Chemistry 1001: The Chemical Community. Careers in Chemistry. What can I do with my degree after I graduate?. Chemistry is often referred to as the central science, because chemistry plays a vital role in nearly every other scientific field. .
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Careers in Chemistry
Chemistry is often referred to as the central science, because chemistry plays a vital role in nearly every other scientific field.
This presentation outlines some of the common areas where chemists work.
This is by NO means an exhaustive list!!
Chemistry Careers in Brief(http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/acsdisplay.html?DOC=vc2%5c3wk%5cwk3.html)
The bulk of chemists are hired to work in the chemical industry either as chemists working in the plant or on the bench, or as technically knowledgeable people who work in the business side of the company.
◊Industrial R&D and Production:
An important aspect of any industrial enterprise is the development of new technology that can be turned into new products.
• Work to develop new or improved technologies for the companies.
• Typically work at a bench carrying out chemical reactions and/or determining chemical structures or properties.
• Often a Ph.D. chemist, or someone working under one.
• Works to translate the work done by the research chemist into something that can be performed on a large scale as part of a manufacturing process.
• Work with plant engineers to maximize the design and use of plant equipment, supervise production, ensure quality control and ensure compliance with environmental protection policies.
◊Industrial Sales, Marketing, and Technical Service:
Each of these careers involves a product-customer relationship. A background in business is required to a varying extent for each of these careers.
• Work with customers to identify what products would most help the customer achieve their goals.
• Often requires technical background.
• Deals primarily with analyzing groups of customers known as "markets."
• Often requires a background in advertising.
• Laboratory work and customer interaction are intertwined.
• Responsibilities include:
developing new applications for products
writing instruction manuals
troubleshooting for customers with problems or questions.
Many companies support and encourage employees who wish to go on for further education as they work.
This support might include partial or full payment of graduate tuition, released time (with or without pay), or even a chance to do research on company time that will both serve the company as well as be applicable to an M.S. degree.
A second major option for people with degrees in chemistry is as teachers of chemistry at the high school, community college, college, or university level.
◊ High School:
Students with a B.S. degree in chemistry would likely need to obtain additional training in education to be hired at a public high school.
Private high schools may directly hire someone with a B.S. degree in chemistry.
◊ Community College:
Community colleges will typically hire faculty members with MS or PhD degrees in chemistry to teach general and organic chemistry.
◊ Undergraduate Colleges or Universities:
Faculty members at primarily undergraduate institutions will teach classes and labs in their area.
They will also typically direct students in original research projects.
Faculty may write grants to fund their research, write papers and give presentations on the results of their work.
A PhD is almost always required for 4-year college positions in chemistry, often post-doctoral experience after the PhD is desired.
◊ Research Universities:
Faculty are expected to teach undergraduate and graduate courses as well as direct research groups of undergraduate and graduate students.
These positions require PhD degrees and almost always will require post-doctoral experience.
◊ Support Positions:
Colleges and universities often have a number of support positions that require technical backgrounds:
• Lab Technicians - perform support roles for teaching and research, such as operating research equipment.
• Stockroom managers - order and maintain inventories of chemicals and supplies for the research and teaching effort.
• Safety officers - handle hazardous waste and help enforce EPA and other safety guidelines.
Federal, state, and local governments offer a variety of opportunities for students with chemistry degrees.
U.S. government operated national research labs employ B.S., M.S., and PhD scientists who carry out research on a wide variety of topics.
National labs offer an environment that is a cross between industrial and academic research.
Departments such as the EPA, FBI, FDA, ATF, etc. employ chemists who carry our research and perform analytical services in support of the regulatory role of these agencies.
Not every student who earns a chemistry degree ends up as a chemist or chemistry teacher.
Opportunities in fields as varied as medicine, law, business, and science are available.
Analytical chemistry and biochemistry form the basis for much of forensic science.
A general training in chemistry is one of the best preparations for a career in forensic science.
There is a significant need for people interested in working for local, state, and national forensic science labs.
Biotech takes advantage of biochemistry to produce materials for our modern way of life.
Toxicologists are principally involved in the discovery of new knowledge concerning how toxic substances produce their effects.
Industries employ toxicologists to assist in the evaluation of the safety of their products.
Federal laws require that manufacturers provide adequate testing of products (such as therapeutic drugs, food additives, cosmetics, agricultural chemicals ) before releasing them into commerce.
Analysis of foods to ensure they are safe and nutritious.
Develop better tasting, longer lasting, and healthier foods.
People with chemical backgrounds can work to understand how our diet affects our health and well being.
Opportunities for chemists in the cosmetics fields include the development of new fragrances, dyes, and skin treatments, and formulations.
Environmental scientists attempt to understand how the environment operates and how human interaction affects the environment.
Career opportunities exist with academic, government, and industrial employers.
Students use chemistry degrees as a stepping stone to a variety of health professional schools.
• Hospital Lab Technicians
Chemistry provides critical thinking skills that are important for these professions.
◊Chemical Information Specialists:
• Scientific writing for technical journals, trade magazines, and industry
• Abstracting/database production
• Museum jobs
This is the general term used to describe patentable discoveries.
The two main categories are:
• Patent Agents - work for government to examine patent applications
• Patent Attorneys - lawyers hired by those applying for patents
Often requires a law degree!!
Often confused with “straight” chemistry, chemical engineering usually involves:
• Producing useful chemical products in commercial quantity
• Designing plants required for the production
• Developing waste management systems
Generally speaking, chemists develop the basic ideas, and the engineers make them more practical!
Developing new materials with industrial applications.
It is clear that many of the jobs mentioned require further education beyond the 4-year BS degree.
Depending on what you want to do, you can either look for a job directly out of college, or consider a graduate program or professional school.
Before making the decision, really think about what you want to do and where you want to be.
No decision has to be final! You can always change your mind!