Polymer Chemistry

Polymer chemistry is a branch of science dealing with natural and synthetic macromolecular structures called polymers. Find career and salary info for the field in addition to learning about degree programs and course topics.

Is Polymer Chemistry Right for Me?

Career Summary

Polymer chemistry is a science that draws on both chemistry and physics with a focus on polymers, which are large molecules with a repeating structure connected by covalent chemical bonds. Polymers range from plastics, some of which are synthetic, to DNA and other natural substances, like amber or rubber. Professionals in this field use tools such as spectrometers, titration equipment, centrifuges and analysis software.

Job Possibilities

Polymer chemists tend to work in testing, design and technician posts where they manipulate substances, such as medical drugs and industrial organic chemicals. Polymer chemists also have career paths in the engineering and manufacturing industries. As a polymer chemist within academia, you could teach as an associate, assistant or tenured professor. You would most likely couple this with research and publication of scholarly articles.

Entry-level chemistry positions typically require a bachelor's degree in chemistry, such as a Bachelor of Science in Polymer Chemistry. Master's and doctoral degrees in polymer chemistry allow you to pursue careers in chemistry labs, research or education.

Employment Outlook and Salary Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for chemists was $71,770 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The median wages for materials scientists and postsecondary chemistry teachers were $88,990 and $71,140, respectively, in the same year. The BLS also notes that materials scientists and postsecondary chemistry teachers can expect job growth rates of 5% and 19% across the 2012-2022 decade.

How Can I Become a Polymer Chemist?

Undergraduate Education

You could pursue a bachelor's degree, majoring in polymer chemistry if available, otherwise, in chemistry. Undergraduate polymer chemistry programs would usually supplement polymer chemistry courses with others in analytical methods of chemistry, inorganic, organic and biological chemistry, advanced calculus, analytical geometry and physics.

Graduate Studies

Many jobs in the field will additionally require a master's degree or Ph.D. in polymer chemistry. Courses at the graduate level cover topics such as radiopaque polymers, polymer thermodynamics, polymer statistical mechanics, biopolymer production and inorganic polymers. Completion of a Ph.D. often includes advanced independent research, discussions, seminars, presentations and a dissertation defense.

Necessary Skills

To become a polymer chemist, you must know the physical structures and reactions possible with specific organic and inorganic compounds. You should also enjoy reading, writing and researching about chemical polymers and their applications.

Related Articles for Polymer Chemistry

View More Articles

Related Videos

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools