Chemist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Chemists Career Video



Conducts qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Science and Mathematics pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Analyzes organic or inorganic compounds to determine chemical or physical properties, composition, structure, relationships, or reactions, using chromatography, spectroscopy, or spectrophotometry techniques.
  • Conducts quality control tests.
  • Maintains laboratory instruments to ensure proper working order and troubleshoots malfunctions when needed.
  • Prepares test solutions, compounds, or reagents for laboratory personnel to conduct tests.
  • Induces changes in composition of substances by introducing heat, light, energy, or chemical catalysts for quantitative or qualitative analysis.
  • Evaluates laboratory safety procedures to ensure compliance with standards or to make improvements as needed.
  • Compiles and analyzes test information to determine process or equipment operating efficiency or to diagnose malfunctions.
  • Writes technical papers or reports or prepares standards and specifications for processes, facilities, products, or tests.
  • Confers with scientists or engineers to conduct analyses of research projects, interpret test results, or develop nonstandard tests.
  • Develops, improves, or customizes products, equipment, formulas, processes, or analytical methods.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Air Quality Chemist --
  • Analytical Chemist --
  • Chemical Laboratory Scientist --
  • Forensic Chemist -- Analyzes evidence that is brought in from crime scenes and reaches a conclusion based on tests run on that piece of evidence.
  • Forensic Scientist --
  • Quality Control Chemist (QC Chemist) --
  • Research Chemist --
  • Scientist --
  • Senior Chemist --