Yes, major chemicals is a good career path. Especially for those who are enthusiastic about exploring how chemistry allows us to meet our basic needs for resources, such as clean air, water, soil, food, energy, health, clothing, and others. If you are willing to learn more about different branches of chemistry and incorporate that knowledge to improve what we already have or create something innovative, then major chemicals might be the right career path for you.
One of the main reasons major chemicals is considered a good career path is that it offers a myriad of job opportunities ranging from entry-level to high-paying jobs. And the good thing is that you can get a decent job no matter if you are an undergraduate student or a professional with a degree.
To help you better understand the scope of major chemicals career path, below is detailed information about major chemicals job opportunities, average salaries, knowledge and degree requirements, job satisfaction, and the benefits of pursuing a career in major chemicals.
What Is the Major Chemicals Career Path?
Majoring in chemistry means that you learn about different elements and compounds as well as the chemical changes they undergo. Chemistry incorporates and connects several other sciences, including but not limited to biology, physics, mathematics, medicine, geology, and environmental sciences.
Pursuing a career path in major chemicals allows you to choose from a broad range of internship and job opportunities while granting you the ability to solve real-life global issues. Along with improving the overall quality of life in general, being an expert in chemistry enables you to apply for some of the highest-paying chemistry jobs.
So, opting for a career path in major chemicals is a small but excellent way to make a huge difference in the world.
What Job Opportunities Are Available in Major Chemicals?
Whether you are interested in biology- and biochemistry-related jobs or you are more into engineering and industrial options, there are many jobs in major chemicals that may be suitable for you.
The best job positions in major chemicals include chemical technician, high school chemistry teacher, chemistry professor, assistant professor of chemistry, analytical chemist, organic chemist, biochemist, geochemist, synthetic chemist, forensic scientist, materials scientist, chemical engineer, nanotechnologist, pharmacologist, quality control chemist, toxicologist, medicinal chemist, academic researcher, research and development scientist, and process engineer.
Read more about the 20 best-paying jobs in major chemicals below.
Chemical technicians, often referred to as lab technicians, are professionals who make sure that studies, experiments, analyses, and various research tasks can be performed smoothly and efficiently. They typically monitor lab equipment and conduct lab tests, helping scientists gather the data they need. Along with setting up and operating lab instruments and equipment, chemical technicians are responsible for ensuring that chemical processes and product qualities meet the standards.
High School Chemistry Teacher
Pursuing a career in major chemicals allows you to become a high school chemistry teacher. If you are passionate about sharing your knowledge with others and you enjoy communicating with students, then this job position might be the right fit for you.
While working as a chemistry professor at a university requires a higher level of knowledge and experience, it’s an excellent way to share your expertise with your students and help them develop as professionals in the field. Being a chemistry professor also lets you discover talented students who you can later include in your research.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
If you are devoted to educating students in chemistry, then starting as an assistant professor of chemistry is a great opportunity. After getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree in chemistry, you can start working as an assistant professor, taking a few steps forward to becoming a chemistry professor. Besides, as a motivated undergraduate student, your university may even offer you a teacher assistant job.
Analytical chemists are professionals with knowledge of chemistry and statistics who use instruments to run tests and then analyze data by means of different software systems. As analytical chemists are responsible for performing qualitative and quantitative analysis, they are hired in pretty much all industries that involve basic to advanced laboratory research.
As the term suggests, organic chemists are professionals who study the structure, properties, and reactions of different organic compounds. Organic chemists apply this knowledge to make use of already-existing organic materials or develop new and improved formulations. Organic chemist job positions are widely available in industry, educational sectors, and academic research.
Biochemists study the chemical processes that occur or are related to living organisms. As biochemistry is a laboratory-based science, biochemists spend most of their working hours in labs to conduct experiments and then continue analyzing the results. If you are enthusiastic about exploring both biology and chemistry, pursuing your career path in biochemistry might be the best choice.
Geochemists mainly use physical and inorganic chemistry to explore different aspects of the Earth, including its composition, structure, and physical properties. According to the American Chemical Society, geochemists’ primary objective is to examine the distribution of chemical elements in minerals and rocks. Gathering and analyzing this information is crucial for making industrial, environmental, and scientific decisions.
Synthetic chemists use expert knowledge and many years of hands-on laboratory experience to design and synthesize new chemical compounds. These professionals are also responsible for testing compounds and working on purifying them. As a synthetic chemist, your job duties will include developing and optimizing synthetic routes for smooth and efficient synthesis of new compounds and materials.
Forensic scientists provide scientifically tested and validated evidence to be used in criminal and civil investigations. The primary duties of a forensic scientist are searching and examining materials related to crimes, including but not limited to blood, body fluids, hair, fibers, paint, glass fragments, bullets, footprints, tire marks, and other chemical substances.
