A polymer chemist holds a research and development position that is employed by many companies in a variety of industries. Generally, most companies are looking for applicants who have a Master's degree in Chemistry, although a Doctorate degree is often preferred. Some companies will accept applicants with a Bachelor's degree in chemistry, as well. Most companies require several years of prior experience in polymer chemistry, typically in a manufacturing environment.
The ideal applicant should certainly have good technical skills, which vary from industry to industry but generally include knowledge of thermo-chemistry, colloids, chromatography, etc. These chemists work in lab environments, usually in a team with other chemists. They also work with R&D teams to develop new products and additives for their company, and may provide support to production teams regarding reviewing and testing.
Polymer chemists may occasionally be responsible for establishing scaling trials and overseeing the testing and quality control of products. They will need to do their own research and remain competitive in terms of understanding new technologies, methods, benchmarks, and other standards. Those in this position should be able to keep detailed lab notebooks which explain methodology and experiments and also include data records. In some situations, they may be asked to present information to clients, customers, or possibly higher-level employees in order to explain products or processes.
Polymer Chemist Tasks
Plan and conduct experiments and supervise production of new polymer materials.
Study the molecular properties of chemicals used in synthesizing or creating new polymers.
Research and develop processes in the creation of plastic and rubber products.
Perform all tasks required in the research and development process.