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Buchtel College of Arts & Sciences - Careers

Career Options for Chemistry Majors

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A degree in Chemistry can lead you to many fulfilling careers, especially when your specific science skills are combined with the well-rounded studies of a liberal arts degree.

Chemistry is fundamental and prepares individuals for the real world. While chemistry is not normally perceived as glamorous, it is definitely suitable for those with “inquiring minds” who want to work independently or in a team to observe, reason, and solve problems in our fast-paced, ever-changing, progressive 21st century world.

After receiving your undergraduate degree, you will be prepared for an entry-level position in a specific career in any of the five major divisions of chemistry (physical, inorganic, organic, analytical, and environmental) or you will be prepared to pursue a higher academic degree in preparation for teaching and management positions.




WHERE CHEMISTRY MAJORS WORK

EDUCATION
Individuals with chemistry degrees can teach in secondary schools after receiving certification and in colleges and technical schools with post-graduate degrees. They can also do grant writing, develop course work and lab experiments, write in-house lab manuals, and tutor. Research also provides an avenue of pursuit for chemistry majors, both in theoretical projects and in practical pursuits such as drug development.

PRIVATE INDUSTRY
Individuals entering directly into a career with an undergraduate degree can expect to find positions in quality control, service or product development, and chemical sales and marketing. A Master’s or a Ph.D. degree will ease the climb into chemical business management, science journalism, criminology and forensic science, chemical analyst, and science policy administration.

GOVERNMENT
Diversified local, state, and federal government positions are open to chemistry graduates in numerous departments. The Department of Agriculture need chemists in such areas as Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services or Natural Resources and Environment. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in The Department of Health and Human Services is only one area of possible employment in that particular government department. All levels of government have numerous environment and toxic substance issues constantly in need of investigation which offer career opportunities to individuals with strong backgrounds in chemistry.

ENVIRONMENT TESTING / RESEARCH LABORATORIES and BIOTECHNOLOGY FIRMS
As with the government, private enterprise offers possibilities for chemistry graduates to use the science skills, as well as the diverse liberal arts knowledge gained during undergraduate studies.




POSSIBLE DIRECT EMPLOYERS 

  • Chemical manufacturing companies
  • Cosmetic companies
  • Medical laboratories
  • Utility companies
  • Petroleum companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Manufacturing and processing firms
  • Environmental assessment firms

POSSIBLE INDIRECT OCCUPATIONS 

  • Environmental consultant
  • Health administrator
  • Physician
  • Research supervisor or engineer
  • Forensic analyst
  • Officer training in Armed Forces
  • Technical writer/editor/journalist
  • Educator
  • Attorney
  • Art conservation or natural resource specialist




WAGE$

As they say, all things are relative. The salary range for chemistry majors is no exception.

Depending on the type of position, the level of education, the industry, and the geographic location, an individual can expect to earn median wage of $66.2k according to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11.

Those individuals working outside the traditional chemistry-intense occupations will earn wages typical to the particular chosen field.

IN AKRON AREA

Evaluates chemical/physical properties of various organic/inorganic substances to investigate applications to medicine/other industries.

CHEMIST I

Requires bachelor's degree and 0-2 years experience in field/related area. Has knowledge of commonly used concepts, practices, and procedures within particular field. Relies on instructions/pre-established guidelines to perform functions of job. Works under immediate supervision. Primary job functions do not typically require exercising independent judgment. Typically reports to supervisor/manager and can expect annual median wage of $45k.

CHEMIST II

Requires bachelor's degree and 2-4 years of experience in field/related area. Familiar w/standard concepts, practices, procedures within particular field. Relies on limited experience/judgment to plan/accomplish goals. Performs variety of tasks. Works under general supervision; typically reports to a supervisor/manager and can expect to earn annual median income of $54k. A certain degree of creativity/latitude is required.


CHEMIST III

Requires graduate degree and 4-6 years experience in field/related area. Familiar w/variety of field's concepts, practices, procedures. Relies on experience/judgment ot plan/accomplish goals. Performs a variety of complicated tasks. Typically reports to supervisor/manager and can expect to earn an annual median income of $67.7k. A wide degree of creativity/latitude is expected.


[http://swz.salary.com] January 2011



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