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What can I do with a major in Chemistry?

Careers in Chemistry

Professor Andy Mesecar and postdoctoral researcher Renata Everett.

As a postdoctoral researcher in Professor Andy Mesecar's lab, Renata Everett worked on the SARS virus papain-like protease, which is a drug target for SARS and now SARS-CoV-2.


Medical Device Sales Representatives are responsible for promoting medical equipment, products or services to a variety of markets, primary including hospitals, medical centers and doctors’ practices.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives are known as drug reps or pharmaceutical salespeople, provide drug information and product samples to physicians.

Product Specialists are experts about a specific product, strategically plan production, marketing and sales, and interact with many organizational departments and customers.

Quality Control Associates (QC) carry out testing and analysis to ensure that biomedical research studies and biomedical products meet specifications and regulatory guidelines.

Regulatory Affairs Specialists work to ensure that biotechnology or biopharmaceutical products meet all the quality attributes – safety, efficacy, potency and purity – required by customers and regulatory agencies.


Chemistry Teachers present concepts that are related to chemistry to students in public or private schools.

Museum Conservators research information about artifacts in libraries and databases and work in laboratories to restore or preserve the original quality of museum items.

Museum Curators oversee museum collections by managing the acquisition, preservation and display of museum artifacts. They may conduct instructional, research, or public service activities of institution.

Museum Technicians (registrars) help curators by preparing and taking care of museum items. Registrars also may answer questions from the public and help curators and outside scholars use the collections.

Science Writers describe discoveries and commercial developments in all branches of science, engineering, medicine and environmental science. They explain the impact these discoveries have on the lives of average individuals.


Air Quality Specialists’ work includes a variety of tasks having to do with air quality monitoring, air pollution inspections, regulation, law enforcement, and planning.

Agricultural Scientists utilize their backgrounds in biology and chemistry to study and improve processes related to yielding natural resources for the benefit of society.

Atmospheric Scientists, including meteorologists study weather, climate and other aspects of the atmosphere. They develop reports and forecasts from their analysis of weather and climate data.

Botanists interested in ecology study interactions of plants with other organisms and the environment.

Environmental Chemists design pollution control and cleanup processes and systems. They also serve as emergency advisors, helping to contain and clean up chemical spills and explosions or runoff of pesticides from farm fields into rivers and lakes.

Environmental Scientists & Specialists use their knowledge of the natural scientists to protect the environment.

Geoscientists perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health.

Remote Sensing Scientists use sensors to analyze data and solve regional, national, and global problems in areas such as natural resource management, urban planning and climate and weather prediction.

Soil Scientists map and classify soils and provide interpretations for land planners and managers.

Water Quality Specialists study how water quality affects human health, while considering the long-term “health” of pipes in the distribution system.


Allied Health

They are directly or indirectly involved with patient health, require additional education (1-4 years depending on profession) and are regarded as an expert in their field. The pre-professional advising office works with students from every major in order to assist them with the application process.

Anesthesiologist Assistants operate anesthesia equipment, monitor patients, and assist in providing quality care.

Blood Bank Technologists are responsible for testing donated blood before it is used in transfusions.

Cytogenetic Technologists analyze chromosomes found in biological specimens such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow and blood to aid in the study, diagnosis, or treatment of genetic diseases. 

Cytotechnologists study microscopic cells for evidence of disease, such as cancer.

Genetic Counselors provide information & support to individuals who are at risk of having birth defects or genetic conditions. Some work in research settings, where they discover how disorders are inherited & evaluate treatment options.

Nuclear Medicine Technologists operate equipment that detects and maps radioactive drugs within a patient’s body to create diagnostic images. The images are then produced on a computer screen or on film for diagnosis by the health care team.

Nurses, regardless of specialty or work setting, treat patients, educate patients and the public about various medical conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients’ family members.

Occupational Therapists help patients perform daily living and working tasks so they can lead independent, satisfying lives.

Orthotist & Prostheists (O&P professionals) design medical support devices and measure and fit patients for them. These devices include artificial limbs (arms, hand, legs and feet), braces and other medical or surgical devices.

Paramedics provide more extensive care than do EMTs. In addition to carrying out the procedures that EMTs use, paramedics can give medications orally and intravenously, interpret electrocardiograms (EKGs) and use other monitors and complex equipment.

Perfusionists are vital members of the cardiovascular surgical team because they are responsible for running the heart-lung machine.

Physical Therapists (PTs) provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients with injuries or disease.

Physicians are medical doctors who utilize a strong foundational knowledge in interdisciplinary life sciences to hear patient concerns, diagnose conditions, and ultimately treat patients.

