FAQ: What Can I Do With a Chemistry Degree?

Chemistry involves the study of all things chemical – chemical processes, chemical compositions and chemical manipulation – in order to better understand the way in which materials are structured, how they change and how they react in certain situations. Having gained chemical understanding at molecular level, chemistry graduates may choose to apply this knowledge in almost unlimited ways, as it can be used to analyze all matter and therefore our entire environment.

Chemistry Careers | What You Can Do With Your Chem Degree

What types of chemistry degrees are there?

There are several jobs you can get with chemistry in the different areas in chemistry:

Analytical chemistry

This is the branch of chemistry that collects, observes and processes data about matter. Working directly with matter, they determine what structures might need to function and how distinct elements might interact. Jobs in analytical chemistry include lab researcher, product developer and marketing specialist.


This branch handles chemistry within living organisms. Careers in biochemistry are typically laboratory-based positions that require additional scientific knowledge in biology. Biochemists typically examine the molecules that make up living organisms. Jobs in biochemistry include biochemist, forensic technician, forensic scientist and biologist.

Inorganic chemistry

This is the branch of chemistry that handles inorganic materials. This could include metals and minerals. Inorganic chemists observe how certain materials manipulate, combine or separate based on natural and unnatural factors. Jobs might include plastic scientists, agricultural chemists and quality control chemists.

Organic chemistry

This branch of chemistry handles compound structures like carbon compounds and salt. Chemists in this field combine and separate natural elements like nitrogen and sulfur and observe reactions. Organic chemists might also observe and document the natural compounds that organisms produce. Jobs in organic chemistry include food scientist and pharmacologist.

Physical chemistry

Physical chemistry examines the range of chemical systems at the atomic level. Professionals in this field are highly practical, evaluate materials and develop testing methods. Physical chemistry can combine some other areas of chemistry. Careers in physical chemistry include industrial and laboratory management, textile researcher and materials scientist.

Theoretical chemistry

Theoretical chemistry combines principles, theories and processes from each area of chemistry to document and communicate generalizations. For example, they may take some of the laboratory results from organic chemistry and physical chemistry to develop hypotheses about their relations. Jobs in theoretical chemistry include computational scientist, senior researcher or professor of chemistry.

What is a chemistry degree?

A chemistry degree is an educational credential that students receive for studying chemistry at an undergraduate or graduate level. A chemistry degree includes both the classes and the laboratory work a student completes while studying in university. Here are some courses this might include:

How can you begin your career after earning a chemistry degree?

Follow these steps when earning a chemistry degree and pursuing a career in the field:

1. Choose an education and career specialization

Associate or bachelor degree programs may only offer general chemistry as an option, but if you pursue a master degree you can select a specialization. These can help you complete advanced coursework and labs depending on what career you consider.

2. Earn a certification

Though some programs may offer automatic certification if they have ACS accreditation, students in other programs can pursue other forms of certification. These certifications might require some credits in inorganic chemistry, biochemistry and undergraduate research. Many graduate programs have certifications as parts of their requirements for enrollment.

There are other certifications you can pursue depending on your specialization:

3. Complete an internship

While earning your undergraduate degree, ask professors and advisors if there are any internships where you can learn practical skills. After two years of a bachelors program or earning an associate degree, you might qualify to work in certain positions like conservation technician or laboratory assistant. Try to build a social network so you can see whats available. Consider pursuing these opportunities in the summer so you can focus on your coursework and labs during the fall and spring semesters.

4. Get an entry-level position

After networking through internships and training, ask if there are any opportunities after you graduate. They may arrange an entry-level job for you or provide you with external connections. Otherwise, explore job sites to see if there are companies nearby hiring chemists. Some entry-level job positions may include:

Be sure to check the education and work requirements on the job listing to ensure you match the qualifications.

5. Pursue advanced degrees

Graduate degrees can help you further specialize in a certain area and can provide you with additional networking opportunities through labs and clinical. Many doctoral programs offer postdoctoral work, such as research or teaching opportunities. If youre working while pursuing advanced degrees, this can help you get promoted to higher positions like a senior researcher or senior chemist.


What jobs can you do with chemistry degree?

What jobs can you get with an undergraduate Chemistry degree?
  • analytical, formulation, medicinal or process chemist.
  • chemical or geochemical engineer.
  • biotechnologist.
  • [jobs in] drug discovery and chemical industries.
  • environmental, forensic or materials scientist.
  • food technologist.
  • nanotechnologist.
  • patent attorney.

Is a degree in chemistry worth it?

It builds a strong foundation for advanced studies in a variety of related fields. Because chemists are one of the most highly sought-after scientists, a degree in chemistry gives you an edge even when unemployment is high. Chemistry has existed unofficially as long as humans have been around.

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