What Are Popular Chemistry Professions?

Chemistry is a varied science that offers many possible career options. If you're looking for an entry-level career, you could become a chemical technician. With more experience and training, you can become a chemist or pursue academic opportunities. By reading below, you'll learn more about chemistry and possible professions in the field. Schools offering Science, Technology, and International Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Chemistry Defined

Chemistry is the scientific study of chemical substances and their interaction with each other. This field of study is used in the modern world in various ways. Many of the items you eat or drink have chemicals in them that are produced in laboratories. Products like pesticides and poisons are also made with chemicals. Continue reading for details about three chemistry professions:

Important Facts About Popular Chemistry Professions

Chemical Technician Chemist Chemistry Professor
On-the-Job Training Provided by employer Internship, fellowship, or work-study program Graduate teaching assistant opportunities available
Key Skills Analytical and critical thinking; computer competency; clear communication; time management Strong mathematical foundation; problem solving; analytical thinking; determination Social nuance; annunciation; ingenuity; critical thinking
Work Environment Testing laboratories; pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing; colleges, universities, and professional schools Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing; federal government; basic chemical manufacturing Colleges, universities, and professional schools; junior colleges
Similar Occupations Biological technicians; environmental science and protection technicians; geological and petroleum technicians Chemical engineers; materials engineers; natural sciences managers Biochemists; microbiologists; zoologists and wildlife biologists

Chemical Technician

As a chemical technician, you'll work under the direction of chemical engineers and chemists. You'll assist with the development of products and equipment that use chemicals. You normally have two career choices as a chemical technician.

You could work in research, developing new chemical related items, or you could work in process control, producing and evaluating chemical products for quality assurance. In some cases, all you'll need to become a chemical technician is an associate's degree in chemistry. However, many employers prefer if you possess a bachelor's degree.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a slower than average growth rate of 2% is expected for chemical technicians between 2014 and 2024, and job opportunities should be best for individuals who've received high-tech training in sophisticated laboratory equipment. The median annual wage in this field was $44,180 as of 2014, also per the BLS.


As a chemist, you'll help create and research many new and improved products like paints, drugs, electronic components and cosmetics. You could also work on processes like petrochemical processing or oil refining.

Depending on what your research entails, you could be helping to advance agriculture, medicine or one of many other fields. This career requires at least a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions and a doctorate for top research vocations.

A 3% increase in available jobs is forecast for the 2014-2024 decade, and new jobs are likely to be in areas like environmental chemistry research. Jobs will also open due to retirement rates, per the BLS. In 2014, chemists made a median salary of $73,480.

Chemistry Professor

Typically, you'll need a doctorate to teach at the college level. You could teach at the secondary school level with a bachelor's or a master's degree, if you have completed a teaching training program and earned your state teaching certification. Classes you may teach include general chemistry, organic chemistry, quantitative chemistry and analytical chemistry.

Regardless of what level you're teaching at, many of job duties will be the same. You'll prepare lectures ahead of time and go over the necessary information that students need to learn during class. You'll also need to prepare experiments and laboratory assignments for your students to give them hands-on experience in the field. Additionally, you'll issue tests and other evaluations when appropriate. Postsecondary teachers also usually conduct research, advise graduate students and participate in professional academic organizations.

Employment outlook statistics aren't available for high school or postsecondary chemistry teachers specifically. However, the BLS does list the 2014 median salary for postsecondary chemistry professors as $73,080.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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