Summary Report for:
19-2031.00 - Chemists
Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
Sample of reported job titles: Air Quality Chemist, Analytical Chemist, Chemical Laboratory Scientist, Chemist, Forensic Chemist, Forensic Scientist, Quality Control Chemist (QC Chemist), Research Chemist, Scientist, Senior Chemist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Analyze organic or inorganic compounds to determine chemical or physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, or reactions, using chromatography, spectroscopy, or spectrophotometry techniques.
- Conduct quality control tests.
- Maintain laboratory instruments to ensure proper working order and troubleshoot malfunctions when needed.
- Prepare test solutions, compounds, or reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct tests.
- Induce changes in composition of substances by introducing heat, light, energy, or chemical catalysts for quantitative or qualitative analysis.
- Evaluate laboratory safety procedures to ensure compliance with standards or to make improvements as needed.
- Compile and analyze test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency or to diagnose malfunctions.
- Write technical papers or reports or prepare standards and specifications for processes, facilities, products, or tests.
- Confer with scientists or engineers to conduct analyses of research projects, interpret test results, or develop nonstandard tests.
- Develop, improve, or customize products, equipment, formulas, processes, or analytical methods.
- Direct, coordinate, or advise personnel in test procedures for analyzing components or physical properties of materials.
- Purchase laboratory supplies, such as chemicals, when supplies are low or near their expiration date.
- Study effects of various methods of processing, preserving, or packaging on composition or properties of foods.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Ageing ovens — Solar simulators
- Analytical balances — Magnetic susceptibility balances
- Atomic absorption AA spectrometers
- Benchtop centrifuges — Chemical centrifuges; High-speed centrifuges; Tabletop centrifuges
- Calorimeters — Differential scanning calorimeters; Oxygen bomb calorimeters
- Chart recorders — Strip chart recorders
- Chemistry analyzers — Carbon hydrogen nitrogen CHN elemental analyzers; Stripping analyzers
- Chilling units or cold water circulators — Refrigerated circulators
- Conductivity meters — Conductance meters
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Dissolved carbon dioxide analyzers — Respirometers
- Dissolved oxygen meters
- Distillation pipings or columns or fittings — Airfree/waterfree solvent purification systems
- Dropping pipettes — Micropipettes; Pipettes
- Electrogravimetry analyzers — Electrochemical analyzers
- Electronic measuring probes — Immersion probes
- Electronic toploading balances — Top-loading electronic balances
- Electrophoresis system accessories — Fraction collectors
- Extracting equipment for laboratories — Microdistillation ovens; Microwave digestion systems
- Flask or retort units — Distilling units
- Floor centrifuges
- Flow injection analysis equipment — Flow injection analyzers
- Fluorescent microscopes — Fluorescence microscopes
- Freeze dryers or lyopholizers — Freeze dryers
- Freezedryers or lyophilzers — Benchtop lyophilizers
- Fume hoods or cupboards — Fume hoods
- Galvanometers — Galvanostats
- Gas burners — Bunsen burners
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatographs GC
- Gel documentation accessories — Digital electrophoresis documentation and analysis systems
- Gel documentation systems — Digital gel analyzer systems
- General purpose refrigerators or refrigerator freezers — Cryogenic refrigerators
- Heating or drying equipment or accessories — Deflagration spoons
- Hematology or chemistry mixers — Automatic peptide synthesizers; Mini synthesizers
- High pressure liquid chromatograph chromatography — High-performance liquid chromatographs; High-pressure liquid chromatography systems
- High vacuum combustion apparatus — Combustion furnaces
- Hot air blowers — Air dryers
- Illuminators for microscopes — Mercury lamp photolysis systems
- Inductively coupled plasma ICP spectrometers — Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometers ICP-MS
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers; Infrared IR spectrometers
- Injectors — Microinjectors
- Instrumentation for capillary electrophoresis — Capillary electrophoresis systems
- Inverted microscopes
- Ion selective electrode ISE meters — Ion analyzers
- Isolation glove boxes — Inert atmosphere glove boxes
- Laboratory balances — Micro electrobalances
- Laboratory beakers — Beakers
- Laboratory blenders or emulsifiers — Hydrogenation apparatus
- Laboratory box furnaces — Box furnace ovens
- Laboratory burets — Burets
- Laboratory chillers — Closed cycle refrigerators
- Laboratory evaporators — Cold trap evaporators
- Laboratory flasks — Erlenmeyer flasks
- Laboratory funnels — Funnels; Thistle tubes
- Laboratory graduated cylinders — Graduated cylinders
- Laboratory heat exchange condensers — Lab heat exchangers
- Laboratory hotplates — Hot plates with magnetic stirrers
- Laboratory mills — Grinder mills
- Laboratory mixers — Plasticorders
- Laboratory presses
- Laboratory vacuum pumps — Reagent pumps
- Laboratory washing machines — Glassware washers
- Laser beam analyzers — Laser power meters
- Laser printers
- Lasers — Diode lasers; Helium-cadmium lasers; Nitrogen lasers; Picosecond lasers (see all 6 examples)
- Liquid chromatographs — Liquid chromatographs LC
- Liquid chromatography fittings — Photochemical reactors
- Liquid scintillation counters
- Magnetic stirrers — Tube magnetic mixers
- Magnetometer geophysical instruments — Magnetometers
- Mainframe computers
- Mass spectrometers — Gas chromatograph mass spectrometers GC-MS
- Melting point recorders — Melting point apparatus
- Microplates — Multiwell microplates
- Monocular microscopes
- Multipurpose or general test tubes — Test tubes
- Multiwell plates — Well tissue culture plates
