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Analytical Chemist

Position Overview

An analytical chemist analyzes the structure of substances, which is relevant in industries dealing with toxicology, drugs, forensics, and quality control. They look at samples using various chromatographic techniques and spectroscopy. These techniques are useful for looking at the different ions, molecules, and matter that make up the substance. As such, this job requires technical skills and a background in science, especially biochemistry or chemistry. Analytical chemists spend a large portion of their time in the lab, analyzing and testing different products for either quality or stability, or to identify the substance and see how it performs in various conditions. For example, working for an agrochemical company, one might try and determine a new formulation of chemicals for product development to better treat crop-related problems. The head of analytical chemistry would ensure the product is valid and effective. They would oversee a team of analytical chemists and the processes completed in the lab. Analytical chemists typically work regular hours and need to be willing to work in a team environment.

Analytical Chemist Duties

  • Analyze different types of samples to understand the compounds present
  • Use chromatographic techniques
  • Record and analyze data, following firm guidelines
  • Report on, and present results
  • Improve techniques for analyzing different substances and products
  • Work with fellow employees, customers, or suppliers
  • Understand and follow all health and safety protocols

Typical Employers

  • Agrochemical companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Biotechnology research companies
  • Laboratories
  • Universities
  • Colleges
  • Hospitals
  • Government
  • Consulting companies
  • Testing firms
  • Environmental companies
  • Food and beverage companies
  • Research and development
  • Chemical manufactures

Required Education and Training

To become an analytical chemist, a degree in science is required. Candidates should have high grades; degrees that are preferred are biochemistry, chemistry, forensic science, applied chemistry, or environmental science. This field is extremely competitive, so it is important to have relatable experience if possible. Candidates can also get an analytical chemistry postgraduate qualification if they wish to be placed in a management position.

Key Skills and Qualities

  • Logical thinking
  • Team and independent work abilities
  • Motivated by complex problems
  • Excellent problem solver
  • Good IT skills
  • Analytical abilities
  • Responsible
  • Attention to detail
  • Good presenting skills

Average Salary

  • An entry level analytical chemist will make approximately £21,000
  • Analytical chemists who have a PhD or have attained a more senior position will make around £32,000
  • The head of analytical chemistry, or other managers within the department can make £50,000 or more