Chemistry, just like other natural sciences, is the backbone of how the world is shaping up at present. Chemical compositions, processes, and manipulations are the keystones of understanding the structure of materials (right from the nano-levels to the macro-levels), the way they react in certain situations, and the way they change. This knowledge opens up a wide range of career opportunities for you in a number of industries.
Some of the chemistry majors who went on to become the best-known celebrities of the world include Marie Curie, the first female scientist to win the Nobel Prize; Alfred Nobel who invented dynamite and after whom the Nobel Prize is named; Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico; Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany; Margaret Thatcher, the ex-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Kurt Vonnegut, author of the famous novel called Cat’s Cradle which was a fiction about a man who invented the atomic bomb; and even Pope Francis!
With a Chemistry degree, you have hundreds of career paths open for you where you can show off your skills as a researcher and an innovator and yes, make money too:
Research and Labs
Chemistry graduates are always in demand in a wide range of research sectors, such as healthcare, chemical engineering, and chemical-related industries, pharmaceutical companies, universities, public-sector research centers etc.
Lab jobs include the discovery of new medicines and vaccines and the drug trials they go through, solving various environmental issues, forensic analysis for criminal cases, development of new materials and products in various industries such as food and beverage industry, plastics, paints, textiles, nanotech materials, and cosmetics.
Chemical Engineers and Chemistry graduates are in high demand in the below areas since they directly work with chemical materials, products, and processes
- Oil and gas sector
- Energy sector
- Water and sewage treatment plants
- Industries related to food and drink
Advanced sciences such as biomedical engineering and nanotechnology are some of the hot areas where chemistry majors are in demand.
Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industries
Medical diagnoses and investigations require blood and other tests which call for clinical expertise in that area. These clinicians often liaise with experts to make sure that test results obtained are accurate. They also have to ensure that these results are kept in an organized manner. If you like the healthcare industry, you may go on to specialize as a clinician, pathologist, chemist, or biochemist.
The pharmaceutical sector is a large employment market for Chemistry grads. Here they might work on developing new cost-effective drugs and use their analytical skills to test and evaluate them in accordance with government regulations.
Toxicology is another emerging field in this area where specialists work on identifying toxins in different materials. These materials may not be fit for public consumption and pose health risks for the users or their environment.
Chemists work in several state agencies such as Law, Defense, Public Health, Policy, and Environment. Forensic experts not only collect evidence but are also called upon to discuss the findings in courts.
Chemical experts also offer specialized consultancy to lawyers as well as the policymakers. For example, how to update a policy for the environment or agriculture or chemical diagnostics or oil exploration etc. on the basis of latest scientific developments.
Besides the research related jobs, a lot of chemistry graduates use their scientific and analytical skills to shine in ‘other’ fields such as:
- Business Development
- Data & Analytics
- Energy, Conservation & Environment
- Fintech & finance
- Marketing & PR
- Media & Advertising
- Tech & IT
- Writing (including writing science fiction and working in newspapers or science journals)
Also, read A Career in Chemical Engineering.
Share your opinions on career prospects as a Chemistry Major with us in the Comments section below.