There were over 90,000 jobs in chemical and material sciences in the United States in 2021. That’s a big industry! Some of those people worked as chemical analysts, a very compelling job. But, if you’re interested in these jobs, how do you break into the field?
We can help.
Let’s go through how to become a chemical analyst.
Get a Bachelor’s Degree
Chemical analysts typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in specific scientific fields.
You might want to major in chemistry. This degree provides a broad foundation in chemistry. When doing a chemistry degree, you’ll study aspects of organic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, and biochemistry.
Or, you might specialize in biochemistry. This program focuses on the chemistry of biological systems. You’ll take courses in molecular biology, genetics, and metabolism.
Chemical engineering is another option. This program combines chemistry and engineering principles.
Forensic science focuses on the application of science to the investigation of crime. You would study things like forensic chemistry and toxicology.
You could also think about materials science. This is about the study of materials and their properties. The program will include things like solid-state chemistry, polymers, and ceramics.
Pursue a Master’s Degree
Pursuing a master’s degree in related fields can provide advanced training and expertise.
Look for graduate programs in analytical chemistry, forensic chemistry, or related fields. They’ll offer research opportunities that align with your interests and career goals.
Admission requirements for graduate programs vary by institution. They usually include a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field, a minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores.
Submit your application materials to the graduate programs of your choice.
Once accepted into a graduate program, you will take advanced coursework in chemistry and related fields. You may also have the opportunity to conduct research in a laboratory setting.
Some employers may require certification in chemical analysis.
There are several organizations that offer certification in chemical analysis. These include American Chemical Society and the National Registry of Certified Chemists. Research your different options and choose the one that best aligns with your career goals.
Eligibility requirements vary by organization. They usually include a certain amount of education and work experience in the field.
Certification exams cover a range of topics in chemistry and chemical analysis. Study materials and practice exams may be available from the organization.
Schedule and take the certification exam at a testing center. Some organizations may offer online exams.
Most certifications require ongoing education and/or continuing education credits to maintain certification. Be sure to stay up-to-date on the requirements and complete any necessary coursework or training.
Build Chemical Analysis Skills and Knowledge
Chemical analysts must have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. You’ll also need a solid understanding of laboratory techniques and instrumentation. So, you’ll want to start building up your resume as soon as possible
Many chemical analysts gain experience through internships or research assistantships while in college.
Universities offer internships or co-op programs that allow students to gain lab experience. You can also seek out internships at research institutions or companies in the industry.
Look for undergraduate research assistantships. Many professors hire undergraduate students to work in their research laboratories. This can be a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience with laboratory techniques and instrumentation.
Volunteering in a laboratory can be a way to gain experience if you are unable to find an internship or research assistantship. You can contact local research institutions or universities to inquire about volunteer opportunities.
Some chemical companies or research institutions may offer part-time laboratory positions to students.
Schools usually have chemistry or science clubs. These may offer opportunities for students to gain laboratory experience.
Reading scientific journals can help you stay up-to-date with the latest developments in chemistry. Joining professional organizations can also provide access to relevant publications and resources. They can also provide access to relevant publications and resources.
Chemical analysis often requires the ability to analyze data and draw conclusions. You may need to make decisions based on limited information. Developing critical thinking skills can help you excel in this area.
Attending conferences and workshops can provide opportunities to network with other professionals. You’ll also learn about new technologies and techniques in chemical analysis.
Make sure you have the right equipment for your lab, too. Check out these products.
Gain Chemical Analysis Experience
Many chemical analysts gain experience working in laboratories or in the chemical industry.
Seek out internships at research institutions or companies in the chemical industry. This can provide you with hands-on experience in chemical analysis. You’ll also build professional connections that could help you in the future.
Consider working as a research assistant for a chemistry professor or research scientist. This can provide you with experience conducting experiments and analyzing data.
Some chemical companies or research institutions may offer part-time laboratory positions to students or recent graduates.
Volunteering in a laboratory can be a way to gain experience if you are unable to find an internship or part-time job. You can contact local research institutions or universities to inquire about volunteer opportunities.
Joining professional organizations can provide resources that can help you gain experience.
Network with Professionals
Networking with professionals in the field can help you learn more about job opportunities. It’ll also allow you to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in chemical analysis.
LinkedIn is a great platform for networking with professionals in the chemical analysis field. You can search for and connect with professionals in your field. Try joining relevant groups and participating in discussions.
Ask your professors to connect you with people you’re interested in. You can also look into different networking resources your school might offer, like alumni events.
Become a Chemical Analyst Today
Overall, becoming a chemical analyst requires a strong education and plenty of experience. But, with a little hard work, you’ll be on your way in no time.
Are you looking for more career advice? We’ve got plenty of other posts to help you out.