Best Chemistry Careers
You've done the work: analyzed hundreds of samples, mastered the spectrometer and the fluorimeter, and learned the ins and outs of multistep synthesis. So, now that you've earned your hard-won chemistry degree, what's next?
It can be difficult to decide where to go after a degree in chemistry—but not because you have a lack of options to choose from. Chemistry graduates find success in a wide range of careers, both within the chemical sciences and beyond. In part, this is because a growing number of jobs require the technical abilities and scientific knowledge obtained during a bachelor's in chemistry. But, in part, it's because chemistry majors graduate with a broad range of transferrable skills that are valued across industries. They learn to collect and analyze numerical data, communicate their findings clearly, use complex technologies, and manage their time wisely.
Together, these qualities set chemistry majors up for success in a wide range of jobs. Let's take a look at a few of the most popular.
This article will be covering the following careers:
|Career||Avg Salary||Satisfaction||Your Match|
|Food Science Technologist||$84k||3.0/5|
|Natural Sciences Manager||$156k||3.1/5|
|Forensic Science Technician||$67k||3.6/5|
|High School Teacher||$70k||3.0/5|
Are these careers suited to you? Our comprehensive career test measures your personality traits and interests and matches you to over 800 careers.
By far the most obvious job on the list, many chemistry students do go on to find work as chemists after their studies. Although some advanced positions require at least a master's degree, individuals with a bachelor's in chemistry are qualified for most associate or entry-level jobs. Many early-career chemists work directly under senior chemists, assisting them by preparing materials, organizing the lab, or reviewing chemical operating procedures.
Did you love science as a kid?
2. Food Science Technologist
Have you ever looked at the nutritional information on the back of your cornflakes box and wondered where those numbers came from? Most likely, a food science technologist was responsible. These meticulous professionals perform a wide array of tasks, including the analysis behind food labeling. They also test food quality and safety, develop recipes with recently discovered ingredients, assess shelf-life, and experiment with food modification. Chemistry graduates with an interest in this detail-oriented work should complete a relevant internship to increase their chances of getting hired.
Food Science Technologist
A food science technologist provides accurate nutritional information for food labeling, does shelf-life studies, tests the safety and quality of food, develops recipes using newly-discovered ingredients, modifies foods such as creating fat-free varieties, and uses panels or consumers to evaluate products.
Epidemiologists play an essential role in the health of society by analyzing the incidence, spread, prevention, and treatment of diseases. These skilled professionals, plan and conduct studies about a wide range of public health issues, collecting and analyzing data from observations, surveys, interviews, and blood samples to understand why diseases occur and how they can be controlled. Although a master's degree is required for most epidemiology positions, chemistry graduates—with their knowledge of biochemistry and their laboratory training—possess the perfect foundation for a promising future in this specialized career.
The field of epidemiology plays an important role in public health and safety.
4. Materials Scientist
Material scientists use their knowledge of chemistry and physics to create new, custom-made materials such as metals, ceramics, and rubbers. Armed with a thorough understanding of the structure, composition, and processes needed to synthesize and use materials, chemistry students are a natural fit for the profession. Although there are some opportunities for employment at the bachelor's level, most advanced positions require a master's or PhD. The work is challenging, technical, and constantly evolving, but—for many chemistry majors—extremely rewarding.
A materials scientist studies and analyzes the chemical properties and structure of different man-made and natural materials.
5. Pharmacy Technician
For chemistry majors who enjoy working with people, a career as a pharmacy technician can be a natural fit. These professionals spend their days interacting with customers: preparing and filling prescriptions, answering questions, and offering information about side effects of various medications. They also perform administrative duties, such as managing the pharmacy inventory. While there is no set standard for how to become a pharmacy technician, completing a bachelor's of chemistry isn't a bad place to start. A pharmaceutical internship doesn't hurt either.
Pharmacy technicians work under the direct supervision of licensed pharmacists.
Some chemistry undergrads complete their degree only to realize they'd love nothing more than to stay in school. As chemistry professors, they can make that dream a reality. Professional academics spend their days engaged in a mix of research, instruction, and community service. They teach chemistry courses, perform chemical studies, publish in academic journals, and supervise and support graduate students who are conducting basic or applied research projects.
A professor is someone who instructs students in a wide variety of academic and vocational subjects beyond the high school level.
7. Natural Sciences Manager
Natural science managers are the backbone of many of the world's most innovative research projects. A supervisory role, natural science managers work closely with scientists and other professionals engaged in life sciences research to ensure the efficiency and quality of their work. They keep the research team in check, ensure all deadlines are met, and hire and train new staff when needed. Chemistry students with a knack for collaboration, organization, and leadership will thrive in this fascinating and important position.
Natural Sciences Manager
Natural sciences managers work closely with a team of scientists or research professionals to meet deadlines in the industries of product development and scientific research.
8. Technical Writer
For chemistry majors who are ready to leave the lab behind, a career as a technical writer can be an ideal fit. In this role, they can apply their knowledge of chemistry and the communication skills they developed during their degree to help others understand the intricacies of the field. Whether they are working on chemistry textbooks or pamphlets about immunology, they translate technical information into clear, engaging, accessible texts.
A technical writer is someone who transforms complex and technically difficult written material into clear and concise documentation that will be read by target audiences.
9. Forensic Science Technician
Forensic science technicians are in high demand, as employment opportunities in this field are growing faster average. These skilled professionals work with crime investigation teams to help uncover information and clues. To do so, they gather, organize, analyze, and document physical evidence from the scene of the crime. Many work in labs, where they run tests on artifacts such as hair, fingerprints, and discarded weapons. Exciting and important work, this career path provides an unconventional way for chemistry majors to put their scientific training to use.
Forensic Science Technician
Are you inquisitive and curious by nature?
10. High School Teacher
You know what they say: "If you can't do, teach." Individuals who love the subject of chemistry but aren't interested in practicing it themselves will excel as high school teachers. In this highly social role, they'll help others discover the wonders of chemical reactions, molecular structures, scientific theory, and more. A bachelor's in chemistry is the first step to entering the career. Professional teaching experience and, in some cases, formal training in education are also required.