commission in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Biotechnology firms are driving the demand for chemists, as research relating to the human genome has led to the development of new pharmaceuticals. Consequently, pharmaceutical firms and government agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have recently hired chemists in greater numbers. Additional job opportunities are being created in environmental and energy research, spurred by new government regulations and waste clean-up requirements. While the chemical manufacturing sector is expected to experience a decline in in-house chemist jobs due to outsourcing to research and development firms, this will result in job growth at those organizations. Some companies will conduct at least some of their research in lower-wage countries, impacting domestic employment growth. On the other hand, competition among pharmaceutical companies and an aging population will continue to accelerate the development of new drugs and potentially, the demand for chemists. During economic downturns, layoffs may occur in the field, though they are generally limited to industrial chemical companies which provide raw materials to the automotive and construction industries. Typically less vulnerable is the pharmaceutical sector which is characterized by longer development cycles. Chemists without advanced degrees, but with Bachelor’s Degrees, may find work as high school teachers or chemical technicians or technologists.

What’s the supply of chemists?

The chemist industry is concentrated in California, New Jersey, Texas

Chemist job market by state

State Name Employed Chemists
California 10,550
New Jersey 7,110
Texas 5,600
Pennsylvania 5,280
North Carolina 4,080
Ohio 3,990
New York 3,780
Maryland 3,300
Michigan 2,950
Illinois 2,900
Massachusetts 2,770
Indiana 2,520
Wisconsin 2,520
Florida 2,350
Missouri 2,050
Washington 1,860
Minnesota 1,680
Colorado 1,560
Virginia 1,440
South Carolina 1,330
Connecticut 1,270
Georgia 1,160
Puerto Rico 1,090
Tennessee 1,080
Oregon 780
Louisiana 780
Utah 780
Kentucky 660
Arizona 560
Alabama 530
Kansas 530
West Virginia 490
Oklahoma 440
Nebraska 370
Arkansas 360
Iowa 310
New Mexico 270
Nevada 270
Idaho 270
District of Columbia 260
Montana 220
New Hampshire 200
Maine 190
Rhode Island 180
Vermont 150
South Dakota 130
Hawaii 120
Alaska 120
North Dakota 110
Wyoming 100