How Do I Become an Industrial Chemist?

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  • Written By: Jessica F. Black
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 01 January 2020
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There are several ways to become an industrial chemist, depending on the position that you are interested in. Entry-level positions may require that you have an associate's degree and there are many colleges that offer an applied science degree that is based on industrial chemistry. These positions will limit you to assisting other professionals in the field and in order to increase your job options, you may want to consider obtaining a bachelor's degree in chemistry. Another option may be to continue your education to receive a master's degree, and become an industrial chemist who is able to work in laboratory supervisory positions.

General chemistry coursework that you will need to complete may include principles of chemistry, chemical analysis, introductory physics, and organic chemistry. Basic science courses will help to prepare you for advanced laboratory work which is needed to become an industrial chemist. More specific coursework may include modern industrial chemistry, chemical laboratory techniques, and pharmaceutical chemistry. Due to the complex nature of this field, you will need to be well-versed in organic and inorganic chemical processes, environmental chemistry, and industrial polymer chemistry. Although many universities do not offer a degree program in industrial chemistry, future employers will be seeking candidates whose educational background is heavily based on field-related coursework.


Many universities offer additional learning experience opportunities through laboratory practicums and you will need to inquire about lab work at your school's science department. The completion of a field-related internship may be required to be an industrial chemist. Due to the varying length of time of internships, you should typically begin searching for an internship in your intended field during your second year of undergraduate studies. Most internships will require that you have at least completed your general chemistry studies, which usually takes at least the first year. Assisting other professionals in the field will enable you to improve your performance in a laboratory setting.

This profession offers a range of employment opportunities and after you have completed your degree program, you may want to apply at several types of companies. Some of the facilities that may be seeking an industrial chemist are cosmetic, food administration, pharmaceutical, and chemical companies. Once you become an industrial chemist and begin seeking employment, you may need to be prepared to complete an on-the-job training course. Many companies in this field will require that you are familiar with their company procedures and laboratory layout.


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Post 2

@Terrificli -- That is good advice for almost any field. I don't care if you want to be an industrial chemist, a lawyer or a journalist. A good internship while you are in college is a great way to find out if you like the career for which you are training.

It is better to learn you hate being an industrial chemist while you are in college. If you are still in school, you can change your major. If you are working as an industrial chemist and you hate that career, you have a major problem.

Post 1

Actually, a field related internship should be a mandatory part of any degree program for industrial chemists. Not all colleges do that, of course, but it should be required.

From what I understand, working as an industrial chemist is a "love it or hate it" kind of thing. There are some industrial chemists who can't imagine doing anything else for a living and there are some who rue the day they decided to pursue that career.

What kind of person are you? An internship will help you find that out in a hurry.

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