What To Do With A Degree In Chemistry: 10 Paths That Lead To Success

You’ve spent a lot of time and money, time and effort gaining your degree in chemistry. Now that you’re out in the world, it’s time to figure out what you can do with this excellent knowledge. Many people were meant to go to university and study chemistry; it’s just what some were meant to do. 

Others may have only stepped into chemistry because they didn’t know what else to do after high school. Perhaps there were extenuating circumstances that forced you to make this decision. Whatever the case may be, you’re at least here now, considering earning a degree in chemistry or wondering what you need to do with a chemistry degree. 

There are numerous career paths for chemistry graduates in today’s modern society. Read on in this article to learn more about the different careers you can pursue with a degree in chemistry.

1. Become a Food Technologist

A degree in chemistry can lead to a career in food science, which involves developing, testing, and analyzing food products. A food technologist is a scientist who specializes in the design and development of food products and their processing. 

You will also work alongside chemists, chemical engineers, and biochemists to make sure that the chemical compositions of foods are safe for human consumption. Food technologists also develop food additives such as flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers, and preservatives.

In the United States, the typical food technologist’s salary is $64,000 per year or $30.50 per hour. You can make more money if you are business-oriented, and food business ideas are one method to supplement your income as a food technologist.

SEE: Discover the top food business ideas

2. Work as an Academic Researcher

Chemistry is exceedingly valuable for medicine and biology, so it could be a good option for those who want to study these topics. But when you want to make a difference, working in academia is where to go. 

A chemistry degree can be an excellent choice for a student who wants to pursue a career in research and development. With a doctorate of philosophy in chemistry, you may work as an academic researcher or teacher in universities, colleges, and other higher education institutions. 

If you’re interested in researching, you could also work for the government conducting research for defense programs, health care organizations, and industrial settings. Many companies hire scientists with chemistry degrees but consider working as an academic researcher if you’re looking for something with more immediate job prospects.

Chemistry lecturers in public colleges and universities earn about $60,000 per year. In addition, a person who has Ph.D. in chemistry earns an average annual salary of $89,000.

SEE: Discover reasons why teachers should be paid more

3. Become an Analytical Chemist

Working with a degree in chemistry can be extremely rewarding. Furthermore, it offers flexibility and allows you to explore a variety of career options. Analytical chemistry is the branch of science that deals with analyzing, understanding, and controlling the structure and composition of matter. 

It covers many scientific fields, like organic and inorganic chemistry, analytical methodology, and physical chemistry. In addition, an analytical chemist may work in a pharmaceutical or food processing plant or check for dangers or illegal substances. 

An analytical chemist has to use equipment such as chromatography machines and mass spectrometers to identify the chemical composition of samples. In the United States, the average analytical chemist’s salary is $62,000 per year or $29.0 per hour.

4. Work as a Biotechnologist

If you have a degree in chemistry, you can take many different career paths. One option is to work as a biotechnologist. Biotechnologists use living organisms or biomaterials to create products or processes beneficial to humans. 

This can include developing new drugs or developing more efficient ways to produce food or energy. Additionally, to work as a biotechnologist, you will need to have a strong knowledge of chemistry and biology. You will also need to be able to use scientific equipment and software. 

Strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills are also essential. If you are interested in working as a biotechnologist, you can work in many places. Many government agencies employ biotechnologists.

A biotechnologist’s annual salary in the United States is $80,000. Additionally, Salaries may vary depending on educational attainment and job title, with average salaries for some positions reaching $115,000.

5. Become a Geochemist

Geochemists are scientists who study the chemical composition of the Earth. They use their knowledge of chemistry to understand how the Earth works and how it has changed over time. Geochemists typically have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field. 

Furthermore, there are many different career paths that a geochemist can take. Some geochemists work in research to understand the chemical processes that shape the Earth. Other geochemists work in industry, using their knowledge to help extract minerals and oil from the ground. 

Still, others work in environmental science, using their skills to clean up pollution and protect natural resources. No matter what path they choose, geochemists are making a difference in our world.

Geochemist salaries range from $65,000 to $85,000, with an average income of $71,000. Salaries may also differ depending on location, experience, skill, company, and other factors.

SEE: Learn more about getting a bachelor’s degree online

6. Work as a Forensic Scientist

Forensic scientists use scientific methods to collect, preserve and analyze evidence that may be used in a court of law. In universities, you will learn laboratory techniques, problem-solving, and data analysis, just as forensic scientists do.

You will investigate and analyze physical and trace evidence. Chemistry—primarily inorganic, organic, and analytical chemistry—will help you determine what substances are present, how they were used, and whether they are related to crime.

As well as working in crime laboratories around the world, there are many opportunities for science graduates in industry, or you could work overseas with international organizations. In the United States, the average forensic scientist’s income is $69,000 per year or $33.40 per hour.

