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.
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.
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.
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 for chemists includes laboratory work as a technician, or other scientific research work.
Chemists should have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) and good hand-eye co-ordination.