Chemists, or materials scientists, handle and analyze various substances as well as their structures and compositions. They utilize the knowledge they gain to create new products or to improve products and materials that already exist. The job outlook for a chemist is fairly good; the industry is growing slower than average but there is not a lot of competition for the positions because of the difficult training and subject matter involved in the career.

What the Future Looks Like for Chemists

Chemist jobs are expected to grow by 4,000 through the year 2020. This will make the total number of US jobs for chemists climb to 94,900. Most states require new chemists to have at least a Bachelor’s degree before entering the field, although those with a Master’s or Doctorate degree will have more opportunities available to them. Many employers look for those higher degrees when considering applicants for a position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that states with the highest employment for chemists include California with 11,540, New Jersey with 5,770 and Pennsylvania with 5,110.

Future Growth for Chemists

The BLS projects the rate of growth for chemists to be 4% through the year 2020, which is significantly lower than the average rate of growth. Research shows that in May of 2011, nearly 2.8% of chemists were employed with scientific research and development services. Approximately 5.46% of chemists were employed in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, while other large groups of chemists were employed with architectural and engineer related services, federal executive branch jobs, and colleges and universities.

Why the Industry is Growing

Employment for chemists grows as the need for new items increases. This could include anything from new prescription medications to new synthetic fibers, cosmetics, electronic components, lubricants and literally thousands of other items. With the increase in population and the ever-increasing need for new materials, chemist jobs will grow. Chemists may become part of a research and development team dedicated to discovering a new cheaper, lighter weight synthetic material or a new drug that can help individuals manage chronic health conditions or issues.

Better Opportunities for Chemists

Carpenters who have a Bachelor’s degree are able to move into the profession at entry level. However, those who go on to obtain a Master’s or Doctorate degree will be more valuable to companies and organizations. Furthermore, those who specialize in a specific industry such as medicine, computer sciences or atmospheric studies will be more sought after by employers in their niche. Individuals can obtain certification from the American Institute of Chemists and the National Certification Commission in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Each of these organizations has several requirements an individual must meet before they are even permitted to sit for the certification examination.
Furthermore, chemists who have studied communications, marketing and economics are becoming increasingly more valuable to specific companies. Determining a niche to go into within the industry before starting with formal education can really help a chemist to prepare for their future career. Internships can be very helpful as well, since they provide future chemists with experience and knowledge.