Chemical Jobs / Chemical Careers
Career Guide to Chemical Jobs
In a nutshell, forensics is the application of science which includes physical, medical, and behavioral science as it relates to the law. Scientific procedures and equipment are used in investigating offenses as well as convicting the defendant in court.
There are many sub disciplines in forensic science, but the most common are physical science and medical science.
Of all the physical sciences, chemistry and physics are the two categories of physical science that apply the most to forensics. Chemical analysis is important in examining the nature of trace evidence. Trace evidence refers to very small physical matter (such as cloth fiber, a hair, or shards of glass) that provides evidential value. Chemical analysis is also used to examine questioned documents. Questioned documents are any documents that are related to the commission of a crime. This terminology many times is applied to suspected forgeries such as counterfeit money or documents that have been illegally altered such as the changing of the value of a check. Forensic scientists such as chemists or document analysts many times scrutinize documents with the hope of identifying the kind of ink or paper used in order to help identify the perpetrator who orchestrated the manufacture of the fake document.
If this sounds like something your interested in, then a career in chemicals might be for you!
Everything in the environment, whether naturally occurring or of human design, is composed of chemicals. Chemists and materials scientists search for and use new knowledge about chemicals. Chemical research has led to the discovery and development of new and improved synthetic fibers, paints, adhesives, drugs, cosmetics, electronic components, lubricants, and thousands of other products. Chemists and materials scientists also develop processes such as improved oil refining and petrochemical processing that save energy and reduce pollution. Applications of materials science include studies of superconducting materials, graphite materials, integrated-circuit chips, and fuel cells. Research on the chemistry of living things spurs advances in medicine, agriculture, food processing, and other fields.
Many chemists and materials scientists work in research and development (R&D). In basic research, they investigate the properties, composition, and structure of matter and the laws that govern the combination of elements and reactions of substances to each other. In applied R&D, these scientists create new products and processes or improve existing ones, often using knowledge gained from basic research. For example, synthetic rubber and plastics resulted from research on small molecules uniting to form large ones, a process called polymerization. R&D chemists and materials scientists use computers and a wide variety of sophisticated laboratory instrumentation for modeling, simulation, and experimental analysis.
Other qualifications. Chemists and materials scientists usually work regular hours in offices and laboratories. R&D chemists and materials scientists spend much time in laboratories but also work in offices when they do theoretical research or plan, record, and report on their lab research. Although some laboratories are small, others are large enough to incorporate prototype chemical manufacturing facilities as well as advanced testing equipment. In addition to working in a laboratory, materials scientists also work with engineers and processing specialists in industrial manufacturing facilities. Chemists do some of their work in a chemical plant or outdoors—gathering water samples to test for pollutants, for example. Some chemists are exposed to health or safety hazards when handling certain chemicals, but there is little risk if proper procedures are followed.
Chemists and materials scientists typically work regular hours. A 40-hour workweek is usual, but longer hours are not uncommon. Researchers may be required to work odd hours in laboratories or other locations, depending on the nature of their research.
A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related discipline is the minimum educational requirement; however, many research jobs require a master’s degree or, more often, a Ph.D.
What Education/Certifications do you need for:
Chemical Jobs / Chemical Careers
A bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related discipline usually is the minimum educational requirement for entry-level chemist jobs. While some materials scientists hold a degree in materials science, degrees in chemistry, physics, or electrical engineering are also common. Most research jobs in chemistry and materials science require a master’s degree or, more frequently, a Ph.D.
Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in chemistry. In 2007, the American Chemical Society (ACS) had approved approximately 640 bachelors, 310 masters, and 200 doctoral degree programs. In addition to these programs, other advanced degree programs in chemistry were offered at several hundred colleges and universities. The number of colleges that offer a degree program in materials science is small but gradually increasing.
Students planning careers as chemists and materials scientists should take courses in science and mathematics, should like working with their hands building scientific apparatus and performing laboratory experiments, and should like computer modeling.
Current & Future Job Outlook for:
Chemical Jobs / Chemical Careers
Because R&D chemists and materials scientists are increasingly expected to work on interdisciplinary teams, some understanding of other disciplines, including business and marketing or economics, is desirable, along with leadership ability and good oral and written communication skills. Interaction among specialists in this field is increasing, especially for specialty chemists in drug development. One type of chemist often relies on the findings of another type of chemist. For example, an organic chemist must understand findings on the identity of compounds prepared by an analytical chemist.
Job prospects. Average job growth is expected. New chemists at all levels may experience competition for jobs, particularly in declining chemical manufacturing industries. Graduates with a master’s degree or a Ph.D., will enjoy better opportunities, especially at larger pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms.
Employment change. Employment of chemists and materials scientists is expected to grow 9 percent over the 2006-16 decade, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job growth will occur in professional, scientific, and technical services firms as manufacturing companies continue to outsource their R&D and testing operations to these smaller, specialized firms.
Chemists should experience employment growth in pharmaceutical and biotechnology research, as recent advances in genetics open new avenues of treatment for diseases. Employment of chemists in the non pharmaceutical chemical manufacturing industries is expected to decline over the projection period, along with overall declining employment in these industries.
Employment of materials scientists should continue to grow as manufacturers of diverse products seek to improve their quality by using new materials and manufacturing processes.