Chemist Salary In The US: How Much Does A Chemist Earn?

chemist salary

Most people who want to take a science-related degree are curious about how much does the job really pay. Usually, when you take a degree in science, particularly in chemistry, you are considered to be one of the smartest students in the university. And if you are like other people, you would think that being one of  the smartest students would open opportunities for you to make lots of money. Is this true? How much is the actual chemist salary?

Before we talk about the salary of a chemist, it is important to know what these specialized scientists do?

chemist salary

Chemist Job Description

The work of a chemist depends on his or her specialization, but generally, a chemist conducts analyses and experiments in laboratories to investigate different compounds. A chemist also uses his or her knowledge in the field to test the quality of products and develop new findings. An experienced chemist supervises other laboratory staff and technicians and monitors their operations to ensure that work is properly done. They also collaborate with other scientists and professionals to interpret results and improve their research.

Chemists specialize in many areas, such as organic, inorganic, analytical, biological, medicines, cosmetics, and macromolecular. With their scientific knowledge and background, chemists are regarded as highly important individuals in the world of science. Mostly, they are hired by the federal government, manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical industries, and scientific research and development services. And depending on their job description, they can work in laboratories, research environment, universities, and field.

Educational Requirements

Just like other professions, you must complete a certain course to become a chemist. The minimum educational requirement to get a job as a chemist is a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry. This course usually takes 4 years of full-time study. However, only entry-level positions and limited opportunities are available for those with a bachelor’s degree.

If you want to obtain a good position and qualify for higher chemist salary, you need to take advanced courses, such as master’s and doctorate degrees. Usually, chemists are promoted based on their educational background, years of practice, and experience in the field. A master’s degree usually takes 1-2 years, while a doctorate degree takes 4-6 years. You can also choose to study a degree related in the chemistry field, such as engineering, biology, and physics, to have a specific expertise.

Salaries and Employers

According to the American Chemical Society’s 2012 salary survey, chemists with a bachelor’s degree earned an annual wage average of $74,000, while those with a master’s degree earned $85,000. On the other hand, chemists with a doctorate degree earned a median annual salary of $101,000. In the survey, chemists working in the industries made the highest payment of $76,000 for bachelor’s, $93,000 for master’s, and $121,000 for Ph.D.s. This is followed by those in the government at $74,000 for bachelor’s, $84,000 for master’s, and $112,000 for Ph.D.s.

For a detailed list, please see below:

chemist salary

Career Prospects

Although chemists continue to struggle despite the fact that the Great Recession has ended, there is still good news. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics projected that the job employment for chemists can grow up to 6% in 2022. That may seem a lower percentage growth than with other professions, but it somewhat shows a brighter picture for those who are in the chemical field.

Furthermore, the BLS says that those who have an advanced training, particularly those with doctorate degrees, can expect better opportunities.

Companies, industries, and even universities are heavily in need of competent worker who have a deep background in science to make the world better. If you have a passion in science, especially in chemistry, pursuing this profession can be the right career option for you. Other than working in laboratories and chemical field, you can also become a science writer, a chemistry teacher, or a researcher if you want.

However, keep in mind that the chemist salary depends on your education level, experience, and training. As what was mentioned above, those who have higher education and experience are qualified for high-paying opportunities. So if you want to get ahead and receive a much higher income, consider taking advanced courses.

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