Careers in major chemicals are among the best occupation options, especially if you’re gifted in grasping scientific concepts and can solve problems by applying chemistry, physics, mathematics, and technology. Still, you can work your entire career in the major chemicals industry with excellent investigative and data analytics skills. Due to the numerous career alternatives in this field, you can deviate and transition to a different occupational path while utilizing your vast work experience.
A career in major chemicals is ideal if you’re passionate about chemical production research and like participating in scientific advancement. A job in major chemicals will challenge you to be innovative and develop new ways of doing things. If innovation is not your forte, there are many other fulfilling career options, within this field, like toxicology or pharmacy. Both are great occupational opportunities that play a role in improving the quality of life while utilizing the knowledge acquired. Below are some of the best major chemical job opportunities that offer great career choices and pay well.
1. Medicinal Chemist
Average salary: 84,000 – $145,000 per year
Medicinal or pharmaceutical chemists are skilled in creating novel medication molecules. These experts investigate various drugs and create original therapeutic agents using synthetic organic chemistry to develop medication formulae.
Before a new pharmaceutical product moves to the testing phase, a team of medicinal chemists must first collaborate, evaluate, and test it. They also simplify drug manufacturing processes to lower costs.
A bachelor’s degree in organic chemistry, biological chemistry, chemical engineering, or any related field is helpful to thrive in this industry. While an undergraduate degree can help you start, most organizations prefer individuals with a master’s degree or Ph.D. You can apply for entry-level employment opportunities as a technician in medicinal labs to provide you with practical experience and make you a viable candidate for medicinal chemist job vacancies.
2. Material Scientist
Average salary $83,000 -$100,000
A material scientist studies the structure and chemical properties of natural, synthetic, or composite materials such as rubber, ceramics, metals, alloys, glass, semiconductors, and polymers. These scientists combine physics, chemistry, and engineering principles to find energy, biotechnology, information technology, manufacturing, and nanotechnology solutions. They use their knowledge of chemistry to analyze products and determine whether they need replacement or modification. This is a fantastic career option if you’re passionate about developing new technologies or solving complex problems.
A material scientist mainly needs a master’s degree or even a doctorate. Generally, they start their education with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or any other related field. Also, few undergraduate programs offer a major or specialization in this field.
Material scientists work in chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, government, research firms, or testing laboratories.
- Conduct research on properties and structures of materials to assist in improving or creating new ones.
- Supervising technicians in analyzing physical components of materials.
- Teaching proper chemical processing and procedures.
- Writing proposals, reports, manuscripts, and technical manuals for sponsors, other scientists, or clients.
- Carrying out computer modeling and tests.
3. Research And Development Scientist
Average salary: $74,000-$100,000
Research and development engineers are crucial in inventing new materials and testing them to ensure they meet standards. Some of the best-paying research and development scientist roles include:
Staff data scientists whose annual salary can climb to $205,000, chief scientists at $166,000, remote DATA scientists at 153,000, clinical development scientists at 142,000, and remote staff data scientists at $141,000 per year.
A research and development scientist gathers knowledge in academics or applied scientific fields, conducting tests and documenting their findings.
4. Analytical Scientist
Average salary: $71,000-$90,000
An analytical scientist is a researcher who examines materials and collects relevant data for investigation. This is a great career choice if you are detail-oriented and don’t mind focusing on one thing for prolonged periods. Analytical Scientists perform lab test procedures to analyze chemical compositions of substances to interpret and evaluate information. These experts work in pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturing plants, forensic laboratories, or institutions of higher learning.
5. Quality Assurance Engineer
Average salary: $60,000-$98,000 per year.
Quality assurance engineers are in great demand as every company needs to ensure their products meet set standards. It may include food, medicines, and other products that a quality engineer supervises to ensure the end product meets set qualifications. These professionals create tests that help identify malfunctions before a product launch. They test and assess the effects of quality throughout the development process.
6. Validation Specialist/Technicians
Average salary: $50,000-$95,000 per year
To excel as a validation specialist, you need to have an excellent grasp of mathematics. These specialists examine how various objects react to heat and stress. They participate in temperature mapping and calibration processes and measure software performance.
A bachelor’s degree in engineering or science will help you start your career as a validation specialist. However, employers prefer applicants with additional certification in quality control or manufacturing. Job applicants with an engineering certificate have an added advantage over their competitors. Additionally, you must have a solid understanding of computers and software, demonstrate expertise in manufacturing processes and exhibit excellent critical thinking skills.
Average salary: $80,000 per year
Pharmacology is the study of medical chemistry and biochemistry. A career in pharmacology requires a degree in medicine or an advanced degree in pharmacology.
Pharmacologists study the impact medicine has on humans and animals. These experts can specialize in cardiovascular pharmacology, neuropharmacology, or veterinary pharmacology. Career options in pharmacology are vast and may include working in hospitals, health insurance companies, government institutions, pharmaceutical companies, or teaching in institutions of higher learning.