Physician Assistants (PAs) practice medicine under the direction of physicians and surgeons. They are formally trained to examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and provide treatment.

Radiation Therapists treat cancer and other diseases in patients by giving radiation treatments.

Respiratory Therapists specialize in treating airway and breathing problems.

Speech-Language Pathologists (speech therapists) evaluate and diagnose those with disorders and challenges in these areas, and help them improve their communication skills.

Public Health

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing and responding to infectious diseases.

Biostatisticians design research studies and analyze data related to human health, animals, or plants.

Clinical Lab Technicians work with medical professionals in response to medical orders to perform tests on collected specimens from patients.

Community Health Workers serve as a bridge between the community and the health care, government and social service systems.

Epidemiologists are medical scientists who investigate and describe factors that influence the development of disease, disability and other health outcomes. They formulate means for prevention and control.

Immunologists are research scientists or practicing specialists who study, analyze and/or treat disease processes that involve the immune system.

Medical Laboratory Scientists (Medical Technologists) perform complex medical laboratory tests for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

Microbiologists have a life sciences focus on the smallest aspects of life to make developments in agriculture, biotechnology, environmental science, and medicine. 

Nuclear Medicine Technologists are health professionals who have underwent special training to handle nuclear/radioactive substances used in therapies, such as chemotherapy.

Virologists study viruses that affect humans, animals, insects, bacteria, fungi and plants, in community, clinical, agricultural and natural environments.

Law and Government

Crime Scene Investigators may use tweezers, black lights, and specialized kits to identify and collect evidence. In addition to processing crime scenes, they may also attend autopsies.

Environmental Consultants are earth scientists who assist in the creation, analysis and enforcement of government policies designed to protect the environment from industrial hazards.

Environmental Lobbyists work to persuade politicians to vote on legislation in a way that will favor the interests of the environmental group they represent.

Forensic Pathologists (medical examiners) are specially trained physicians who examine the bodies of people who died suddenly, unexpectedly, or violently.

Forensic Science Technicians help investigate crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence.

Patent Agents work with inventors, researchers and attorneys to evaluate an invention disclosure, assess patentability, and draft a fillable patent application. Patent law offers opportunities for those who wish to leave the lab but not science.

Patent Lawyers review advances in technology and explain and argue differences in technology to judges, juries, and patent office examiners.

Science Policymakers serve as the bridge between researchers and the public, using their talents to find ways to translate esoteric, often highly technical scientific issues into something that can be sold as good policy.

Toxicologists combine the elements of many scientific disciplines to help us understand the harmful effects of chemicals on living organisms.

Research and Development

Assayers determine the composition to metals and other goods using a variety of chemistry techniques.

Analytical Chemists use their knowledge of chemistry, instrumentation, computers and statistics to solve problems in almost all areas of chemistry.

Biochemists study the chemical components and processes of living systems – plants, insects, viruses, microorganisms, and mammals to explain how and why chemical reactions occur.

Biophysicists are interested in how structure and function come together in living systems, all while utilizing biochemistry and physics principles to conduct their work.

Biological Technicians are responsible for doing scientific tests, experiments, and analyses under the supervision of biologists or other scientists who direct and evaluate their work.

Chemical Information Specialists organize technical information and make it available and easily accessible to researchers, students, industry professionals and others.

Chemical Technicians work in every aspect of the chemical process industry, from basic research to hazardous waste management.

Clinical Research Associates help conduct clinical trials that evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new treatment interventions or compare the effectiveness of new treatments to current best practices or other control groups.

Consumer Product Development Specialists use chemistry, physics and engineering to study and develop products that range from food and personal care items to medicine.

Food & Flavor Chemists use their life sciences background to develop and express artifical flavorings for use in food and beverage products.

Laboratory Managers oversee the operations of many different types of laboratories, including medical, criminal, research and research development labs.

Materials Scientists are concerned with the relationship between the structure and properties of materials.

Medicinal Chemists (pharmaceutical scientists) research & create chemical compounds for use as drugs. By applying chemical research techniques to isolate natural healing agents or develop artificial ones, these chemists play a vital role in pharmaceuticals.


Physical Chemists aim to develop a fundamental understanding at the molecular and atomic level of how materials behave and how chemical reactions occur, knowledge that is relevant in nearly every area of chemistry.

Process Development Scientists (process chemists) research and develop ways to manufacture products and monitor existing processes and products for quality and efficiency.

Technical Writers are multimodal communicators who work to convey complex information at all levels of understanding to their audience.

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