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Chemical Science

Position Overview

Professionals within the chemical science industry typically practice and study materials / substances at an atomic or molecular depth to see how they react with other substances. The information and knowledge gathered from their tests and experiments help to create new products. In the agricultural field this has helped to create genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They can give traits to crops which they did not have before to increase yields on less acreage, improve pest and disease resistance, improved nutritional value, and more. This is done by genetically engineering, a method of transferring genes from one organism to another. Prior to GMOs, farmers used to cross breed crops to hope for better results. There are many types of professions within the chemical science field such as analytical chemists, inorganic chemists, medicinal chemists, organic chemists, physical chemists, theoretical chemists, biochemical scientists, chemical scientists, and chemical technicians to name a few.

Chemical Science Duties

Duties vary from industry to industry as they work with different substances and materials, however some general duties are listed below:

  • Do extensive research on specific materials, substances, elements, compositions, compounds, reagents, etc.
  • Create reports on their findings, outcomes, and trial / testing procedures
  • Carry out advanced projects, such as creating new products and testing and development
  • Inspect, test, and analyse physical properties of materials, substances and elements at a molecular level
  • Direct technicians and scientists on appropriate methods of chemical analysis and processing such as testing, mixing and operating temperatures
  • Prep substances, compounds, reagents required for use in labs
  • Examining substances to determine the break-down of elements used
  • Presenting findings / discoveries to other scientists, engineers, boards / panels and colleagues
  • Thoroughly examine new products to ensure regulations, safety, and quality standards are obtained

Typical Employers

  • Laboratories (testing, research and development, engineering, etc.)
  • Food and beverage manufacturers
  • Agricultural feed manufacturers
  • Pharmaceutical / medical manufacturing companies
  • Colleges / universities
  • Chemical manufacturing plants / companies

Required Education and Training

To work in the chemical science field, at minimum a degree in chemistry is required. Other related chemistry degrees such as analytical chemistry, applied chemistry, and biochemistry. It is necessary to get a 2:1 grade or higher as it is a very competitive industry. Obtaining an MSc or PhD in a related field can help to stand out when looking for a career in a specific sector. Typically, someone with a PhD is usually posted in a senior position (depends on experience).

Key Skills and Qualities

  • Great analytical skills
  • Ability to present to colleagues and average people without the technical understanding
  • Innovative mindset
  • Extensive problem solving skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Patience
  • Effective team working skills
  • Time management and organisational skills
  • Good laboratory practice (GLP) skills
  • Ability to maintain self-confidence and high motivation

Average Salary

Salaries vary by position and experience in this field of work, some average salaries are listed below. However, these salaries may vary by company and industry.

  • Average entry level salaries can range from £17,000 - £25,000 - This number can be higher for those who hold a PhD
  • Individuals with experience can see an average salary between £25,000 - £38,000
  • Senior level chemists can receive an average salary of £50,000+