What Are the Different Chemistry Jobs?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Many chemists develop new substances for industrial purposes.
Many chemists develop new substances for industrial purposes.

There are several ways to look at the different types of chemistry jobs there are. One can look at the main branches of chemistry, as well as different or industries that chemists work in. One can also look at the specialized careers in which these jobs are offered.

Chemists may choose to study analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, to name some of the main areas of the field. Analytic chemists reveal the composition and structure of substances. Biochemists study living organisms and their chemical composition. Inorganic chemists focus on compounds composed of elements other than carbon, while organic chemists analyze the chemistry of carbon compounds, that is, the compounds that make up living things.

Those trained as chemists can pursue careers in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic and organic chemistry, among other areas.
Those trained as chemists can pursue careers in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic and organic chemistry, among other areas.

Chemistry jobs are offered in some standard locations. Chemistry work is often done in laboratories, as one might expect. But chemists may also work in offices, schools, manufacturing plants, and sometimes outdoors if, for example, their specialty involves the environment or water.

One area for chemistry jobs is in academics. High schools, community colleges, four-year colleges, universities, and online programs employ chemists to teach chemistry and its subspecialties. Instructors in a four-year college or university program will probably need a Ph.D., but the requirements may be less for online instruction, community colleges, and high schools. A high school teacher may be hired with only a bachelor of science degree in chemistry.

Some chemists focus on laboratory research while others choose careers outside the lab.
Some chemists focus on laboratory research while others choose careers outside the lab.

Chemists may also work in research and development, investigating the properties of matter and its behavior and working to create new products and processes, as well as synthesize products that occur naturally. Some jobs are in manufacturing plants in which production and quality control are both areas in which chemistry is Combinatorial chemistry jobs, for example, are involved with testing and analysis, while medical chemistry jobs are involved with identifying the structure of compounds in the service of the pharmaceutical industry. Jobs that involve other skill sets in addition to chemistry are also available including jobs in science writing, sales, and consulting.

A forensic chemist may examine clothing articles from a crime scene.
A forensic chemist may examine clothing articles from a crime scene.

According to the American Chemical Society, industry specialties for chemists include food and flavor chemistry, chemical technology, chemical engineering, oil and petroleum chemistry, polymer chemistry, pulp and paper chemistry, textile chemistry, and water chemistry. Chemists also go on to take positions as forensic chemists, environmental chemists, and geochemists. Chemists may also add credentials to be able to work as pharmacists, toxicologists, medical doctors, and biochemists.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

eduguy1313

@Darrien - I don't think one specific type of chemist exists that checks for longer term effects. Instead I would imagine that certain kinds of chemists perform different long term studies within their field.

When they were checking the safety of artificial sweeteners in the long term, well that was a medicinal chemistry job. And when they were checking the effects of Agent Orange on plants, well that was an environmental chemistry job.

Hope that helps.

Darrien

With all the productions of chemicals in the world, many people often worry that some could potentially be harmful. In the long run I believe chemistry has done way more good than bad, but what kinds of chemist jobs exist that examine the long term conditions of this work?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Many chemists develop new substances for industrial purposes.
      Many chemists develop new substances for industrial purposes.
    • Those trained as chemists can pursue careers in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic and organic chemistry, among other areas.
      Those trained as chemists can pursue careers in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic and organic chemistry, among other areas.
    • Some chemists focus on laboratory research while others choose careers outside the lab.
      Some chemists focus on laboratory research while others choose careers outside the lab.
    • A forensic chemist may examine clothing articles from a crime scene.
      A forensic chemist may examine clothing articles from a crime scene.
    • Analytical chemists reveal the composition and structure of various substances.
      Analytical chemists reveal the composition and structure of various substances.