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The majority of industry- related jobs in chemistry are filled by bachelor of science Chemistry applicants.

Education-related jobs in chemistry may be filled by either bachelor of science or bachelor of arts students.

Educational Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or in a related field is needed for entry-level chemist jobs. Many jobs require master’s degrees or Ph.D.s and may also require significant levels of work experience. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, students interested in secondary teaching must complete applicable licensure for the secondary teaching credential. For more information, contact the School of Education.

Job Outlook

Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. From 2012 to 2022, a significant number of older teachers are expected to reach retirement age. These retirements will create job openings for new teachers. In addition to overall openings, many schools report having difficulty filling teaching positions for certain subjects, including math and science (especially chemistry and physics).

Entering Salary

 The median annual wage for chemists was $71,770 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,080, and the top 10 percent earned more than $120,600.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for chemists in the top five industries employing these scientists were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service$100,920
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences$79,140
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing$70,480
State and local government, excluding education and hospitals$57,190
Testing laboratories$55,060

 The median annual wage for high school teachers was $55,050 in May 2012 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $36,930 and the top 10 percent earning more than $85,690. 

 The median annual wage for biochemists was $81,480 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,430, and the top 10 percent earned more than $147,350.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for chemists in the top five industries employing these scientists were as follows:

Federal government, excluding postal service$100,920
Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences$79,140
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing$70,480
State and local government, excluding education and hospitals$57,190
Testing laboratories$55,060

 The median annual wage for high school teachers was $55,050 in May 2012 with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $36,930 and the top 10 percent earning more than $85,690. 

Career information adapted from:

  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh