How to Become a Chemical Analyst

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If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a chemical analyst:


Those who become chemical analysts are typically individuals who are detail-oriented, have a high degree of mental focus and discipline, and they have a natural aptitude in chemistry and statistics. They are individuals that have a keen interest in the art and science of determining what matter is and how much of it exists.


As the amount of knowledge necessary to be successful in this profession is quite significant, those who wish to become chemical analysts require a high level of dedication to their studies.


Many of those who become chemical analysts are drawn to this career because it allows them to perform a diverse range of tasks and use a variety of skills when performing these tasks, such as computer skills and laboratory skills.


Many chemical analysts draw satisfaction from working in very visible roles within an organization; the results of their work can prevent costly problems.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a chemical analyst. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Educational Requirements

The education to become a chemical analyst depends on your career goals; typically, the higher the level of education you achieve, the more career options that become available to you.


Regardless of the level of education you wish to achieve, developing a solid background in chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and statistics is great way to develop the knowledge necessary for careers in analytical chemistry. Earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, organic chemistry or biochemistry is typically the minimum requirement to get an entry-level job in analytical chemistry, such as Research Assistant.


If you want to complete your own research projects, directs others in applied research, you will likely need a master’s degree in chemistry or a closely related field such as biochemistry or organic chemistry. A master’s degree or higher may also allow you to qualify for positions in management or administration.


Some employers may require you to have a Ph.D. in a specialized area of chemistry, or years of experience in the field if you have a master’s degree, in order to qualify for chemical analysis jobs.


If you want to become a chemical analyst that works in sales, marketing or consulting, then you will need experience in sales and marketing, as well as basic knowledge of how a business operates. It is beneficial to pursue business coursework in addition to your education in chemistry if you wish to purse a career in chemical analysis consulting, sales, or management. 





Chemical Analyst Job Description

Chemical analysts are responsible for performing qualitative and quantitative analysis for the purpose of investigating the chemical nature of substances in order to identify and understand the substance and how it reacts to different conditions.


Analytical chemists apply their knowledge of chemistry, instrumentation, computers, and statistics to solve problems in almost all areas of chemistry.


For example, their measurements are used to assure the safety and quality of food, pharmaceuticals, and water; to help physicians diagnose disease; to assure compliance with environmental and other regulations; and to provide chemical measurements essential to business.



General Job Duties

• Analyze samples to provide information on compounds, or to determine quantity of compounds present

• Use ion chromatography, electrochromatography, infrared spectroscopy and other analytical techniques

• Interpret data obtained during research

• Develop new techniques for the analysis of drug products and chemicals

• Adhere to strict guidelines pertaining to the documentation of data

• Report scientific results

• Liaise with customers, staff and suppliers

• Maintain constant awareness of health and safety procedures while conducting research and other laboratory activities



Who Hires Analytical Chemists?

Analytical chemists are employed in all aspects of the chemical research in industry, academia, and government. They are employed on a full-time or contractual basis in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical, food, and waste management industries as well as in private consulting labs. Vendors of chemical instrumentation may also hire chemical analysts. They may also work in sales, marketing and law.




Find Chemical Analyst Job Postings

Chemical Analyst Jobs - Canada


Chemical Analyst Jobs - United States




Common Salary Levels

The salary level of chemical analysts can vary based on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work, the specific responsibilities of their job and many others.


Salary - Alberta: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Chemists occupational group earn an average of $79,450 per year.


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of Chemists is $68,320. The lowest 10% of salaries are less than $39,250, and the top 10% are more than $116,130 per year.





Work Experience Requirements

If you’re still in school and you want to become a chemical analyst, you should pursue internships or co-op work experience opportunities, as these are great ways to gain practical work experience and to explore opportunities in the field of chemical analysis.


Work experience could include working in a chemical laboratory, working as a research assistant, or working as a chemical compounder. All of these jobs require working with chemicals, mixing and documenting the results and procedures. These opportunities will not only allow you to gain skills in these areas; they will also help you get your foot in the door with an organization that could hire you upon graduation.


Success Tip: Familiarity with the various roles chemical analysts play in different industries, and knowledge of business and management practices are valuable assets that will help you grow into management, sales, and marketing positions.



Helpful Skills to Have to Make it in This Career

In order to be effective and competent in a career as a chemical analyst, you need to posses certain skills, including:


• Knowledge of chemometrics and data processing

• Basic knowledge in organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry

• An understanding of quality control and quality assurance concepts and practices

• An understanding of the chemistry of biomolecules

• Familiarity with different kinds of instrumentation

• Able to effectively operate specialized computer software

• Able to effectively communicate results to other team members and project managers

• Experience in specific types of analysis, such as the analysis of samples unique to pharmaceuticals, food, environmental samples, polymers, or minerals



Chemical Analyst Jobs

Our job board below has "Chemical Analyst" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Chemical Analyst, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.



Clinical Data Analyst

DNA Analyst

Forensic Chemist

Materials Scientist 



Resources for This Career Guide

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a chemical analyst.


Alberta Learning and Information Service website:

Prospects website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:



Relevant Scholarships

Scholarships listed for majors that are relevant for this profession can be found on our Chemistry Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Chemical Analyst: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a chemical analyst. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!



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