As a Chemistry major, you will analyze chemical reactions to determine the properties of matter.
Chemists are involved in a broad range of activities. You might make new compounds for various purposes such as medicines or plastics. Or, organize, write and edit chemical information. Some manage large organizations, while others spend their time studying the chemical world in which we live.
Representative Job Titles and Area of Specialization
- Air Pollution Specialist
- Analytical Chemist
- Art Preservationist
- Bio-Organic Chemist
- Chemical Engineer
- Chemical Librarian
- Chemical Market Researcher
- Chemical Oceanographer
- Chemical Physicist
- Clinical Chemist
- Education - Teacher/Instructor/Professor
- Inorganic Chemist
- Forensics - Criminologist
- Hormonal Chemist
- Industrial Hygienist
- Information Science - Writer/Editor/Reporter
- Materials Science
- Molecular Chemist
- Museum Curator
- National Products Chemist
- Nuclear Chemist
- Organic Chemist
- Paper Chemist
- Patent Attorney
- Photo Chemist
- Physical Chemist
- Polymer Chemist
- Production Chemist
- Process Chemist
- Quality Control Specialist
- Radiation Chemist
- Solid State Chemist
- Structural Analysis
- Industrial Chemist
- Surface Chemist
- Technical Salesperson
- Theoretical Chemist
Nature of the Work
Chemists are currently in demand for teaching, especially at the high school level. Those at the university level conduct research in addition to teaching and administrative duties.
Chemical research also is conducted in non-academic settings like government and industrial laboratories.
About ten percent of all chemists work in production and inspection. That means they prepare instructions for plant workers that specify the kind and amount of ingredients to use and the exact mixing time for each stage in the process. They may also monitor quality control.
Market specialists try to determine what and how much of a product a company should produce, look for trends, and try to anticipate new products.
Many chemists eventually leave the lab to become managers, financial specialists in the chemical industry, patent lawyers, technical communications specialists, and chemical information systems experts.
Places of Employment
- Schools, colleges, universities
- Chemical manufacturing firms and
- agricultural chemicals
- U.S. Department of Defense
- U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Nonprofit research organizations
- Banks catering to the chemical industry
- Independent research laboratories
- Automotive industry
- Criminalistics laboratories at the
- and local levels
- Hospitals and clinics
- Fermentation industries
- Publishing houses
- Power production plants
- Mining companies
- National Institutes of Health
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- State and local departments of health
- Aerospace industry
- Petroleum industry
Once you have your bachelor's degree, you might start your career in government or industry by analyzing or testing products, working in technical sales or service, or assisting senior chemists in research and development laboratories.
Beyond that, many jobs require some level of education beyond the bachelor's degree.
If you have a master's degree, you can teach in a two-year college or go into applied research in government or private industry. You need a Ph.D. to conduct basic research, teach at a four-year college or move into an administrative position.
For further information and/or career counseling contact the UCR Career Center, (951) 827-3631.
The following documents may provide further ideas for exploration.