What Does the Future Hold For Chemistry Jobs?

The future is a tricky thing, especially when trying to project a specific industry or field of study. A great example of this is can be found in legal community. In the mid-90’s, new lawyers were in high demand and it was considered to be one of the safest and most prosperous career paths. Today, there are more lawyers than jobs, and that was before the economy turned south. However, chemistry jobs have been holding fairly consistent over the last few decades, and barring a huge change in the need for chemists, the future seems pretty clear. Here is a quick look at the future of chemistry jobs.

1. Most Chemistry Jobs Will Remain in R&D

A majority of chemists and material scientists currently work in Research and Development. The biggest employers include pharmaceutical companies and various private product creation firms. The purpose of these positions is to have the chemist create new products and processes. Continuing developments in computer technology will continue to make it easier for chemists to practice new techniques, that can make research more effective and even create new fields of study, such as bominatorial chemistry.

2. Chemistry Jobs Are Only Part of Team

The days of a chemist tucked away in a lab all alone are gone for good. Chemistry jobs are now a small part of a bigger team. These teams will often include chemists from a variety of specialties, engineers, computer specialties, and other scientific fields such as biology. This is because Research and Development has become increasingly inter-disciplinary over the last decade, which means that it is now almost impossible for a single chemist to work alone. Additionally, this means that chemists are no longer “the top of food chain”, but rather an essential piece of the puzzle.

3. Specialization is Essential

While there is still a place for a general chemist, the need for specialization will continue to climb. There are a number of different specialties, some are well known, while others are still fairly new. Currently recognized specializations include: analytical, organic, physical, theoretical, materials and much more. With this specialization comes more education and training prerequisites. Entry level positions can be obtained with as little as a bachelors degree in chemistry, however ongoing study will be required in order to garner promotions and increase your pay grade. It is not until graduate level studies do most chemists choose a sub-field to specialize in.

The future of any industry can be foggy, however the trends related to chemistry jobs have held stable over time and all of the changes have been slow and steady. Whenever industry changes are consistently slow and progressive, the easier it is to make basic predictions about the future of it. Currently, the future of chemistry jobs will follow these 3 basic principles: chemistry jobs will remain almost entirely in R&D, chemists will only be part of a much larger team, and the continued need to specialize and attain advanced degrees will continue to increase.

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