Chemists and Materials Scientists

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Analytical: 91
  • Supported: 73
  • Creative: 67
  • Purpose: 40
  • Social: 31

What Chemists and Materials Scientists Do

Chemists and materials scientists study substances at the atomic and molecular levels and the ways in which the substances interact with one another. They use their knowledge to develop new and improved products and to test the quality of manufactured goods.

Work Environment

Chemists and materials scientists work in laboratories and offices. They typically work full time and keep regular hours.

How to Become a Chemist or Materials Scientist

Chemists and materials scientists need at least a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a related field. However, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is needed for many research jobs.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Chemists and materials scientists

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of chemists and materials scientists is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Chemists and materials scientists with an advanced degree, particularly those with a Ph.D., are expected to have better opportunities.

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    Job Trends for Chemists and Materials Scientists

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    This occupation supported 96,200 jobs in 2012 and 98,399 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 2.3%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 5.7% in 2022 to 101,700 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 97,300, compared with an observed value of 98,399, 1.1% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 2.7% in 2024 to 101,000 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 102,800 jobs for 2024, 1.8% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.