Fortunately, the applicability of a background in Chemistry is vast, resulting in myriad fields in which one may work. The sky is the limit! Chemists are well-suited for industrial, government, and academic positions. In addition, a degree in chemistry prepares you well for medical, dental, pharmacy, business and law school. A few examples of the industrial fields and possible jobs are:
- Agricultural Chemistry (testing the toxicity of herbicides at DuPont)
- Biotechnology (working with a team to develop microbial processes to clean up environmental pollution)
- Chemical Information (working as a scientific librarian or market researcher at a large manufacturing company, or for a company that publishes technical literature or journals)
- Criminal Justice(working as a forensic scientist)
- Environmental Chemistry (designing pollution abatement systems)
- Hazardous Waste Management (field sampling and testing for underground storage tank leakage at a remediation site)
- Journal Editing (oversee daily operations of the peer review process for submitted manuscripts; serve as the liaison between the scientific editors & the publisher)
- Material Science (developing new reinforced ceramics for aerospace applications or new Lycra spandex knits for sportswear)
- Medicinal Chemistry (carrying out basic research creating drugs to treat patients with high cholesterol, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease)
- Oil and Petroleum (working as a chemist at Amoco “fingerprinting” oil leaked in a spill; developing catalysts to improve petroleum fractionation processes).
- Patent attorney (obtains and enforces intellectual property rights on behalf of inventors or organizations. Chemists may tend to specialize in pharmaceutical patent law. Great salaries.)
- Polymer Chemistry (developing polymers such as the one used in transdermal patches like the nicotine patch).
- Sales/Marketing (working as a sales representative for Hewlett-Packard selling chromatographic instrumentation, carrying out market research for a chemical supply company such as J.T. Baker, or acting as a pharmaceutical sales representative selling medicines to local hospitals and doctors.)
Here are some current job postings for employers looking to hire chemists!
For more information and additional career options see the links below:
American Chemical Society Career Information. Includes information about what chemists do, career options for chemists, and salaries. Specific job postings available.
JobWeb provides a broad overview of careers in chemistry as well as links to more specific information. “Chemistry Careers: Beyond Bunsen Burners”
General advice regarding careers in chemistry
Training in Green Chemistry Scientific American Article