8. Physical Chemist
Average salary: $73,000-$115,000 per year
A physical chemist studies matter and how it works on a molecular level. Their roles depend on the industry in which they choose to work. They mainly work with material scientists in a lab conducting research and creating new inventions and applications for existing materials.
A physical chemist uses various techniques like diffraction, microscopy, and infrared to build molecules and investigate their growth. These experts also analyze molecules’ contribution to the production of goods.
Additionally, these experts use instruments like electron microscopes, spectrometers, and lasers to conduct analyses. They investigate materials and create procedures to evaluate their qualities and characteristics. A degree in chemistry will open doors in the job market in this field. A research role in this specialty demands a master’s degree, a doctorate, or vast relevant experience in leadership roles that allow collaboration with material scientists or research teams of applied chemist experts.
9. Polymer Chemist
Average salary: $71,000-$88,000 per year
Polymer chemists work with atomic or molecular materials to determine how polymer molecules form and connect. They modify the long chains of molecules or polymers to benefit them in goods such as plastics, nylon garments, Teflon-coated cookware, and paints. A chemistry degree and experience working in a lab are prerequisites for pursuing a career in polymer chemistry.
10. Synthetic Chemist
Average salary $67,000-$100,000
Synthetic chemists create compounds for use in manufacturing, industry, and retail. These professionals can work in an industrial laboratory in the health, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, fuel, food, or beverage industries.
- Carry out research to assess and develop chemical compounds to produce new material for specific uses.
- Test substances.
- Evaluate molecular reactions.
- Work on purification procedures.
A bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, chemistry, or any related field is a requirement for entry into this industry. Previous working experience in a lab, excellent research skills, and analytical abilities are advantageous qualities. As an undergrad or graduate student, sharpen your lab abilities by participating in research projects or internships to gain much-needed experience. Your job description will determine the degree you’ll need to obtain and how far along you are in your academics. Several organizations prefer candidates with master’s degrees in synthetic chemistry or related fields.
Average salary: $66,000-$86,000 per year
A geochemist studies the earth’s chemical components by analyzing natural features like rocks and soil. Geochemistry is a marketable career choice as institutions like industries, universities, research centers, and government agencies offer job opportunities for applicants with geochemist experience.
12. Chemical Engineer
Average salary $65,000-$100,000 per year
Chemical engineers are responsible for chemical design, growth, and administration. They operate in manufacturing, chemical production, mineral processing, oil exploration, engineering, and alternative energy. They use their expertise in producing drugs, food, or beverages and can work in a refinery, hospital, lab, or research center.
- Conduct and analyze experiments
- Use engineering, science, or mathematical applications to report findings
- Collaborate in a team to accomplish projects
- Contribute to scientific discoveries
- Help build new technologies.
A chemical engineer job applicant needs a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. This degree involves the study of chemistry, mathematics, science, and other related disciplines. A master’s degree or additional certifications is an added advantage when making a job application. Accreditation from relevant bodies will increase your professional credibility.
13. Forensic Scientist
Average salary $55,000-$85,000 per year
Forensic science is a critical constituent of the criminal justice system that examines and analyzes evidence from a crime scene. It helps provide scientific evidence to use in a court of law to support a prosecution or defense in criminal investigations. A forensic scientist studies crime scenes, conduct scientific tests and provides evidence for a court of law.
Once authorities report a crime scene, relevant law enforcement and medical teams secure the scene, paving the way for forensic scientists to document and collect evidence. Forensic scientists carefully comb through the scene, examining items they come across in the hope of obtaining crucial evidence.
A career in forensic science is demanding yet, rewarding. With the rapid technological advances and the precision of research, courts are increasingly allocating greater weight to forensic evidence. A Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science is a great place to start if you’re interested in collecting, analyzing, and processing forensic evidence for legal investigations. A course in Forensic science builds on a solid foundation of chemistry and biology. Forensics study involves comprehensive training in forensic photography, DNA analysis, crime scene processing, toxicology, and serology.
Duties of a forensic scientist
- Assists disciplined forces, including police, and legal or military organizations, to detect the composition of drugs, chemicals, hair strands, fingerprints, etc., to help identify unknown materials left behind at a crime scene.
- Processing information and chemicals.
- Analyzing toxicological reports.
- Performing chemical tests on a specimen.
- Collaborating with teams to conclude basing it on available data.
14. Formulation Chemist
Average salary: $53,000-$84,000 per year
A formulation chemist’s role is to assist in product testing and developing pharmaceutical or household products like soaps, cosmetics, cleaners, or cosmetics. Your duties may include the following:
- Performing tests like UV tests to determine product safety.
- Mixing different agents.
- Establishing a product’s viability for usage and analyzing the level of safety.
Some formulation chemists operate in the oil and gas industries, where they test octane levels of gasoline. Others work in the cosmetics industry evaluating cosmetics, while others get jobs in the food industry as researchers for developing flavoring agents and other ingredients. A bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, chemistry, material science, or any other related discipline is a requirement to work as a formulation chemist.
