5 Chemistry Careers to Consider

There are a wide variety of chemistry careers to choose from. From teaching to research and development, the field of chemistry is wide and diverse. The following is a list of some of the most common chemistry careers today:

Biofuel Chemists

Biofuel chemists are developing new alternative energy sources to reduce reliance on petroleum products. They develop new fuels for use in a wide range of engines, from automobiles to generators, and they also work with a wide range of biological fuels, from corn to switchgrass.

As the green economy grows, more companies will look for biofuel chemists to develop fuels that come from plants. Currently, research is being done on switchgrass, and organisms like algae. Algae is said to reduce biofuel reliance on food products, such as corn and plant oils, which would otherwise be used for human consumption.

Biotechnology Chemists

Biotechnology chemists work in many different industries, such as agriculture or pharmaceuticals. In agriculture, chemists assist in the development of genetically modified food, creating crops that produce natural pesticides or which taste better. In pharmaceuticals, chemists are involved in creating drug compounds for a wide variety of diseases, sometimes even treating genetic disorders.

Biotechnology chemists usually work in a laboratory setting, usually in an area which has several universities, that start-up biotechnology companies, or in cities where biotechnology is a major industry. Most biotechnology chemists have graduate degrees, though there are some positions for chemists with undergraduate degrees.

Textile Chemists

Textile chemists apply their background in chemistry to the production of fibers for clothing. These chemists will work to produce fire retardant textiles for use in emergency services or by soldiers. They also produce dyes and fixatives for textiles. These chemists usually work in research and development settings, usually for fiber producers, whether it be for clothing, or fibers such as yarn and silk, used by artisans to produce beautiful garments, or they can work for companies that are making armor, fire retardant uniforms or creating packaging materials that preserve and protect products for shipping and storage. Textile chemists may also play roles in restoring items of historical significance, such as paintings and tapestries.

Chemistry and Science Education Opportunities

Chemistry teachers teach secondary school chemistry and most chemistry teachers require at least a minor in chemistry as well as an education degree. Some chemistry undergrads will complete their certification as teachers while on the job, by completing a program such as Teach for America, or by completing a second undergraduate degree in education. There is a shortage of teachers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) areas so graduates from chemistry programs should be able to apply their degrees teaching in secondary school settings.

Curriculum developers have related careers to teachers because they prepare the materials used in secondary and college classrooms. Curriculum developers can work for state boards of education, textbook publishers, online high schools and freelancers, producing educational materials for students. In addition to a background in chemistry, most curriculum developers have worked as teachers and may be certified teachers.

Curriculum developers need strong research, writing and teaching skills so they can create lessons for students. Some curriculum developers and teachers will go on to careers as science or technical writes, writing books, articles and manuals for education and popular publications.