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Nuclear magnetic resonance NMR spectrometers
- Optical diffraction apparatus — Particle size analyzers
- Orbital shaking water baths — Shaking waterbaths
- Oscilloscopes — Signal average storage scopes
- Personal computers
- Petri plates or dishes — Petri dishes
- pH meters
- Plotter printers — Large-format plotters
- Polarimeters — Polarographic analyzers
- Polarizing microscopes
- Potentiometers — Potentiostats
- Pressure sensors
- Reactors or fermenters or digesters — High-pressure high-temperature reactors
- Refrigerated benchtop centrifuges — Refrigerated high-speed centrifuges
- Rheometers — Oscillating disc rheometers
- Robotic or automated liquid handling systems — Pipetting stations
- Scanning electron microscopes — Scanning electron microscopes SEM
- Scanning probe microscopes — Nanoscopes; Scanning tunneling microscopes STM
- Shaking incubators
- Solvent recyclers
- Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters — Spectrofluorimeters
- Spectrometers — Luminescence spectrometers; Ultraviolet-visible spectrometers
- Spectrophotometers — Microplate spectrophotometers
- Spirit burners — Alcohol lamps
- Stereo or dissecting light microscopes — Stereo zoom microscopes
- Syringe pumps
- Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers — Thermal cyclers
- Tension testers — Tensile testers
- Thermal conductivity analyzers — Conductivity detectors
- Thermo gravimetry analyzers — Thermal gravimetric analyzers
- Tissue culture coated plates or dishes or inserts — Tissue culture plates
- Titration equipment — Autotitrators; Karl Fischer titrators; Titrators
- Tube furnaces — Split-hinge furnaces; Tubular furnaces
- Ultrasonic disintegrators — Sonicators
- Vacuum or centrifugal concentrators — Centrifugal evaporator concentrators; Speed-vac concentrators
- Vacuum or rotary evaporators — Distillation ovens; Rotary evaporators
- Vacuum ovens — Annealing ovens
- Water baths
- X ray diffraction equipment — Single crystal x ray diffractometers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — Agilent ChemStation; Bruker BioSpin TopSpin; Waters Empower Chromatography Data Software; Wavefunction Spartan (see all 35 examples)
- Charting software — Microsoft Office Visio
- Computer aided design CAD software — ChemInnovation Software Chem 4-D; ChemSW Molecular Modeling Pro; Hypercube HyperChem
- Data base user interface and query software — ChemSW Buffer Maker; JDA Arthur KnowledgeBase database; LabTrack Electronic Lab Notebook; Molsearch Pro (see all 10 examples)
- Development environment software — C; Microsoft Visual Basic
- Document management software — ChemSW Laboratory Document Control System LDCS
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Digital imaging software; Graphics software; MolDraw *
- Internet browser software
- Inventory management software — ChemSW Chemical Inventory System CIS; ItemTracker software; UBI Biotracker
- Object or component oriented development software — C++; Sun Microsystems Java
- Office suite software — Apple iWork software; Microsoft Office software; NeoOffice *
- Presentation software — Apple iWork Keynote; Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Apple iWork Numbers; Microsoft Excel
- Web platform development software — Hypertext markup language HTML
- Word processing software — Apple iWork Pages; Microsoft Word
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Analyze chemical compounds or substances.
- Monitor operational procedures in technical environments to ensure conformance to standards.
- Collaborate on research activities with scientists or technical specialists.
- Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.
- Test quality of materials or finished products.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Prepare compounds or solutions for products or testing.
- Research methods to improve food products.
- Establish standards for products, processes, or procedures.
- Develop new or advanced products or production methods.
- Manage scientific or technical project resources.
- Electronic Mail — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 93% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 79% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 48% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Telephone — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 41% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 41% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Time Pressure — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 39% responded “Important results.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 39% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 56% responded “40 hours.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 30% responded “Very important.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 34% responded “High responsibility.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 30% responded “About half the time.”
- Consequence of Error — 32% responded “Fairly serious.”
- Physical Proximity — 45% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 43% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Letters and Memos — 32% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 52% responded “About half the time.”
- Deal With External Customers — 24% responded “Fairly important.”
- Spend Time Standing — 55% responded “About half the time.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: IRC
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$35.33 hourly, $73,480 annual|
|Employment (2012)||88,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Slower than average (3% to 7%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||27,800|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Chemists and Materials Scientists . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
- American Chemical Society (ACS) , Education Division, Career Publications, 1155 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: (800) 227-5558. Fax: (202) 872-4615.
- Materials Research Society (MRS) , 506 Keystone Dr., Warrendale, PA 15086-7573. Phone: (724) 779-3003. Fax: (724) 779-8313.