15. Organic Chemist
Average salary: $52,000-$82,000 per year.
A career in organic chemistry entails examining carbon-based materials from their molecular structure to chemical characteristics. Research in this field includes a wide variety of topics. It may consist of creating new molecules or conducting research to identify successful techniques. You may also be responsible for utilizing nuclear magnetic resonance technology to explore magnetic fields surrounding atomic nuclei. Other responsibilities may include:
- Using chromatography instruments to make separations into constituent chemicals.
- Spending plenty of time recording findings.
- Generating reports.
A degree in organic chemistry is adequate to get an entry-level position in organic chemistry. A Ph.D. in chemistry will usher you into a wider variety of professional possibilities and open up more prospects for career progression.
16. Rubber Chemist
Annual salary: $51,000-$130,000 per year.
A rubber chemist’s role is to develop a rubber compound that meets the requirements of specific design applications per a manufacturer’s needs. These requirements determine the component to use in the mixture to achieve the required level of resistance, strength, hardness, and length in the finished product.
Rubber chemists ensure the compound is cost-effective while adhering to the manufacturer’s requirements. A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or chemical engineering is adequate to qualify for a job in this field. Knowledge of formulating compounds, mixing, and creating solutions makes candidates more marketable when applying for job opportunities.
Average salary: 42,000-$67,000 per year
A biochemist is responsible for developing and handling projects in applied biochemical research. Their roles include conducting research, writing and publishing technical reports on identifying illnesses, viruses, or genetic complications. Also, their research input assists in enhancing medical processes and treatment. They also investigate the effects of drugs on organisms, supervise lab teams, and manufacture DNA, enzymes, and proteins.
A bachelor’s degree in applied science, specializing in biochemistry, molecular biology, environmental chemistry, or any other related discipline, is an excellent place to start. A master’s degree in biochemistry will further advance your career in this field.
18. Industrial Chemist
Average salary: $40,000-$72,000 per year
Industrial chemists are responsible for translating chemical research into processes for mass production. They make advances in technology, methodologies, and type of material used in chemical manufacture. A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a similar field will help you start your career as an industrial chemist.
19. Textile Chemist
Average salary: $39,000-$81,000 per year
Textile chemist uses their knowledge of chemistry to produce and manufacture textiles made from a wide variety of material. Their responsibilities center on particular stages of the production process, including quality control, dyeing, investigating, and developing novel processes or fibers.
A bachelor’s degree in chemistry and work experience in textile manufacturing is essential for anyone to prosper in this specialty.
20. Chemistry Professor
Average salary $38,000-$66,000 per year
Being a professor allows you to lecture, research, and get published all at the same time. To qualify as a professor, one needs a bachelor’s and master’s degree. A chemistry professor with vast experience can progress their career into a consultant and eventually become a principal. Besides teaching and mentoring, professors independently conduct research and publish their findings in scientific publications or journals.
The process begins with completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, biochemistry, forensics, or organic chemistry. Next is to enrol for a Master of Science degree that consists of class attendance, lab courses, comprehensive assessments, and a final thesis project that will prepare a candidate for rigorous research orientations and into a Ph.D. program.
21. Nuclear Chemistry Technician
Average salary: 38,000 – $58,000 per year
Nuclear chemistry technicians are scientists with nuclear technology expertise. These professionals work in atomic energy and provide support to nuclear plant operations. They also offer research assistance to engineers, physicists, and other specialists.
Completing a degree program in nuclear science or nuclear technology is an excellent way to pursue higher education which will open doors for career growth. You may acquire certification from relevant authorities or work in a nuclear program of a military organization.
- Utilize special equipment to monitor power generation and radiation levels.
- Use specialized gear to collect air, water, or soil samples to examine them for signs of pollution.
- Train teams on radiation safety protocols and implementation processes and warn coworkers about the potential dangers at work.
22. Chemical Operations Specialist
Average salary: 37,000-$98,000 per year
A chemical operations specialist works with potentially hazardous and poisonous chemical substances, especially in the military. They are in control of decontaminating an area and conducting tests to determine the chemical toxicity or any other dangers.
You must complete specialized military training to qualify as a chemical operations expert.
When specialists in your industry identify you as highly skilled in a specific field, employers directly reach out to you whenever job openings arise in their companies. Consider carrying out research to grow your skills and build credibility. Obtaining a degree in chemistry can open doors to multiple professional opportunities. You may work in research, manufacturing, or product development within the pharmaceutical sector. The possibilities in the major chemicals industry are limitless.
Whether you choose biochemistry, forensic chemistry, chemical research, or any related field, adequate preparation will set you up for a career in the medical industry, law, forensics, manufacturing, or impart knowledge in institutions of higher learning. An understanding of chemistry is marketable and in high demand.
With patience, determination, commitment, and hard work, a career in major chemicals can lead you to a rewarding, prosperous career path you never thought possible.