Materials scientists focus on understanding the structures and chemical properties of different materials to enhance products or develop new ones. In order to improve or design enhanced product materials, materials scientists conduct a broad range of tests while determining the most optimal ways to achieve the goal.
Pharmacologists are medical scientists who investigate how drugs work and how biological systems respond to medicines or therapies to enhance existing drugs or design more effective and safer alternatives. Along with running basic lab tests, pharmacologists are involved in clinical trials and research on voluntary patients.
As mentioned by Purdue University, medicinal chemists, also known as pharmaceutical chemists, focus on researching chemical compounds and determining whether or not they can be used as drugs. As a medicinal chemist, you not only isolate natural medicinal agents but also work on the development of artificial medicines, aka synthetic drugs.
If you are curious about how chemical and physical agents can cause potential harmful effects on humans and other living organisms, then you should consider pursuing a career in toxicology. After becoming a toxicologist, you will be responsible for determining the conditions under which chemicals can be used safely to minimize the negative impact on our environment and health.
Quality Control Chemist
Quality control chemistry is a laboratory-based science in which professionals test and verify that lab materials meet industry-specific standards. According to Zip Recruiter, quality control chemists ensure that products, typically in pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries, are made using safe and effective materials according to standard methods and protocols.
As stated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemical engineers use the knowledge of chemistry, biology, physics, and mathematics to design and develop new products. Chemical engineers modify chemical processes while changing chemical, biochemical, and physical states of a given substance to create something new.
Nanotechnology refers to the manipulation of matter on atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scales to design and produce new materials and devices. For those who are enthusiastic about creating tiny devices that can actually change our lives for the better, pursuing a career in nanotechnology might be the right choice. As a nanotechnologist, your primary role will be to modify atoms and molecules while creating new materials for applications at the submicroscopic level.
If you are more into researching what is already known about a specific topic rather than spending hours running some tests at a laboratory, then you should think of becoming an academic researcher. Academic research involves examining and analyzing numerous scholarly sources while publishing research papers, review articles, and reports. Read more about becoming an academic researcher in this article by Indeed.
Research and Development Scientist
Research and development chemists are laboratory-based professionals who study chemical compounds and conduct research to improve the formulation of products as well as the overall processes. Whether we are talking about developing drugs and cosmetics or manufacturing electrical devices and other materials, research and development scientists create products that meet industrial needs.
Process engineers specialize in designing and implementing different chemical processes, especially when it comes to the production of goods on an industrial scale. Besides, process engineers work on optimizing processes in manufacturing while establishing safety procedures as they apply chemistry to solve related problems.
How Much Do Professionals in Major Chemicals Earn?
Your salary as a professional specializing in major chemicals will depend on a number of factors, such as your location, the company you work at, your position and responsibilities, and the level of experience you have in a given field.
According to Indeed, the average base salary for chemists in the United States is $19.61 per hour and $60,247 per year. Based on the statistics, the average annual salary of professionals in major chemicals in the United States ranges from approximately $45,000 to $130,000 per year.
What Do You Need to Become a Major Chemicals Professional?
Generally speaking, you need at least a bachelor’s degree to become a major chemicals professional. While you can apply for entry-level jobs with a bachelor’s degree, you will need a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. to get hired for mid-level or executive-level jobs.
Besides, some job positions in major chemicals require a background in engineering or relevant experience working in the field.
Keep in mind that starting your career in major chemicals does not always require a degree. If you are an undergraduate student working toward a bachelor’s degree and you have a good academic standing, you can easily become a teacher’s assistant as long as you are motivated to help other students while developing yourself.
What Do Professionals Specializing in Major Chemicals Do?
As chemistry offers a diverse variety of job opportunities, professionals in the major chemicals field complete contrasting tasks on a daily basis. While some chemists are involved in lab-based research and experiments, others inspect and maintain lab equipment and devices.
Generally speaking, professionals in major chemicals perform analysis, conduct research, gather and analyze data to find solutions, design and develop new materials, improve the processes for synthesizing chemicals, and do academic research.
What Is the Job Satisfaction in Major Chemicals?
While working in major chemicals is definitely not for everyone, there are people who truly enjoy working in this field. As a professional specializing in chemistry, you can have a meaningful job that will grant you a chance to change the world for the better.
Read more about the job satisfaction of chemists compared to similar careers in the major chemicals industry in this article by Career Explorer.
What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Career in Major Chemicals?
Pursuing a career in major chemicals offers numerous benefits, including:
- Being able to understand the importance of chemistry
- Having an opportunity to conduct experiments in a lab
- Global work opportunities
- The ability to work in different fields of chemistry
- A chance to enhance or create new products
- Meeting other professionals in the field
- Being able to educate students
While there are plenty of advantages of working in the major chemicals field, the greatest benefit is that chemistry allows you to understand how the world around you works.