Alternative Careers for Chemistry Majors

There are a variety of professions for chemistry majors that differ from traditional chemistry-related career paths. We will look at these options in greater detail, discuss educational requirements, and job responsibilities.

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Alternative Careers for Chemistry Majors

While typical career choices for chemistry majors may have a laboratory, research, or medical focus, there are a number of alternative careers that chemistry majors may be interested in considering. Below, we will look at five different careers that chemistry majors would be qualified for and explore which types of responsibilities and duties are associated with each option.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives $60,530 6%
Agricultural and Food Scientists $62,920 7%
Natural Sciences Managers $119,850 10%
High School Teachers $58,030 8%
Technical Writers $69,850 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives

Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives work on the behalf of various wholesalers and manufacturing companies by selling their products and services to businesses and other types of organizations. Some of these products are technical or scientific in nature, requiring a sales representative that has a background in a scientific discipline like chemistry. Sales representatives must be able to maintain relationships with clients, find new customers, explain the products they are selling in detail, and keep track of orders. This job generally requires a bachelor's degree, so chemistry majors would qualify.

Agricultural and Food Scientists

As an agricultural and food scientist, you will be involved in researching various types of agricultural products, like food products, as well as agricultural places, like farms and land areas. Some of your duties could include testing soil samples to determine if the soil is suitable for producing high crop yields, developing new ways of preserving and packaging food, and working with farm animals to make sure they are being cared for properly and are healthy. While many of these professionals may have pursued an agricultural studies degree, chemistry degrees also would likely qualify individuals for a number of positions in this field.

Natural Sciences Managers

A natural sciences manager is typically in charge of managing other scientific professionals, like chemists and biologists, as they conduct research and work on projects. They may be responsible for making sure a laboratory is run efficiently and is fully stocked or they may more focused on various administrative tasks, like staffing, hiring, and budgeting, or some may be responsible for a combination of tasks. Most of these professionals have significant work experience as scientists and typically have at least a bachelor's degree in a scientific field, like chemistry.

High School Teachers

With a chemistry major, you could also pursue a career as a high school chemistry teacher. This job would involve teaching courses to high school students that are focused on chemistry, assigning homework and projects, administering examinations, and assessing student performance by assigning them grades. To work as a chemistry teacher, you would typically need to complete a chemistry degree along with various education specific requirements and then seek a teaching license by the state in which you plan on working.

Technical Writers

Another option for chemistry majors is a job as a technical writer, which generally involves writing various types of technical documents, like instruction guides, journals, and how-to manuals. These writers usually work with complex information and then try to write about it in a simple and clear way that consumers can understand with no prior background knowledge. Some of these writers may write specifically about scientific-related topics, in which case having a background in chemistry could be helpful. In general, technical writers need a bachelor's degree to find work in this field.

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