Chemistry

Resources for Careers in Chemistry

There are many digital resources chemistry students might find useful when planning the next steps in their academic and professional careers.

On this page, you will find videos, blogs, and articles relating to industrial and practical applications of chemistry, various career possibilities and trajectories in the discipline, and more.

Resources from the American Chemical Society (ACS)

Chemistry Careers

This site introduces users to 40 careers in chemistry, ranging from applied research to formulation chemistry to technical communication. Each post has a description that overviews:

  • the job,
  • typical duties,
  • the education required,
  • workplace environment,
  • technical skills needed,
  • and the career path (including salary information).

Many descriptions include a personal vignette about ACS member in that job.

Chemists in the Real World

This section of the ACS website contains an extensive compilation of personal career vignettes about ACS members in over 50 different types of chemistry careers, including astrochemistry, biotechnology, agriculture and food chemistry, academic work, forensic chemistry, and more.

Each category profiles several professional chemists and highlights what they do in their work, how they got started in their chemistry career, their likes and dislikes of their job, and more.

York University (Toronto) Careers in Chemistry Panel Discussion, March 2012

Be sure to check out this panel hosted at York University in Toronto. The panelists work in government labs, teaching, pharmaceuticals, testing labs, and law firms, which demonstrates the breadth of possibilities for students interested in pursuing careers in chemistry.

Panel Q&A overview:

  1. What do you do and how did you get the job? 01:09
  2. What should a student take in university to work in the field of Chemistry? 12:26
  3. Is there any advice you would give to students about acquiring certain skills that may be required in the field? 21:10

What Chemists Do Webinars (YouTube Playlist)

For more video resources, have a look at the many video playlists created by ACS that profile working chemists in the areas of entrepreneurship, government, industry, and non-traditional careers (such as chemists working in customs and border protection).

Resources from the Royal Society of Chemistry

Career Vignettes Series

Similar to the American Chemical Society’s resources, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s YouTube channel is loaded with video content and profiles of various chemists in many different avenues in the field. They explain their work, how they got into their careers, what they like and dislike about their work, and more.

Blogs, Articles, and Podcast Resources

There are many written resources that highlight various possibilities for chemists after graduating with their degrees.

Chemists Corner is a website for cosmetic chemists by cosmetic chemists. Their mission is “to help you land a job in the cosmetic industry and become a better scientist once you get there". Their site comprises articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos pertinent to budding chemists looking to make a career in cosmetics, including a 12-minute video on cosmetics formulations, which explains how to create a cosmetic formula from a list of ingredients.

In The Pipeline is an independent blog created by Derek Lowe that comments on drug discovery and the pharmaceutical industry. The publication is affiliated with Science Translational Medicine.

ChemJobber is a process chemist in the United States who blogs about the chemistry job market. In January 2017 ChemJobber started a monthly column in Chemical & Engineering News called Bench & Cubicle, which tackles a variety of topics that a working chemist might come across, including dealing with peers and lab partners, social media for scientists, interview tips, and more.

General Career Resources

Career Fairs

You can leverage the following resources to help you prepare for career fairs, which are a great way to network with companies and employers who hire chemists regularly.

Capitalize on career fairs with this video and tip sheet:

Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are useful tools for chemists transitioning from academia to the working world. An informational interview is a type of interview where a chemist meets with someone in the industry they are interested in to ask questions about the work.

The interview is designed to collect information about the industry and the company that might not be readily available on the web, like getting insider information on a company before applying to work there. It can also be used as a networking opportunity.

For tips on making the most of informational interviews, check out:

Industrial Chemistry Videos

For students interested in industrial chemistry, check out some videos from various industries to see the kind of work chemists can do outside typical work environments.

If you have time, explore the How It’s Made YouTube channel for more composition work that chemists might participate in.