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Readers Respond: Working as a Chemist

Responses: 134


Are you a chemist? What would you tell someone interested in becoming a chemist about your job? Please share information about your career so that someone thinking about becoming a chemist can make an informed decision.
  1. What type of chemist are you?
  2. What do you do as a chemist?
  3. What is the best/worst part of your job?
  4. What training did you need? Was it easy/difficult to find a job as a chemist?
  5. Are you happy being a chemist? Why?
  6. What advice would you give someone interested in chemist?
How Do You Like It?


It's all amazing. Got to think about my next crucial step.
—Guest Ehimen

lab chemist

water and chemical testing lab jobs i am over all 5.5 years experience in this field
—Guest kalaiselvi.c

lab chemist

im palanivel working as a lab chemist for testing of water samples from all over india, around 4 years of exp and graduate in chemistry
—Guest palanivel

Graduate in 2004

I love chemistry...Its really fun and challenging...but only in terms of theories...working in lab sucks!!!long hours sometimes until midnight depends on experiment...underpaid...but thats not the main concern...i realize my health deteriorate significantly...labwork make me dizzy...
—Guest K


Hi everyone Hope you are well.My name is Ellie ,I came from overseas to Usa around 1 year age and my background is in chemistry and I'm looking for a job and I'm interested to get a job in branch of cleaning product or home care , shampoo, liquid dish soap and somting like that but I'm not sure ,is it nessesary to have a California License or my pure chemistry license from over seas it will be enough for get these jobs, I appriciate it ,if you can help me Thank you so much . ...
—Guest ellie

No jobs

As a synthetic organic chemist with a PhD, 4 patents and a bunch of papers, 15 years of research, I am now a self-employed cleaner in Melbourne, Australia. If I had completed pharmacy, instead of doing my PhD, and waisting my time in medicinal chemistry I would be having a job now with at least some chemistry.
—Guest Ada

Just got laid off, again!

I got a job working in a chemistry lab, entry level Research Associate, early this year. Just got a pink slip and was told my last day is May 28th. I graduated in 2008 and I have gone through a series of odd jobs, low paying gigs, just to get by. Chemistry is the worst Degree you can get, so much time and effort spent in class for nothing. If I knew I was gonna be jobless pursuing science, I would have taken a lighter route and studied Business instead. All these undergraduate students running around blogging about the "marvelous potential" of chemistry career, parroting corporate propaganda is very annoying. I hope younger chemists can learn from older chemists' mistakes and take a different approach to choosing careers.
—Guest Jobless Chemist

If you haven't finished, you don't know.

Anyone who is still an undergrad is not qualified to speak on the state of the industry. You don't know what it's like, so stop acting like you do. We all liked chemistry in our undergrad years, but the reality of chemistry very different. You all think it's "fun" and "challenging" when your experiments aren't working because you're "learning". If someone is paying for your research and you're under pressure to perform, it's not "fun" to fail. You spend most of your time writing grants, reading papers and getting walked over. When you're not doing that, you're dealing with idealistic students telling you "Chemistry is for smart intelligent people- there are no limits to what you can do! Education, skill, and ambition- Use it.". You don't know, so shut up. I can't wait until you get into the real world and are back head posting the same stuff as everyone else.
—Guest Be quiet students

Medicinal chemist (Torrey Pines)

A San Diego biotech start up is looking for a hands-on medicinal chemist to synthesize small molecule heterocyclic drug candidates. The successful candidate will have had several years or more of experience in the lab, preferably in industry, and be able to search literature to create synthetic plans and extract relevant schemes and procedures. In addition, the successful candidate will need to know how to run samples and interpret NMR and LC-MS data. The company does not currently have funding, although we have applied for several grants and expect responses in the near future. Until the company is financed, salary will be paid in the form of company stock. This is an excellent opportunity to get into a very promising start-up at the ground level. If interested, please send me a copy of your resume, and any questions you have about the company. http://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/sci/3004434045.html
—Guest WorkIsWork

chemistry is leaving the states

I graduated with a BS in chemistry with a 3.89 gpa in 2010. I struggled to find a job. Everyone said I didn't have enough experience. I only had one interview and I got lucky they offered it to me as I was leaving the interview. I made 51K last year. My company just bought a lab overseas in India. They are opening a lab that does the exact samething that we do but the cost will be a 1/3 of ours. I applied to a MBA program in the fall. Even though I love science and chemistry I just don't think there is a future in the USA for it.
—Guest wvchemist

Its not a place for a career

I am a recent graduate with an undergraduate degree in chemistry. Unlike most i was fortunate that during my summers I worked in a commercial analytical laboratory. It was miserable, no one seemed to enjoy themselves and many were looking for other avenues of employment. I personally struggled with it myself. It had approximately 20 employees 10 of whom I'm still great friends with of those ten five remained and five returned to school for something unrelated or medical professions. I myself saw the job prospects early and bawked, after discussing with my family I decided to go back and do my MBA I start in about a month and a half and my job prospects look infinitesimally larger, I've already had a family friend offer me a well paid position upon graduation. To all those suggesting its easy to find a job it's not. Chemistry Is merely a stepping stone and Id never advocate doing a Chemistry degree and stopping there many of my friends who are also graduating are following my route.
—Guest Donewithchem

Still can't find a job

I am a fairly recent graduate (2010) with a BSc in Chemistry. I cannot get a job in Chemistry to save my life, despite having been trying continually for the last two years. I do have a job as a Radiological Controls Technician at a Naval shipyard, which pays decently and is a stable job, but I would much rather be working as a chemist. I love science and don't care about money, and chemistry is a great field. It breaks my heart to read all these posts from people working as lab techs whining about low pay and poor job security- I would do anything to be in their shoes! Anyways, I guess what I am trying to say advice-wise is this: don't go into chemistry if you're out to make money, because there isn't any to be made.
—Guest Aspiring Chemist


why all the negativity from what i understand its a hard job with a good salary
—Guest no name


if chemistry don't work out for you dont come here to complain. just be smart and keep trying dont give up and if you do... but chemistry is not dead try working for another company.
—Guest Stop complaining

Working as a Research Chemist

I finished a PhD recently, and am now in a post-doctoral position. Furthermore, I am in Australia, and I notice that in this place we tend to get paid substantially more as Postdocs than in many other countries, such as the US. I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole research process, and the process of putting together journal articles for publication. I can understand that for those in industrial settings, the job market can be particularly volatile. The situation in academia is of course not much better if you are not able to come up with novel research and dedicate the time necessary to put out high-impact articles. However, personally, I enjoy the intellectual stimulation and I will try to do as much as I can for as long as I can.
—Guest OxathiazoleChemist

How Do You Like It?

Working as a Chemist

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