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.
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
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.
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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
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.
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Key Stats for Chemist
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