Chemistry is essentially the study of matter, and it affects nearly everything used in society. Individuals who study chemistry are vital to the development of new products and improvements in technology. A bachelor's of science degree in chemistry can prepare students for a variety of careers in private and public sectors. Understanding the possible career avenues you can take with a chemistry degree can help you choose a field aligned with your career goals.
Working as a chemist is a natural career path for many students who obtain a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Chemists work in a variety of industries, such as pharmaceutical companies, research and development firms, and government agencies. Common duties include investigating the properties and composition of material to develop new products, testing solutions and compounds in laboratories, and writing scientific reports on their findings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemists often use computer software to construct models and simulations. Chemists typically work in team environments and with other scientists, such as a physicists and biologists.
Another career option for chemistry degree holders is patent examiner. Individuals seeking to protect their discovery of new processes, chemical compounds used in new products and machines can apply for a patent through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patent examiners are the first ones to review a patent application to verify if the applicant meets the approval requirements. Patent examiners use a review process when determining the eligibility of patent. To verify the originality of an invention, chemistry majors can use their education and skills to search internal and external databases, examine scientific literature and research chemical compounds, which are all a part of the review process. During and after the review process, patent examiners communicate with an applicant or the applicant’s attorney on whether the application is approved or rejected.
Academics is another common career path for individuals with a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry. Faculty positions are typically available in public and private high schools. In addition to a degree, most schools require you to obtain a teaching certification. Chemistry teachers present to students scientific concepts related to chemistry. Duties include creating lesson plans, conducting laboratory activities, and preparing and delivering lectures. Although teaching chemistry is the primary responsibility of a chemistry teacher, other tasks include supervising students, grading assignments and monitoring students’ development. Not only must a chemistry teacher love chemistry, but should also desire to help students.
The primary goal of agricultural and food scientists is to improve productivity and ensure that food is produced safely. To accomplish this, scientists study soil composition and how it affects plant growth. They create ways to improve the quality of field crops, and research the nutrition of animals. The results of the experiments and research conducted by these scientists are often communicated to the scientific community, the public and food producers. The major employers for food and agricultural scientists include research universities, private industries and the federal government.
- University of Alabama: Careers in Chemistry: What Can I Do With My Degree After I Graduate?
- Science Buddies: Chemistry Teacher
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Chemists and Material Scientists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Agricultural and Food Scientists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Patent Work: The Other Side of Invention
- University of West Georgia: Chemistry Careers
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