Career Detail


Chemist & Material Scientist
“Mixing It Up”
Chemists and materials scientists search for and use new knowledge about chemicals to develop new products or make existing products better.
The Job
Everything in the environment, whether naturally occurring or of human design, is composed of chemicals. Research on the chemistry of living things spurs advances in medicine, agriculture, food processing, and other fields. Chemists has led the drive for discovery and development of new and improved synthetic fibers, paints, adhesives, drugs, cosmetics, electronic components, lubricants, and thousands of other products. Many chemists and materials scientists work in research and development (R&D). In basic research, they investigate the properties, composition, and structure of matter and the laws that govern the combination of elements and reactions of substances to each other.
Work Environment
Usually work regular hours in offices and laboratories. Chemists do some of their work in a chemical plant or outdoors.
College Majors
chemistry, material science, physics, or electrical engineering
Minimum Qualifications
A bachelor's degree in chemistry or a related discipline is the minimum educational requirement; however, many research jobs require a master's degree or, more often, a Ph.D.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Perseverance, curiosity, and the ability to concentrate on detail and to work independently are essential.
Quick Facts
  • Job growth will occur in professional, scientific, and technical services firms
  • New chemists at all levels may experience competition for jobs, particularly in declining chemical manufacturing industries.
  • Chemists have developed most of the greatest products used for human advancement.
  • More Info: American Chemical Society, Education Division, Internet: http://www.acs.org
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of chemists in May 2008 were $66,230. The middle 50 percent earned between $48,630 and $89,660. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $37,840, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $113,080. Median annual wages of materials scientists in May 2008 were $80,230. The middle 50 percent earned between $59,180 and $102,180. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,670, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,010.
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Job Growth Outlook
Hyper growth industry Hyper growth industry
Average growth Average growth
Declining job market Declining job market
No growth No growth
Dead end profession dead end profession

H.S. diploma H.S. diploma
BA Degree BA Degree
Masters Degree Masters Degree
Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD

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