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Careers That Use Chemistry

Not only are there all of these specialties in the large field of chemistry, there are also loads of career paths you could choose. Chemists of all types work with chemistry 100% of the time. There also might be a little physics or biology here and there. Most careers focus on other work and non-chemist tasks, but use chemistry every day. Some examples...

Doctor

You all know what a doctor is. Doctors have to know loads about biochemistry and the chemical reactions going on in your body. They need to know how those reactions work in normal situations, but also — and more importantly — what happens when they go wrong. They also have to understand how drugs affect your body's systems.

Pharmacist, Pharmacologist

medicine designed by pharmacologists Pharmacists are typically the people at the drug store who fill your prescriptions. Pharmacologists study pharmacology in school and learn how to create new drugs to cure diseases. Someone with a pharmacology major might work in a lab all day studying and creating new compounds. There are then several years of testing to see how the compounds interact with the human body.

University Researcher

These are the folks who spend their whole careers working at a university focusing on one or two specific ideas in chemistry. They may also be teachers of chemistry classes. They can work in any part of chemistry, not just the world of chemistry in living things (like the above examples). They often spend many years in school getting their Ph.D. before they begin their own research.

Forensics Expert

hazardous materials experts at airports These scientists work with law enforcement officials. They go to scenes of crimes, gather clues, bring them back to their labs, and analyze them. An example might be a murder scene where someone tracked mud all over the carpet. The forensics expert could come and take a sample of the mud, analyze the elements, and then compare it to a database of mud around the city. That might help the police figure out where the mud came from and lead them to the killer.

Hazardous Material Expert

Here's another career where you might work with law enforcement. These folks have information on thousands of types of chemicals and how they react with people, fire, and the air. When there is a chemical spill or exposure somewhere, they come and work with firefighters to evacuate people, tell them it's okay, or maybe help tell them how to contain the unidentified chemicals. They work with huge databases of compounds and information on chemical reactions.

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