Research Chemist Salary
Job Description for Research Chemist
A research chemist uses their background of chemistry and research techniques to discover new knowledge or develop new technologies. Chemistry is the study of matter and energy, and, thus, the discipline is applicable to expand a wide variety of fields. For example, a research chemist may work for a pharmaceutical company trying to develop a new compound capable of treating a somatic condition, or they may try to develop a new way to manufacture a medicine that reduces impurities causing side effects. Research chemists might also may work for an energy company trying to develop a new additive that makes gasoline burn cleaner and more efficiently, or they may work for a semiconductor company trying to develop a new compound that better aids in the doping process that gives rise to transistor behavior.Read More...
The research chemist spends much time in laboratories applying the scientific method to develop and test new compounds. Working with sophisticated laboratory equipment, the researcher gathers and analyzes data. The analysis is then generated into a report, and that report will be presented to management and development teams. Research chemists may also complete basic office paperwork and oversee the work of more junior laboratory professionals.
Due to the advanced scientific knowledge required for this position, a research chemist must have at minimum a bachelor's degree in chemistry or a related field. Often, a master's or doctoral degree in such a field is required.
Research Chemist Tasks
- Design, develop, and characterize novel synthetic products and processes.
- Create and maintain product development strategies, documentation and progress reports.
- Keep up to date on current research and technologies.
- Observe, analyze, calculate and evaluate results from laboratory work to improve processes and communicate data.
Common Career Paths for Research Chemist
Though it's uncommon, some Research Chemists move into roles as Research & Development Managers, where pay is an average $97K per year. Going from Research Chemist to Senior Chemist is the transition that occurs most often in this field, where the paychecks are $75K. Many others choose to work as Analytical Chemists, where pay is typically $50K.
Research Chemist Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Research Chemist
Although BASF Corporation boasts the highest average salary in town at $105K, employee compensation still varies greatly — workers can make as little as $61K or as much as $110K.
Relative to other names in the field, compensation is very low at PPG Industries, Inc. — the median salary comes to just $60K, 75 percent less than the top paying company.
Popular Skills for Research Chemist
Survey results show that Research Chemists use a fair number of skills. Most notably, facility with Chemistry, Chemical Process Engineering, and Material Science are correlated to pay that is significantly above average, leading to increases of 29 percent, 14 percent, and 4 percent, respectively. Those listing Data Analysis as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. HPLC and Research Analysis also typically command lower compensation. Most people experienced in Product Development also know Material Science.
Pay by Experience Level for Research Chemist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Research Chemists who reported more years of relevant experience also reported higher earnings. Folks with fewer than five years of experience take home $55K on average, and those who have worked for five to 10 years see a bigger median salary of $66K. Research Chemists with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $78K. Survey participants who have worked for more than two decades report bringing in $106K on average.
Pay Difference by Location
For Research Chemists, busy Wilmington offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 131 percent above the national average. Research Chemists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Philadelphia (+39 percent), Stamford (+37 percent), Houston (+14 percent), and Cincinnati (+13 percent). The lowest-paying market is St. Louis, which sits 21 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Employers in Los Angeles and St. Paul also lean toward paying below-median salaries (19 percent lower and 18 percent lower, respectively).