Chemists in the United States take home an average $54K annually. Cash earnings for Chemists — which occasionally include more than $8K from bonuses and more than $6K from profit sharing — stretch from around $35K to approximately $82K. This group's pay is mainly influenced by the company, followed by career length and geography. Most Chemists like their work and job satisfaction is high. Men make up the majority of Chemists (64 percent) survey respondents. Most enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a majority. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$38,586 - $83,743
$39K
$54K
$84K
MEDIAN: $53,955
10%
50%
90%

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$14.58 - $26.90
$15
$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
$38,586 - $83,743  
   
Bonus
$103.65 - $7,692  
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $6,183  
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).
)
$35,005 - $82,065  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 1,878
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
$14.58 - $26.90  
   
Overtime
$20.45 - $41.18  
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
$103.65 - $7,692  
   
Profit Sharing
$0.00 - $6,183  
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).
)
$35,005 - $82,065  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 657

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United States (change)

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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

  • 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


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Chemists often transition into Senior Chemist positions, for which compensation tends to be much higher. On average, Senior Chemists earn $75K per year. As Chemists progress in their field, many go on to become Analytical Chemists. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and median pay for the role is $50K. Another common career choice for Chemists is to move into a Research Chemist role — this promotion usually pays $58K.

Chemist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Chemist


PPG Industries, Inc., Valspar Corporation, Ecolab, Inc., Sigma Aldrich Corp, and Advanced Testing Laboratory are some prominent firms with considerable interest in employing a large team of Chemists. 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. Soaring salaries can also be found at Sherwin Williams Co., Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., and BASF Corporation, where earnings of $63K, $57K, or $57K are standard for Chemists.

Also sliding in at the lower end of the scale are AAIPharma ($38K), Intertek ($41K), and Clean Harbors, Inc ($43K).

Popular Skills for Chemist


Survey results imply that Chemists deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, facility with Project Management, Chemical Process Engineering, and Troubleshooting are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 32 percent, 23 percent, and 19 percent, respectively. For most people, competency in Quality Assurance / Quality Control indicates knowledge of 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, more experience generally translates to higher pay. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $47K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $57K. Chemists see a median salary of $65K after reaching one to two decades on the job. Survey participants who have worked for more than two decades report bringing in $75K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $51,252

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, 20 percent above the national average. Chemists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Houston (+11 percent), Philadelphia (+10 percent), Cleveland (+10 percent), and New York (+9 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Milwaukee, 12 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 11 percent less in Seattle and 7 percent less in Los Angeles, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Chemist Reviews

Q: 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.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Chemist

Gender

Female
36 %
Male
64 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 291 votes.
Less than 1 year
12%
1-4 years
48%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
9%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Chemist Salaries




National Average
$51,000


Skills That Affect Chemist Salaries


Chemical Process Engineering
up arrow 23%

Troubleshooting
up arrow 19%

Technical Writing
up arrow 19%

Chemist
up arrow 17%

Problem Solving
up arrow 12%




Formulation
up arrow 4%


HPLC
up arrow 1%

National Average
$51,000




Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 291 votes.

Gender

Female
36 %
Male
64 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
12%
1-4 years
48%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 86%
dental benefits
Dental: 72%
vision benefits
Vision: 60%
dental benefits
None: 13%
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