Analytical chemists use their knowledge of chemistry, instrumentation, computers, and statistics to solve problems in almost all areas of chemistry.
Analytical chemistry is the science of obtaining, processing, and communicating information about the composition and structure of matter. In other words, it is the art and science of determining what matter is and how much of it exists.
Analytical chemists perform qualitative and quantitative analysis; use the science of sampling, defining, isolating, concentrating, and preserving samples; set error limits; validate and verify results through calibration and standardization; perform separations based on differential chemical properties; create new ways to make measurements; interpret data in proper context; and communicate results. They use their knowledge of chemistry, instrumentation, computers, and statistics to solve problems in almost all areas of chemistry. For example, their measurements are used to assure compliance with environmental and other regulations; to assure the safety and quality of food, pharmaceuticals, and water; to support the legal process; to help physicians diagnose disease; and to provide chemical measurements essential to trade and commerce.
Analytical chemists are employed in all aspects of chemical research in industry, academia, and government. They do basic laboratory research, develop processes and products, design instruments used in analytical analysis, teach, and work in marketing and law. Analytical chemistry is a challenging profession that makes significant contributions to many fields of science.
Analytical chemists are generally involved with making measurements using sophisticated state-of-the-art computer-controlled instrumentation in government laboratories as well as in laboratories in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and food industries. They may also be involved in developing these techniques in these laboratories or in the laboratories of instrumentation vendors. Analytical chemists are also suited for positions as quality assurance specialists to ensure that procedures and protocols are followed.
A solid background in chemistry and good laboratory, computer, and communication skills are important for handling a wide variety of chemical measurements. Because analytical chemistry is a service discipline, combining the skills of a chemical analyst with knowledge of the unique problems of other chemical disciplines (such as organic, polymer, inorganic, and environmental chemistries) is a valuable asset.
Salary Range 2013
Want to know more?
Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.
- American Chemical Society
- Association of Official Analytical Chemists
- ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry
- List of Professional Organizations
Find a Job
- Career Development
- What Can I do with a Major In...
- Career Mapping System
- Personalize Your Career Plan
- Build a Professional Profile
- Internships and Research
- Job Search Resources
- Programs & Events
- Additional Career Resources
- Archived Newsletters
- Applying to Graduate School
- Reporting Your Post-Grad Plans
- Post-Graduation Data
- Alumni Profiles