We rarely find people investing in a career without the motive of getting benefits or returns on investments after completing their studies. These benefits might come in terms of promotions, achievements, employment, substantial rewards or personal fulfilment. Before you delve into a career path, a lot of questions would usually come to play on your mind. Questions such as “Why am I Studying this Course?” is one you must ask yourself before concluding on a career path. Why would you want to study Industrial Chemistry, Chemical Sciences (Chemistry) or Chemical Engineering? Is it to solve certain problems or do you love working with chemicals or you are just curious to explore subjects like Radioactivity and Chemical Reactions?
You would definitely ask questions about what kind of profession or job a major in Chemicals would get you and what the payscale of the various positions entails. Let us get started by explaining what a Major in Chemicals entails.
What is a Major in Chemicals?
In most countries, especially developed ones, students in their first degree programmes (undergraduates) are allowed to choose a relative or non-relative field where they can gain some knowledge outside their usual programmes. This makes the programme of their choosing the Major and the courses outside the scope of their progamme are regarded as Minors.
A Major in Chemicals is a definitely a programme in Chemical Engineering, Chemical Sciences (Chemistry) or Industrial Chemistry. Students in this field can minor in any field outside the Chemicals such as Math, Political Science, or Biology. This broadens the students’ scope of study and gives them insights into other careers, hence giving them the leverage to diversify into other fields conveniently or multi-engage other fields alongside theirs.
A Major in Chemicals can also involve other majors such as Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Materials Sciences, Process Engineering, Systems Engineering, Food Sciences, Pharmacy, Forensic Science, and Toxicology since they relate to Chemistry in scope and application.
Why Study a Major in Chemicals?
One good thing about majoring in a chemical programme is that you are helping to solve problems facing humanity and the world at large. The application of your problem solving skills would be greatly required in the energy, petroleum, medical, education, pharmaceutical or environmental sectors. The good thing about being a chemist is that you can work almost everywhere as organizations such as the Armed Forces also require the services of a chemist in the fields of arms manufacturing and nuclear weaponization.
As a Chemist or Chemical Engineer, you should also see yourself as a Hero even though you do not get celebrated as much as the members of the Armed Forces. Take out time to celebrate yourself and your achievements.
Entry Level Jobs for a Major in Chemicals
After your first degree, it might be neccessarily important you gain some work experience before applying for higher positions. The following are job positions you can apply for after your first degree:
1. High School Chemistry Teacher
Average Annual Salary: $10,000 – $25,000 , NGN 200,000 – NGN 500,000
One of the first and easiest places to find employment after your first degree is in high schools. The educational sector would always have the need for more teachers so there would always be an employment for you so far as you can defend your degree. Apart from teaching in a traditional classroom block, you could start a side hustle online by assisting people with assignments and freelancing other services such as creating chemistry-related contents for Blogs and Organizations.
2. Laboratory Technician or Assistant
Average Annual Salary: $30,000 – $4,000 , NGN 300,000 – NGN 700,000
No doubts, working in the Laboratory gives you direct access to explore chemicals live and direct. You get to effect tests and work on a variety of samples. This is one way to get started in research. It can even be used as a way to become a professor. It requires less education than a higher-level researcher, making it easier to break into.
3. Water Treatment Technician
Average Annual Salary: $40,000 – $50,000 , NGN 300,000 – NGN 1,000,000
Water treatment is absolutely essential. Apart from water-packaging companies, some families also take water treatment serious and as more people get educated, more people would open up to treating their waters. The job ranges from treating sewage to making sure water is safe to drink to cleaning up chemical spills.
4. Food Scientist
Average Annual Salary: $40,000 – $70,000 , NGN 300,000 – NGN 1,500,000
Food scientists work in brewries and food processing companies. They formulate and combine the best edible chemicals to come up with new and appealing food products for the consumers. They also come up with the best preservative formula to prevent food spoilage as well.
5. Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Average Annual Salary: $40,000 – $103,000 , NGN 100,000 – NGN 2,500,000
A Pharmaceutical Sales Rep position can come in handy for someone who majors in Chemistry and minors in Economics or a business-related field. It is more recommended for someone who has little or no interest in furthering their research. More time would be spent in front of the counter, answering patients’ questions and prescribing first aid medications for them.
6. Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Average Annual Salary: $60,000 – $100,000 , NGN 300,000 – NGN 3,000,000
While the process to becoming a professor of Chemistry is not an easy one to scale through, starting off as an Assistant Professor would grant you access to more research opportunities and academicians who can put you through some neccessities on your way to becoming a professor. While on your way to earning your professorship, there is nothing wrong with earning an income simultaneously and that is where the position of an Assistant Professor comes in.
Average Annual Salary: $60,000 – $125,000 , NGN 300,000 – NGN 3,000,000
Those who study a mix of chemistry and biology or biochemistry can explore pharmacology. You’d have to spend some time educating and interacting with customers.
8. Environmental Technician
Average Annual Salary: $30,000 – $50,000 , NGN 100,000 – NGN 3,000,000
Most people who evolve into this career are graduates of Environmental Sciences, but it is a profession a chemist can also take care of. This profession entails managing an environment and curtailing pollution primarily.
9. Forensic Scientist
Average Annual Salary: $30,000 – $50,000 , NGN 100,000 – NGN 3,000,000
While a chemistry degree isn’t necessary for this career, many forensic scientists possess one. There are some aspects of forensic science that involves the services of a chemist. Indisputably, Chemists can work as Forensic Scientists as well.
Average Annual Salary: $30,000 – $80,000 , NGN 100,000 – NGN 3,000,000
A toxicology career specializes in testing of tissue samples to solve criminal issues and detect causes of ailments. Toxicologists work in the laboratory environment where they get to provie aid to people without having tocome in contact with them. They perform experiments on samples they get from patients through lab attendants.
Academic Requirements to Study a Chemical-Inclined Major in College
Absolutely, if you are done with high school and want to launch a chemical-inclined major in college, this section should provide as much information as possible to you. In High School, you should take your Chemistry, Maths, Biology and Physics classes most importantly because they form the very foundation of your prospective career in a chemical-inclined major.
Though the requirements differ by country, most colleges in the United States accept a minimum of Grade C in all Physics, Maths, Chemistry and Biology Courses and a minimum 2.0/4.0 CGPA on the High School Diploma to study any Chemical-Inclined Major in College.
Top-Paying Jobs for a Major in Chemicals
Apart from the entry-level jobs, senior level and high paying jobs for majors in Chemicals include the following:
- Chemical Engineer
- Materials Scientist
- Chemistry Professor
- Process Engineer
- Quality Assurance Engineer
- Research and Development Scientist
- Technical Science and Development Specialist
- Validation Specialist
- Analytical Scientist
- Manufacturing production technician.
- Chemical plant and system operator.
- Analytical chemist.
- Food Engineer.
- Pharmaceutical manufacturer.
- Energy engineer.
- Chemical process engineer.
- Chemical engineer
No doubt a major in Chemicals offer a variety of career opportunities to you if you study it. Face your fears and go on to study it, be the best you can be at it and you will find it more rewarding if you graduate with distinctions.