Many people think that a degree in chemistry means that on e will spend the rest of their lives in the laboratory. Nothing could be further from the truth. The skills acquired from a chemistry degree can be utilized in a wide range of roles and industries. Besides a strong numerical/mathematical ability, chemistry graduates also have the following skills:
- Oral and written communication
- Organization and time management
- Team work
- Problem solving and analysis
- Maintaining/monitoring data and records
- IT and technology
- Research and presentation
Here are some of the top career options for someone that has taken a course in chemistry:
Though teaching chemistry in elementary school, high school or university is quite challenging, it can be a very rewarding career. It gives you the opportunity to impact the lives of young people and get them interested in science. The skills learnt in the classroom can be transferred later to another industry.
The food industry offers a wide range of roles which would be suitable for a chemistry graduate. For instance, one could find employment as a Flavor Chemist. This job involves improving or enhancing the taste of different kinds of food products. Though being a food chemist would mean spending some time in the lab, it also requires having good interpersonal skills since you will be engaging with customers.
With the increasing demand for new and specialty drugs, chemists are required to develop, design, regulate, evaluate and analyze pharmaceuticals. They must ensure that each product conforms to government regulations and is safe for public consumption. Toxicology, which involves identifying damaging toxins and chemical risks in substances, is another popular career in chemistry.
The most common career in the healthcare industry is clinical biochemistry. This role involves examining urine, blood and other bodily fluids with the aim of helping in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. A healthcare career in chemistry will mean working closely with teams consisting of clinicians, pathologists and biologists.
5. Chemical engineering
Chemical engineers can work in a wide range of industries including food and drink, energy, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, water treatment, toiletries and plastics. This role involves tasks such as:
- Ensuring the safety of chemical processes
- Changing the chemical composition of products to meet economic and environmental needs
- Scaling up chemical processes in manufacturing
- Applying cutting edge technologies in order to enhance existing processes
Chemistry-related research could be carried out in a wide range of environments. You could be a researcher in a pharmaceutical company, tasked with trialing or creating new drugs. Alternatively, you could be based in a university or college, combining teaching with research. You could also be based in a public research center, ensuring that new innovations are incorporated into national healthcare practices.
7. Public sector
Many governments are now funding careers in chemistry in sectors such as public health, defense, law, environment and policy. There are especially an increasing number of career opportunities in the area of forensic science. Besides collecting evidence and presenting their findings in court, forensic experts could also be tasked with analyzing existing policies and keeping them up to date.