Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
13d ago

Pay for chemists depends on their qualifications, experience and specialisation :

  • Chemists with Bachelor's degrees working at an assistant chemist level usually earn around $40,000 to $55,000 a year.
  • Those with Master's degrees usually earn around $55,000 to $75,000 a year.
  • Chemists who have PhDs usually earn $70,000 to $110,000 a year.
  • With more responsibility and / or management experience, pay could rise to about $140,000 a year or more. At this level an additional qualification, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), is desirable.
  • Chemists working for universities may earn more than this.

    Source : Callaghan Innovation, 2016.

    This information is a guide only. )

    What you will do

    Chemists may do some or all of the following :

  • develop methods and equipment to study chemical compounds
  • test chemical samples to determine their make-up and properties
  • think of ways to make new chemical compounds
  • work with industries to develop chemical processes
  • carry out experiments and write up the results
  • publish articles in scientific journals
  • teach and supervise students and / or staff.
  • Chemists who work with industries that manufacture chemicals may also do some or all of the following :

  • manage and monitor chemical processes for the manufacture of products
  • carry out environmental monitoring
  • carry out analytical testing to check the quality and safety of products or materials
  • design and carry out experiments in order to develop improved chemical processes.
  • Chemists need to have :

  • knowledge of chemistry and chemical compounds
  • knowledge of how to safely handle, store and produce large quantities of chemicals
  • practical skills for performing experiments and operating scientific equipment.
  • Chemists :

  • may work long but flexible hours. They may work evenings and weekends when doing experiments
  • work in laboratories and offices at research centres, universities and chemical-manufacturing companies. They may also conduct research in the field
  • may come into contact with dangerous chemicals, so need to take safety precautions
  • may travel nationally and internationally to carry out research or attend conferences.
  • Entry requirements

    To become a chemist you usually need to have a Master's degree in chemistry, biochemistry or a related science. However, a PhD and further postdoctoral study is often required.

    Some employers prefer experience with specific analytical instruments and / or techniques. For applied industrial chemist roles, manufacturing experience is an advantage.

    To work in an assistant chemist role, a Bachelor's degree or preferably a Master’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry or a related science is required.

    Many skills, such as planning experiments, are gained on the job and in the final stages of study.

    Secondary education

    A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training.

    Useful subjects include chemistry, physics, maths with calculus and statistics, computer science, biology and English.

    Chemists need to be :

  • accurate and observant, with an eye for detail
  • patient and persistent
  • enquiring and motivated
  • good at problem solving, so they can deal with setbacks in their research
  • able to think creatively about new research methods and new uses for chemicals
  • good written and verbal communicators
  • well organised, with good planning skills.
  • Useful experience

    Useful experience for chemists includes laboratory work as a technician, or other scientific research work.

    Physical requirements

    Chemists should have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) and good hand-eye co-ordination.

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