Earnings for Chemists in the United States come in at around $54K per year on average. In the world of Chemists, total cash compensation can vary between $35K and $84K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $8K and $5K, respectively. The company is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration and location. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. The majority of Chemists (64 percent) who took the survey are men. For the most part, Chemists enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
Job Description for Chemist
Chemists most often work in a lab setting of some sort. They maintain, troubleshoot, and use various instruments, equipment, and software tools utilized for chemical analysis and processing. Analytical techniques used by chemists include high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), and titration techniques. Strong data interpretation and analytical skills are required to be a chemist, as often times chemists are responsible for interpreting and analyzing data and equipment logs from other laboratory members. He or she needs to accurately report and track ingredient yields, quality measures, and occasionally microbiological results in addition to other key data sets. When necessary, the chemist must show an aptitude for experimental design. Additionally, chemists collect and document quality assurance test data, including testing formulations, substrates, and reagents. Chemists also must be very attentive to detail, especially since certain analytical tasks may be completely ruined with the slightest error.Read More...
Most chemist positions require the candidate to have earned at least a Bachelors degree, but upper level positions require a few years of work experience and/or more advanced degrees. In terms of non-technical skills, chemists must have strong communication skills - both written and verbal. They must be able to manage multiple projects effectively while being able to work independently or with the rest of the laboratory team. Safety awareness is also crucial for chemists, since some of the chemicals they work with on a daily basis have the potential to seriously injure or kill whoever comes in contact with them. Chemists must also be able follow directions exactly, but they also need to be able to identify potential improvements to improve an experiment or process.
- Collect and document quality assurance test data, including testing formulations, substrates and reagents.
- Interpret and analyze data and equipment logs from other laboratory members.
- Maintain, troubleshoot, and use instruments, equipment and software tools.
Common Career Paths for Chemist
While difficult to come across, Chemists do sometimes move on to become Senior Chemists. The average salary for Senior Chemists is $75K annually. The most common career progression for Chemists leads to becoming an Analytical Chemist, where pay is typically $50K. However, many Chemists also opt to become Research Chemists, a position that pays $58K on average.
Chemist Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Chemist
Leading companies who hire large numbers of Chemists include PPG Industries, Inc., Valspar Corporation, Ecolab, Inc., Sigma Aldrich Corp, and Advanced Testing Laboratory. Although the highest salaries can be found at Valspar Corporation where median pay is $73K, there is little variation in compensation; paychecks are spread only between $63K and $96K. Other big spenders include Sherwin Williams Co., BASF Corporation, and PPG Industries, Inc., top-paying firms where Chemists see paychecks nearing $63K, $58K, or $55K.
Also approaching the lower end are AAIPharma at $38K, Intertek at $41K, and Clean Harbors, Inc at $42K.
Popular Skills for Chemist
Chemists seem to require a rather large skill set. Lucky workers who know Project Management can expect a significant pay bump, scoring salaries 51 percent above average. Troubleshooting and Technical Writing are also correlated to pay that is above average, with increases between 19 percent and 51 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include Chemistry and GMP Compliance. It is often found that people who know Quality Assurance / Quality Control are also skilled in Research Analysis and Product Development.
Pay by Experience Level for Chemist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Chemists who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $47K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $58K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Chemists see a median salary of $66K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Chemists who have acquired more than 20 years of relevant experience earn significantly more than folks with fewer years on their resumes; the average income in this veteran group is $76K.
Pay Difference by Location
For those looking to make money, Chemists in Boston enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 24 percent above the national average. Chemists will also find cushy salaries in New York (+13 percent), Houston (+12 percent), Cleveland (+10 percent), and Indianapolis (+7 percent). With compensation 13 percent below the national average, Seattle is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Workers in Milwaukee and Chicago earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (11 percent less and 8 percent less, respectively).