What Can You Do With a PhD in Chemistry?

Sep 22, 2018

Individuals who have gained a PhD in chemistry have done a large amount of independent research and laboratory study, but have in turn gained access to higher paying jobs like environmental scientists and specialists and natural science managers.

Recent graduates with a PhD in chemistry will have spent a large amount of time doing research in a laboratory and as a result will have a great understanding of how scientific tools and instruments are used, giving them the skills necessary to secure a career within the field of chemistry. We will take a look at a few of these career choices, along with their job growth and median salary statistics.

PhD in Chemistry Careers/Salary

Thanks to extensive independent study, those who have gained a PhD in chemistry will have the knowledge necessary to engage in their own research within the area of chemistry. On their way to earning a degree in chemistry, students will have taken classes in advanced organic chemistry, mathematics, thermodynamics, and chemical bonding, helping them to develop their own chemical compounds that can then be used in areas like agricultural production and medicine. Not only will graduates learn how to educate others in the area of chemistry, but they will have also had enough hands-on experience within a laboratory setting to make them ideal candidates for scientific research jobs. Below you will find a few careers that are available to those with such degrees, along with their job growth a median salary information.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Postsecondary Chemistry Teachers $77,190 10%
Environment Scientists and Specialists $69,400 11%
Chemical Engineers $102,160 8%
Natural Sciences Managers $118,970 10%
Chemists and Materials Scientists $76,280 7%

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

PhD in Chemistry Careers

Postsecondary Chemistry Teachers

Postsecondary chemistry teachers continue to do research into the field of chemistry to ensure that they are up to date on the latest findings and adjust their course material accordingly. They continue to do independent research for the universities they work for and attend regular meetings on various topics within the field of chemistry. Often times, these same individuals will share their research findings with the public through academic journals. Thanks to extensive laboratory training on their way to a degree, these same individuals will be able to effectively train and assist students in their own laboratory research.

Environment Scientists and Specialists

Environment scientists and specialists use their scientific knowledge to aid in the identification of hazards within a given environment and come up with ways in which the impact of such hazards can be reduced or eliminated. They look for ways to protect and preserve the environment by collecting data related to food, soil, water, and air. They meet with government organizations and businesses to inform them about possible health risks and environmental hazards caused by their practices and inform the public about potential issues. Furthermore, these same individuals make certain that federal and state regulations are being followed and constantly update them to ensure that they are effectively protecting the environment.

Chemical Engineers

Chemical engineers spend their time creating and designing, as well as, optimizing systems and machines that are used in biological, environmental, industrial, and chemical processes. These same individuals work directly with the food and drug industry to develop safer and more efficient products for the public. Additionally, they come up with new safety guidelines for handling chemical compounds and develop new lubricants, fuels, and cleaning solutions.

Natural Sciences Managers

Natural sciences managers coordinate scientific research and product development and direct production activities. They collect data and present their findings, as well as inform clients about the status of current projects and request funding when necessary. These same individuals aid in the hiring and training of staff and make sound choices about which technologies and machines will be used in the course of conducting their research. Additionally, these individuals work to ensure that goals are met and expenditures within a project don't exceed the allotted funds.

Chemists and Materials Scientists

Chemists and materials scientists work with both government institutions and businesses to secure funding through grant writing for projects that they may be working on. They oversee all research being conducted and help establish better testing methods and products for their respective employers. Furthermore, these same individuals also create new chemical compounds and formulas and observe the entire process to make certain that quality control standards are met and that researchers have gone through the proper testing procedures.

Obtaining a PhD in chemistry allows recent graduates to open the door to a wide selection of jobs within the field of chemistry and elsewhere. As a result of further education, recent graduates are able to place themselves into management positions and their hands-on experience within the lab makes them ideal candidates for product development and research-oriented jobs.

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