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Career Opportunities and Work Life

smiling students in chemistry classDepending on your educational goals, career opportunities vary.

Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree in chemistry can lead to entry-level chemist positions. Many of these positions are in quality control and analytical testing in both government and industry. Many with a bachelor's degree in chemistry teach high school science.

Master's degree and Ph.D.
If you are interested in research and development, a master's degree or Ph.D. is required. Research leads to the creation of new products. These advances are found in medicine, agriculture, food processing, energy conservation, plastics, transportation, and more.

Technology goes hand-in-hand with chemistry. Technology is a dominate component in the advancements in lab equipment and analytical software. From data needing to be filed in an electronic system or computerized lab results needing to be examined, computers are involved in the process.

If you are interested in teaching at the collegiate level, that requires a master's degree for community colleges and a Ph.D at the university level.

Work Environment
Chemists usually work a 40-hour week and spend their time divided between the laboratory and an office. Office time is spent is designed planning, recording, and preparing lab reports.

Labs vary in size, based on the type of research and funding. Depending on the experiment, chemists can conduct testing and sampling indoors and outdoors. While there is some risk when handling chemicals, if proper safety procedures are followed, the risk is greatly reduced.

Employment Outlook
According to the American Chemistry Council, 25,325 jobs are directly created by the chemical industry in Michigan, and nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. are directly employed in the chemistry industry.

Nationally, new job opportunities for chemists are expected to grow by 4 percent by 2020. Within Michigan, jobs are expected to increase by 4 percent by 2018.

Most of the job growth will occur in pharmaceutical firms. As medical advancement continues, jobs in this area should continue to see steady growth.

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