19 Highest-Paying Jobs and Careers for Chemistry Graduates

19 Highest-Paying Jobs and Careers for Chemistry Graduates

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Have you ever wondered what you can do with a chemistry degree?

Chemistry graduates have access to a wide range of jobs and careers. However, some chemistry jobs pay more than others, so we have gathered the highest-paying jobs for chemistry majors.

Chemistry is a wide field. Job opportunities mainly depend on the specialization of each chemistry graduate: organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, materials science, petroleum engineering, biochemistry, etc. For that reason, we will specify the requirements for each chemistry job as well as the potential chemistry career advancements.

Let’s dive in!

1. Chemical Engineer

  • Salary: $47 per hour.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 50 chemical engineering jobs are available on Salarship

Chemical engineers develop and manufacture chemicals such as cement, detergents, gasoline, plastics, food, water treatments, and synthetics.

There are many different types of chemical engineering positions, they all require different specializations and experience. The highest-paying chemical engineering jobs are:

  1. Chemical manufacturing engineers: These engineers focus on improving and deploying manufacturing processes. It is preferred to have followed a chemistry curriculum with an emphasis on chemistry manufacturing processes.
  2. Biochemical engineers: They research and produce products that are derived from a combination of organic and lab-made materials.
  3. Environmental engineers: This job is open to environmental science graduates as well as some chemistry graduates depending on the position.
  4. Petroleum engineers: They design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface. This job requires a Master’s degree in petroleum engineering as well as a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering or a related field.

Inudustries that hire chemical engineers include pharmaceuticals, healthcare, construction, petrochemicals, food processing, specialty chemicals, microelectronics, polymers, business services, and biotechnology.


  • Required: bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, chemistry, material science, or a related field.
  • Preferred: 2 years of experience as a technician in the related field.

2. Materials Scientist

  • Salary: $49 per hour.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 28 materials scientist jobs are available on Salarship

Materials scientists study the structure of materials and use this knowledge to develop new materials with specific properties, such as strength, conductivity, or corrosion resistance.

Materials science and chemistry are so intertwined with each other that some universities offer a joint Chemical Engineering/Materials Science program.


  • Required: Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering.
  • Preferred: Research positions often require a master's degree or a Ph. D. in materials science.

3. Chemistry University Professor

  • Salary: $45 per hour.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 8 chemistry professor jobs are available on Salarship

Chemistry professors are responsible for conducting original academic research, supervising doctoral students, and teaching classes to graduate and undergraduate students. In many universities, full professors also take on senior managerial roles such as academic heads of departments, board members, and other academic positions.

At the university, chemistry professors can teach many different courses: general chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, chemistry laboratories, physical chemistry, and even courses such as physics and biology.


  • Required: A chemistry doctoral degree.
  • Preferred: Previous research experience as a research assistant or research scientist.
  • Preferred: Previous teaching experience as a teaching assistant.

4. Pharmacologist

  • Average Salary: $121,715 per year.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 16 pharmacologist jobs are available on Salarship

Pharmacologists research how chemical substances interact with the body. They work as part of a research team responsible for screening compounds, developing drugs, and undertaking controlled laboratory experiments and clinical trials.

A career in pharmacology is a great choice for chemistry graduates because it allows them to use their knowledge of biochemistry to improve people's health.


Unfortunately, chemistry graduates can not work as pharmacologist straight out of university. A postgraduate training or qualification is usually required by pharmaceutical companies.

5. Research Chemist

  • Salary: $40 per hour.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 20 research chemist jobs are available on Salarship

Research chemists study chemical compounds and use this research to create and improve manufacturing processes and products, from new medical treatments to manufactured goods such as cosmetics, electrical goods, and food.

There are many different chemistry careers that can lead to a research chemist position: medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, etc.


  • Required: undergraduate or graduate chemistry degree depending on the position.
  • Preferred: a minimum of 1 year of relevant lab experience.

6. Toxicologist

  • Average Salary: $84,308 per year.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 3 toxicologist jobs are available on Salarship

Toxicologists study the effects of toxins and chemicals on living organisms. They use analytical chemistry techniques to detect and analyze the toxicity of molecules.

Most toxicologists work in animal facilities and laboratories, conducting experiments on animal tissues. The federal government also hires toxicologists to conduct environmental risk assessments.


  • Required: a Bachelor's degree in a chemistry-related field should do the trick. However, it is better if you have graduated with a specialization in biochemistry or organic chemistry.

7. Academic Researcher

  • Salary: $34 per hour.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 17 academic researcher jobs are available on Salarship

Academic researchers apply their expertise and skills developed through study to conduct fundamental research. They publish papers in peer-reviewed, well-respected journals. Chemistry academic researchers operate within a research group at a university. Sometimes, they teach courses for students in graduate school.

The main fields of research in chemistry are organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, applied chemistry, and industrial chemistry. Each field has many hot research subtopics. For example, organic chemistry can be further divided into the chemistry of the various organic functional groups such as the chemistry of the alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, etc.


  • Required: A doctoral degree in chemistry or chemical engineering.

8. Geochemist

  • Salary: $35 per hour.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 1 geochemist jobs are available on Salarship

Geochemists study the Earth's composition, structure, and other physical aspects.

The biggest employers of geochemists include: mining firms, civil engineering companies, and the government.


  • Skills required: a good grasp of analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and structural geology.
  • Education required: a bachelor's degree in chemistry for entry-level jobs and graduate study for more advanced positions.

9. Chemistry High School Teacher

  • Salary: $21 per hour.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 10 chemistry teacher jobs are available on Salarship

Chemistry high school teachers teach academic lessons and basic chemistry knowledge that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Chemistry teachers help students learn about compounds, elements, molecules, atoms, ions, and chemical reactions.


  • Required: Earn a chemistry Bachelor’s degree.
  • Required: Complete a teacher preparation program.

10. Chemical Technician

  • Salary: $19 per hour.
  • Workload: 93% of positions are full-time.
  • Low Demand: 124 chemical technician jobs are available on Salarship

Chemical technicians perform routine technical tasks in laboratories to support scientific investigations. Their duties include setting up laboratories for scientific research, conducting lab-based experiments, recording chemical properties, and analyzing results.

A chemical technician position is might open opportunities for interesting career advancement provided that you already have a chemistry degree: analytical chemists, organic chemists, biochemists, and other chemical engineering jobs.


  • May be required: an undergraduate degree as a chemistry major or materials science major.

11-19. Less Common Jobs for Chemistry Graduates

Chemistry graduates have many career opportunities that are more or less related to chemistry. Here are some fields where chemistry majors are high in demand:

  • Environmental consultants help governments and large companies with the management of environmental issues.
  • Hazardous waste chemists develop appropriate ways to dispose of hazardous wastes.
  • Forensic scientists examine evidence from crimes and prepare legal statements that summarise the results for court cases.
  • Biotechnologists study the genetic and physical characteristics of cells and organisms.
  • Nanotechnologists manipulate molecules to develop new or existing technology.
  • Water chemists collect and analyze water samples.
  • Synthetic chemists make chemicals for manufacturing and industrial use.
  • Quality control chemists measure and test materials according to industry-specific standards.
  • Oceanographers study coastal water, sea life, and oceans.

Part-Time Jobs for Chemistry Graduates

If you are looking for a part-time chemistry job, I recommend the following article:

More Information About Chemical Engineering

This article discusses how hard it is to graduate with a chemistry major:

If you think that chemical engineering might be too hard for you, have a look at: