What Does An Analytical Chemist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Analytical Chemists

Analytical Chemists perform qualitative and quantitative analysis. They use their data to assess the chemical properties of materials and food.

Bachelor's degree

Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

Analytical Chemists rely on their knowledge of Chemistry and Analytics to solve problems and improve manufacturing processes that rely on chemicals. For example, an Analytical Chemist may attempt to improve the chemical composition of a material to make it more durable or more flexible.

Analytical Chemists are also essential for analyzing the safety and quality of pharmaceuticals, food, and water. They help companies maintain compliance with environmental regulations.

When working in the health industry, Analytical Chemists may help Physicians analyze the chemical makeup of diseases or medicines. It is a versatile profession with a wide range of career opportunities.

What they do

Analytical Chemists perform qualitative and quantitative analysis. They use their data to assess the chemical properties of materials and food.

Perform Complex Analytical Chemistry Testing

The primary job responsibility of an Analytical Chemist is to perform analytical chemistry testing on materials and chemicals. The purpose of the testing depends on the industry and the product.

An Analytical Chemist may need to test the chemical composition of a material to determine its resistance to heat. Other common examples of testing scenarios include testing food for the presence of harmful chemicals or evaluating the rate of deterioration of materials.

Collaborate with Other Specialists to Develop or Improve Products

Analytical Chemists often collaborate with other Scientists and technical staff to develop or improve products and processes. For example, you may work with Engineers to improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes involving the use of chemicals. Analytical Chemists may also work with Materials Scientists to enhance specific properties of a material.

Review Analytical Data From Your Peers

Analytical Chemists often publish the results of their research. Publishing research provides a chance for peer review, which involves allowing other trained professionals to review your work. As an Analytical Chemist, you may review the work submitted by other Chemists.

Stay Current on All Safety Procedures and Regulations

The use of chemicals is heavily regulated in most industries, requiring Analytical Chemists to follow specific safety procedures and regulations. This may require periodic safety training.

Calibrate and Maintain Laboratory Equipment

Analytical Chemists use a variety of tools and equipment to perform analytical chemistry tests. They often need to calibrate the equipment before conducting experiments to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the results.

In a large laboratory, most of the maintenance is completed by entry-level workers and specialized Technicians. However, an Analytical Chemist is still likely to perform basic maintenance, such as cleaning and storing equipment after each test.

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What is the job like


You Get to Improve Products

Analytical Chemists often work on projects designed to improve the quality of products.

You May Help Create a Safer World

Analytical Chemists may help develop safer manufacturing processes, limiting the effects of industrial pollution.

You Get to Use Your Mind

Working as an Analytical Chemist is often rewarding and intellectually stimulating, due to the constant challenges.

You Can Work in a Variety of Industries

Analytical Chemists are employed in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to pharmaceuticals.


You May Work Alone Frequently

While Analytical Chemists often collaborate on projects, they also spend a considerable amount of time alone in laboratory settings.

You May Work with Dangerous Chemicals

Working with chemicals includes an increased risk of exposure to harmful substances.

Where they work

Industrial Manufacturing
Food and Agriculture
Oil and Petroleum Companies

Universities and Government Labs

Analytical Chemists work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and service industries. Common employers include industrial manufacturers and makers of consumer products. Food companies also rely on Analytical Chemists to test and analyze food quality.

Forensic labs hire Analytical Chemists to analyze forensic evidence. Other employers include oil and petroleum companies, pharmaceutical companies, universities, and government labs.

How to become one

Step 1: Study Chemistry in High School

Analytical Chemists require a strong Chemistry background, which high school students can study before going to college.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Analytical Chemists need at least a Bachelor’s degree to find entry-level jobs in this field. The most common major is Chemistry.

Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree

A Master’s degree or even a PhD is needed for advanced positions in research labs. Many universities offer Analytical Chemistry Masters and Doctoral programs.

Step 4: Complete an Internship

After finishing your education, complete an internship to gain lab experience.

Step 5: Find an Entry-Level Job

Start looking for entry-level jobs after finishing your internship. Analytical Chemists often start as Lab Technicians or Junior Chemists.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

One of the most common personality traits of an Analytical Chemist is attention to detail, as they often need to detect subtle differences in chemicals. Patience is also a helpful trait, as you may spend hours waiting for the result of a test or for a piece of equipment to perform a specific operation.

Working as an Analytical Chemist also requires self-motivation and good time-management skills, as you may spend a lot of your time working unsupervised.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


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