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Chemists are scientists who study the composition, structure and change of matter. They are often involved in the discovery or synthesis of new compounds and in the production of many consumer products: food, additives, pharmaceuticals, plastics, etc.


A person working in a chemistry related field should possess the fpossess numerous qualities and skills:

  • A person working in a chemistry related field should possess numerous qualities and skills:
  • Scientists have a passion for figuring out how things work and should be inquisitive, analytical, and enjoy the challenge of solving new problems.
  • In science, attention to detail and following directions – as written - are important.
  • Integrity is important in the reporting of scientific data.
  • Extraordinary patience is often required as many lab experiments take a long time to finish while data is slowly collected.
  • Strong math skills allow a student to focus on the concepts of chemistry and not the math problem.
  • Research skills is one of the most important skills to learn through college. How to find information and how to confirm that the information is valid (i.e., being able to critically assess the information) is critical to the scientific process.
  • The ability to work as a team member or team leader is important, as most new ideas are built on the results of other people’s work, often within a “team” structure.

Career Opportunities

A chemistry major may work in a variety of careers. A laboratory technician chemist at a school usually needs a B.S. They stock solutions, set up lab stations for students to run experiments, order materials, stock the school’s lab, clean, calibrate, and repair laboratory
equipment. A chemistry instructor at the high school level usually needs an education degree as well. A chemistry teacher or professor at a university usually needs a master’s degree or Ph.D.

A chemical researcher in business can be involved with pharmaceutical, manufacturing, paper mills, petroleum, or food products, for example. Degree requirements depend
on the desired level of work and/or involvement. A employee with a B.S. will usually do mostly basic chemical research work. A master’s degree or Ph.D. chemist will often oversee a group of people to help direct the group, manage the collected results, and write up results to present to management or even for publication in journals.

A chemical researcher at a college campus requires a master’s degree or Ph.D. These chemists often coursework to students, with a major portion of their time spent doing
their own research projects. In addition, some time is spent writing grants to get funding to help fund the research.

As a chemical waste management professional usually has at least a bachelor’s degree and do research on how to safely and legally dispose of chemical waste from laboratories
and industries.

Chemists who consult usually have a master’s degree or Ph.D. These chemists can work in a variety of situations, like government studies or businesses looking for new products or researchers who want a bit of expertise from someone outside their field of interest.

Core Chemistry courses that may be helpful in pursuing the major**:

  • General Chemistry I & II
  • Organic Chemistry I & II
  • Organic Chemistry Laboratory Part I and Part II
  • Calculus and Analytic Geometry (more than one semester is typically required)
  • Physics I & II

**Specific chemistry requirements will vary depending on the baccalaureate granting institution.

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