7. Be a Pharmacologist

One of the most exciting jobs for a chemistry degree is being a pharmacologist. It is the study of how drugs work and how they interact with our bodies that can ultimately help us cure diseases. As a pharmacologist, you can find employment in pharmaceutical labs, government, and educational institutions. 

Pharmacologists help to test the effects of drugs on cells and the body. As a result, pharmacologists contribute to everything from discovering new treatments for common illnesses to managing the pain of severe diseases like cancer or HIV. 

There are hundreds of different jobs in this field, and you can likely find something that interests you. A pharmacologist’s average annual income is about $82,000. Furthermore, a pharmacologist’s income varies depending on city, experience, expertise, employer, etc.

SEE: Differences Between Physics And Chemistry

8. Consider a Career as a Chemical Engineer 

If you’re going to school for a chemistry degree, it’s easy to get your head filled with the idea that you’ll spend every day in a lab mixing chemicals or testing compounds. But as it turns out, there are many other things you can do with a degree in chemistry. 

Your job options aren’t limited — a degree in chemistry can open doors in many different fields, from law to manufacturing to engineering. One is a chemical engineer who applies knowledge of chemistry and the physical sciences to produce and develop materials, substances, and products. 

While the work environment varies by job, it mainly consists of working with engineers, scientists, and computer specialists. You’ll collaborate on technical problems at a company that conducts research and development or a manufacturing plant, like a pharmaceutical company.

Chemical engineering compares favorably with most other engineering disciplines regarding starting salaries and employment growth. Chemical engineers earn a median yearly salary of $105,000. The lowest 10% earn less than $63,000, while the top 10% earn more than $187,000.

9. Become a Toxicologist

A degree in chemistry can lead to a career in toxicology, where you would study the effects of chemicals on living organisms. Toxicologists often work for government agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or private companies, such as chemical manufacturers. They may also work for hospitals or universities.

They may research the effects of chemicals on human health, the environment, or both. Toxicologists may also work in laboratories, where they test chemicals for safety. Toxicologists need to have strong chemistry, biology, and physics background. 

Additionally, you must be able to understand and interpret scientific data. Toxicologists must also communicate their findings to others. If you are interested in a career in toxicology, you should consider a chemistry degree. A chemistry degree will give you the skills and knowledge to succeed.

In the United States, the average toxicologist’s salary is $74,372 per year or $35.76 per hour. Additionally, mid-level professionals with a Ph.D. and ten years of experience can earn between $80,000 and $100,000 per year.

10. Work as a Quality Control Chemist

A degree in chemistry can lead to a career as a quality control chemist. Quality control chemists test materials to ensure that they meet quality standards. You can work in various industries, such as the food and beverage industry, pharmaceutical industry, or cosmetics. 

Quality control chemists typically have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Additionally, some employers may require a master’s degree or higher. Quality control chemists need to have strong analytical skills and pay attention to detail. They must also be able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines.

If you are interested in a career as a quality control chemist, you should consider taking courses in analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, as well as physical chemistry. You should also get experience working in a laboratory setting.

Salary ranges of quality control chemists (QC Chemists)s in the US range from $41,000 to $125,000, with a median salary of $71,000.

FAQs

Is a chemistry degree worth it?

Yes. A degree in chemistry can open doors to various careers, many of which are pretty lucrative.  A chemistry background also applies to jobs in the pharmaceutical, nutritional, energy, and environmental industries.

SEE: Find out if chemistry is a good major

What skills do you need to succeed in a chemistry degree?

You need to have the motivation and drive to work hard. Another requirement is the ability to work closely with others, but most importantly, you should enjoy chemistry and want to learn more about it.

SEE: Discover employability skills

Who are the typical employers of chemistry degree graduates?

 A degree in chemistry opens the door to many career paths. Chemistry graduates often choose to work for chemical companies, pharmaceutical companies, food manufacturers, and even government laboratories. Employment opportunities also exist in industries like electronics assembly and biotechnology research.

Final Thoughts 

Chemistry is one of the most challenging degrees to get into. But after four years at university, the payoff can be worth your time. Hopefully, you will have gained a good sense of the field. You’ll also have enhanced critical thinking skills and analytical insights that could take you far in whatever career endeavor.

With a chemistry degree, you can work in various fields. There are plenty of jobs in different industries that require the skills from your degrees, such as analytical chemistry, medicinal research, drug development, and biotechnology. 

And when you’re looking for a job, it will help if you know what sort of jobs are available to focus on employers that suit your interests and skills. After you think about the different options, it’s time to decide what direction you want to take your career. All the best.

In addition, if you have friends or would also like to explore other career prospects for different fields of study, the website has a section for that. Browse the degrees pages to discover several majors and their respective job outlooks. 

Thanks for reading.