Chemist Salary

Chemists in the United States pull down an average of $52K annually. Earnings generally vary between $35K and $83K per year. Total cash compensation to Chemists bottoms out near $35K and approaches $83K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $6K from bonuses and almost $7K from profit sharing. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is the particular firm, though tenure and geography have a (lesser) impact as well. Chemists who participated in the survey are largely men, dominating at 62 percent. Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. Most Chemists report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.

$37,313 - $83,619
(Median)
$37K
$52K
$84K
MEDIAN: $52,365
10%
50%
90%

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$14.47 - $27.47
(Median)
$14
$19
$27
MEDIAN: $19.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Salary
$37,313 - $83,619  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,991  
Profit Sharing
$5.14 - $7,397  
Commission
$0.00  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$34,946 - $82,661  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 2,602
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$14$28$42
Hourly Rate
$14.47 - $27.47  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00  
Overtime
$20.94 - $41.29  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$28K$56K$84K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,991  
   
Commission
$0.00  
Profit Sharing
$5.14 - $7,397  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$34,946 - $82,661  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 833
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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.

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Chemist Tasks

  • Maintain, troubleshoot, and use instruments, equipment and software tools.
  • Interpret and analyze data and equipment logs from other laboratory members.
  • Collect and document quality assurance test data, including testing formulations, substrates and reagents.

Common Career Paths for Chemist


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Advancing into a Senior Chemist role seems to be a popular career move for Chemists, and folks who currently work in the latter position report a notably larger median income of $75K per year. Moving from a Chemist to Analytical Chemist or Research Chemist is a more common career path, however.

Chemist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Chemist


Chemists flock to PPG Industries, Inc., Sigma Aldrich Corp, Valspar Corporation, Ecolab, Inc., and Intertek, highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. For Chemists, comfortable salaries can be found at BASF Corporation; in fact, median earnings sit around $76K, the highest in the area. Valspar Corporation, Sherwin Williams Co., and PPG Industries, Inc. are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Chemists earning around $73K, $57K, or $54K at each firm, respectively.

Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Eurofins at $41K, and Intertek where $42K is the norm, but it is worth noting that some Chemists there earn up to $69K.

Popular Skills for Chemist


Chemists seem to wield many skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Troubleshooting, Chemistry, and Technical Writing are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 30 percent, 24 percent, and 20 percent, respectively. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include GMP Compliance, Chemist, and Instrument Control. Those educated in Quality Assurance / Quality Control tend to be well versed 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.


For many Chemists, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $46K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $56K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Chemists make a median salary of $63K. Big financial gains seem to result from working for more than two decades; veterans in this group report earning $74K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $50,733

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Chemists in Boston enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 27 percent above the national average. Chemists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+17 percent), Indianapolis (+13 percent), Houston (+11 percent), and Cleveland (+9 percent). Falling short of the national average by 17 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Pittsburgh. Workers in Seattle and Milwaukee earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (12 percent less and 11 percent less, respectively).

Chemist Reviews

What is it like working as a Chemist?

Chemist in York:
Pros: It gave me a sense of independence and allowed me to come up with my own ideas towards improving our product.
Cons: Sometimes there is a lull in the amount of work we have to accomplish, and there was little experience with understanding how the product was made for some time.

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Experience Affects Chemist Salaries




National Average
$51,000


Skills That Affect Chemist Salaries

Troubleshooting
up arrow 30%

Chemistry
up arrow 24%

Technical Writing
up arrow 20%

Chemical Process Engineering
up arrow 12%

Formulation
up arrow 12%


Process Improvement
up arrow 4%

Research Analysis
up arrow 3%

Technical Analysis
up arrow 2%

National Average
$51,000

Data Analysis
up arrow 2%

Quality Assurance / Quality Control
up arrow 4%

HPLC
up arrow 8%

Instrument Control
up arrow 10%

Chemist
up arrow 13%

GMP Compliance
up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 480 votes.

Gender

Female
38 %
Male
62 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
10%
1-4 years
46%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
14%
20 years or more
10%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 87%
dental benefits
Dental: 73%
medical benefits
Vision: 59%
dental benefits
None: 12%
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