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Career Profile: Chemists

Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 85,400 people employed as chemists in the United States. The median annual salary is $79,300. Entry level employees earn approximately $44,970 per year and senior employees earn approximately $139,650 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Maintain laboratory instruments to ensure proper working order and troubleshoot malfunctions when needed.
  • Conduct quality control tests.
  • Analyze organic or inorganic compounds to determine chemical or physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, or reactions, using chromatography, spectroscopy, or spectrophotometry techniques.
  • Develop, improve, or customize products, equipment, formulas, processes, or analytical methods.
  • Direct, coordinate, or advise personnel in test procedures for analyzing components or physical properties of materials.
  • Purchase laboratory supplies, such as chemicals, when supplies are low or near their expiration date.
  • Study effects of various methods of processing, preserving, or packaging on composition or properties of foods.
  • Prepare test solutions, compounds, or reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct tests.
  • Induce changes in composition of substances by introducing heat, light, energy, or chemical catalysts for quantitative or qualitative analysis.
  • Evaluate laboratory safety procedures to ensure compliance with standards or to make improvements as needed.
  • Compile and analyze test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency or to diagnose malfunctions.
  • Write technical papers or reports or prepare standards and specifications for processes, facilities, products, or tests.
  • Confer with scientists or engineers to conduct analyses of research projects, interpret test results, or develop nonstandard tests.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
85,400
Annual Openings:
8,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
7%
Annual Salary Range:
$44,970 - $139,650
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree