How to Become a Chemist: Career Guide, Courses, Job Profiles & Salary

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Arunima Sethi

Content Curator | Updated on - Jun 12, 2021

The field of chemistry is often considered as a central field to Science. Career opportunities after pursuing a Chemistry course have been rising by 15% every year. 

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics the overall employment of candidates as a chemist is growing at a rate of 5% every year from 2019 and will continue to grow at an increasing rate. Currently there are more than 94,000 chemists and pharmacists in the USA alone.

A Chemist deals with the chemistry of new elements, molecules, and compositions of new medicines, for providing an effective supply in manufacturing industries like Pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, medicines, etc. 

Quick Facts for Chemist 

The career as a Chemist starts right after Graduation and there are ample numbers of courses available to refine your skills that will be valuable in the Career as a Chemist in a different industry. The following with providing you some quick facts regarding the Chemist Profession:

Industry Medicine
Eligibility 10+2 from a recognised board (Science Stream)
Average Fee INR 30,000-INR 3 LPA
Average Starting Salary INR 3- 9 LPA
Job Opportunity Hospital Chemists, Pharma Assistants, Cytologists, Technical Writers, Drug Inspector etc 

What does a Chemist Do? 

Chemists test the ways of making existing chemicals and drugs better for human usage and develop new medicines and other pharmaceutical products. Some of the basic responsibilities of a chemist include: 

  • Researching on new and existing medicines and medical drugs
  • Analysing scientific components of medicines
  • Working in laboratories to test chemical substances.

Types of Chemists 

There are different types of Chemists depending on their nature of work and the sector in which they are working. Some Chemists work with patients, some work as a technician and some work in medicine manufacturing units and so on. So, depending on the profession there are different types of Chemists. Some of them are mentioned below.

Water Chemists 

Water Chemists are the chemists who deal with the analyzing and maintaining of the quality and condition of the water that is important for all the living organisms of the Earth. The person involved in different aspects of water needs to study the quality of water and also with the living world that is dependent on this. Water chemists check the purity and impurity of water and make sure that the water is fit to drink. They also analyse the chemicals in water and conduct research on them in laboratories.

Pharmacologist 

A pharmacologist is a person who conducts the development and testing of drugs and analyzing the effect of these drugs on living organisms. They observe the effects of the drug and medicines and accordingly suggest the changes. Their main responsibility includes understanding human diseases, available cures for them and the composition of medicinal drugs. They keep knowledge of pharmaceuticals and engage in clinical investigations with Physicians, Dentists and other medical pathologists.

Hazardous Waste Chemist 

Hazardous Waste Chemists are the one who deals with the management and disposal of Hazardous Waste materials that are disposed of by industries, manufacturing units. They identify the hazardous chemicals that are polluting the environment. A Hazardous Waste Chemist also helps in designing various plans and techniques that would further reduce the pollution levels in the environment generated through the chemical waste.

Geochemists 

Geochemists work on the chemical and physical properties of the Earth and related components. They use their information over the distribution of rocks and minerals. They help in drilling areas where suitable material can be extracted. A Geochemist is someone who uses chemistry and geology together. They use physical and inorganic chemistry to understand and find the amount and distribution of chemical elements in rocks and minerals.

How to Become a Chemist: Steps to Follow 

To become a Chemist, one has to take their first step right from schooling days as from there only the student will get the right guidance and motivation to pursue this field. The decision has to be made at the school level only because this profession is subject-specific. One needs to be specific with their choices of the subject because later it cannot be rectified at any stage of academics. Certain steps that one has to follow are mentioned below.

Decision Making 

The Decision Making Process for becoming a Chemist starts exactly after 10th grade because till 10th they have all the subjects and after this, there is a major bifurcation of the subject. After 10th candidates must have a science stream with specific subjects. It is always beneficial if the student has an affection towards Chemistry and Biology as later it will help them to understand the related dimensions of these subjects in higher classes.

Subject Choices 

In terms of Subject Combination, for becoming a Chemist candidates should have a science stream with specific subjects of Chemistry, Physics, and Biology/Maths as these are the foundational subjects for a Chemist. Chemists are the experts of Chemistry; therefore it is important to have these subjects at the school level.

Entrance Exam Preparation 

  • After 12th from Science stream, candidates need to get into a college providing the first Bachelor’s course in Chemistry or Pharmacy. Both the types of colleges are available for this, some provide admission through entrances like NPAT, WBJEE, KEAM that are conducted to provide admission in undergraduate or postgraduate courses.
  • Candidates must have a strong base in Chemistry and Biology( if one is interested in Pharmacy) which they have studied at their previous levels. 

Selecting Correct Colleges 

Selection of a good college is a crucial step towards a Chemist career as the college is the only place that will provide them the structural requirements in terms of both theory and practical knowledge. Therefore certain points that one can follow before selecting a college are:

  • Research over the college courses
  • Research over the faculties that are dealing with the courses
  • Look for achievements and establishment of the college
  • College infrastructure and environment of the campus.

After Qualifying Exam 

After qualifying for the exam, candidates will have to choose a college in which they will take admission and pursue the course for the next 2-4 years till they complete their degree which will provide them exposure to both theory and the practical world of Chemist. Internships and training were provided during last year to provide the actual working condition. Candidates can go for higher studies through Masters or Ph.D. and enter the research field or can get into a job as well in different sectors.

How to Become a Chemist in India? 

To become a Chemist, one has to prepare themselves mentally first and prepare according. As the first step towards preparation starts from schooling, it needs careful attention towards the subject selection which is done after 10th grade.

School Level Preparation 

School level Preparation initially involves being mentally prepared to have a career as a chemist and hence must pursue the Science Stream along with Chemistry, Physics, and Maths/Biology as their main subjects. In order to pursue a Science course from a good university, candidates must prepare for their exams well in advance and must try to score exceptionally well in their 10+2 exams to pursue their desired course from a desired university.

Graduate Preparation 

  • After 12th, the first thing that is mandatory is to have Science with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology as the main subjects. Only then the students can go for UG preparation for Chemistry.
  • After 12th, students need to get admission in a college where chemistry and related courses like Biochemistry, Chemistry are provided with all facilities in terms of training, internships, infrastructural needs, etc. for this they may give undergo entrance exam as there are colleges/universities which conduct entrance exam for UG courses. Preparations of those entrances are purely based on the content that they have studied in their 11th and 12th grade
  •  After that, while doing their UG they can look for different internships and training in different manufacturing companies so that they can get an idea of the actual working reality of the outside world. Concepts studied during graduation should be clear based on that only they can apply for higher studies or for any job in the manufacturing industry.

PG Preparation 

  • After completing graduation, based on their graduation result candidates can apply for a postgraduate degree in any university. The admission is based on an entrance exam and the preparation of it purely depends on the concepts studied in the graduation.
  • Masters provide an additional benefit towards the career of Chemist. Later based on their theoretical and practical knowledge, they can apply to different pharmaceutical companies in the healthcare industries.

Courses to Become a Chemist 

There are different courses available to become a Chemist in a different field. The courses start with graduation level and end with doctorate level. Some of the courses are mentioned below:

Diploma Pharmacy 

D Pharmacy is a 2 year career oriented diploma course for students interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacist or in the medicinal field. After completion of this course students can work as pharmacists, chemists and even pursue MBA in Pharmaceutical Management

  • Admission to this course is done on the basis of merit or on the basis of an entrance exam..
  • Candidates must be from the science stream and must have scored a good overall percentage to take admission in a good college.

Entrance Exam Schedule 

Examinations Registration Dates Exam Dates
BITSAT February 23, 2021 - May 29, 2021  June 24 - 30, 2021
UPSEE April 1, 2021- May 10, 2021 June 15, 2021
MH CET 1st week of May- 4th of May 2021 June 2021
SPPSPTM February 16, 2021 June 17, 2021

Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) 

B.Pharm in is a 4- year full undergraduate course that involves the knowledge of biochemical sciences and the healthcare business. It covers the aspects of designing, creation, distribution, and clinical use of drugs for the treatment of infectious disease and prevention activities. It involves subjects like Organic chemistry, Mathematics, Pharmaceutics, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Physical Pharmacy, and so on. The admission process to the B.Pharm Pharmaceutics course is based on both Merit and Entrance tests conducted by the institutions. Entrance exams like GPAT, WBJEE, and IPU CET are conducted by different institutions to provide admission in this course. 

B.Pharm Entrance Exam 

Particulars Registration Date Exam Date
GPAT 2021 December 23rd, 2020- January 30th, 2021 February 27, 2021
KCET March- April 2021 July 07, 2021

B.Sc Chemistry 

  • Bachelor of Chemistry is a 3 years full-time undergraduate course. The course deals with different aspects of chemistry including compositions of compounds and chemical reactions involved in it. The core subjects include Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. Other subjects include Atomic Structure, Periodicity of Elements, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Stereochemistry, and so on. The course provides sufficient knowledge to an individual to job different job profiles as Chemist, Junior Research Associate, Lab Assistant, Pharmaceutical Sales Executive, etc.
  • Admission to B.Sc Chemistry is provided through both Direct Admission and Entrance Based Admission. The admission process is available through both online and offline modes. Entrance exams like NPAT, UPSEE, and BHU are conducted annually at the state or national level to provide admission in Chemistry courses.

M.Sc Chemistry

  • Masters of Science in Chemistry is a 2-year full-time postgraduate course. It focuses on the knowledge of areas related to chemical reactions and chemical compositions of preparing medicines, other chemical products, etc. 
  • The course consists of subjects like Inorganic Chains, Rings and Clusters, Stereochemistry and Reaction Mechanism, Inorganic Semimicro, Physical Chemistry Experiments Lab and so on. After completing this, one can get into different job profiles like Professor, Research, and Quality Controller, etc.
  • Admission to M.Sc in Chemistry is provided mainly Entrance Based. Entrance exams like DUET, JNUEE and IPU CET are conducted annually at the state or national level to provide admission in Master courses of Chemistry.

M.Sc Chemistry Entrance Exam 

Admission to M.Sc Chemistry through the Entrance exam is one of the ways for admission. Details of some of the entrances are tabulated below:

Particulars Exam Details
JNUEE ( Jawaharlal Nehru University Entrance Exam) IPU CET (Indraprastha University Common Entrance Test)
Application Date April 2021- June 2021 1st May 2021- 4th Week of May 2021
Date of exam September 2021 July 2021

M Pharmacy 

Master of Pharmacy (M Pharmacy) is a postgraduate degree of 2 years. M.Pharmacy offers specialization in pharmacy streams like pharmacology, pharmaceutics, Industrial Pharmacy, etc. 

  • Some common subjects are Biological Evaluation, Drug Regulatory Affairs, Advanced Pharmaceutics, Novel Drug Delivery Systems, Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics.
  • Candidates must have completed their B Pharmacy from a university or college that is recognized by the Pharmacy Council of India.
  • Candidates must have secured a minimum of 50% marks or an equivalent CGPA in B Pharmacy.

M Pharmacy Admission 2021: Entrance Exam Schedule 

Here’s a detailed timeline of the admission processes through national level entrance exams to the M Pharmacy course 2021:

Entrance Exam Registration Date Exam Date
National Institute Of Pharmaceutical Education And Research (NIPER) JEE April 2021 June 2021
GPAT December 23, 2020 - January 22, 2021 (closed) February 22 - 27, 2021

How to Become a Chemist in Abroad 

There are various countries like the USA, UK, Australia and Canada and so on which provide opportunities to become a Chemist in these countries. Different procedures are followed in terms of entrance exam to be passed, internship period, and others as well. Some of the crucial information for some of the countries is mentioned below:

Chemist Courses in UK 

Chemist courses in the UK ensure that the student will learn expertise in chemicals and their manufacturing. They ensure knowledge and understanding of the chemistry of chemicals, medicines, and other related materials like Biology, pathology, and so on.

  • Educational requirements – In the UK, one should have a chemistry degree as 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 or other equivalent subjects include English, Maths, and Science. One can also go to higher masters and research courses as well. Students have a strong background in Chemistry, Biology, and Calculation and must have work experience in manufacturing companies.
  • Other Requirements - To be registered as a Chemist in the UK, one has to get a Bachelor's or Master's degree and then under a training program or an Apprenticeship Program in clinical practice. After getting the training, they may be hired by the same company or by others as a Chemist.

Top Colleges to Pursue Chemist Courses in UK (h4)

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Chemist Courses in US 

The US provides an ample amount of chemistry-related courses under different degrees of Graduation, Masters, and Doctorate with different specializations. They also ensure to provide graduates who are capable of becoming future Chemists and therefore conduct different examinations to check.

  • Educational requirements – Candidate needs to have a Graduation or Masters degree (3 years) or Ph.D. (5 years) in a relevant discipline of Chemistry like in Chemistry or in Chemical Engineering and so on which has to be approved by the American Chemical Society in US home jurisdiction. Must have a valid license and fluency in English.
  • Other Requirements – Candidates can go for higher studies and should get work experience through fellowship or through an internship in any manufacturing company and an English Proficiency test ( Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL). Some of the colleges have an integrated application of providing clinical rotations or experiential learning programs. Lastly, they need to pass the North American Chemist Licensure Examination to get a permit to practice in the United States.

Top Colleges to Pursue Chemist Courses in USA 

Chemist Courses in Canada

  • Educational requirements - Subject requirement includes Science. Candidates need to complete a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, or a related discipline from a Canadian University, then they need to have a Licensing by a provincial association of chemists.
  • Other Requirements – After completing the degree, practical experience through an Apprenticeship or an internship program is a degree.

Top Colleges in Canada 

College Name Fees
University of Toronto INR 39,50,000
University of Alberta INR 22,90,000
Memorial University of Newfoundland INR 12,60,000
York University INR 29,10,000
University of Regina INR 21,30,000
Niagara College Canada INR 18,70,000
Thompson Rivers University INR 15,50,000
Simon Fraser University INR 22,50,000

Benefits of Career as a Chemist 

After pursuing the necessary courses, the career of a chemist has various advantages. Some of them are mentioned below.

High Salary 

Salary for a chemist depends on the post, the degree one has and the institutions under which one is working.After Pharmacy Certificate, Diploma and Graduation course in the particular specialization of chemistry, the average salary will be around INR 2 Lakhs to INR 5 Lakhs per annum. And after Masters and Ph.D. courses, the average salary will be around INR 4 Lakhs to INR 8 Lakhs per annum.

Job Security 

After completing the chemistry courses like after graduation or master’s, one can get different job profiles such as that of a Medical Writer, Drug Safety Associates, Clinical Research Associate, Chemist, etc. Security purely depends on the organization under which one is working, like under government sectors job security is there but in some of the private sector, job security is a question.

Positive Impact of the career 

 As the job profile is based on a strong science background. It has several positive impacts as it helps to learn the working style of manufacturing industries, chemical industries, pharmaceutical experience in different industries. Pursuing a Career as a chemist will always help candidates in increasing their knowledge. They would gain more experience and this will be helpful to get a career boost.

Higher Studies 

After pursuing an undergraduate degree, or doing a job, candidates can always return to education and complete their higher education in their desired courses. A candidate can go for a postgraduate degree or doctorate degree in pharmacy.

Unique Experience 

Unique Experience is provided in terms of healthcare facilities, knowledge of medicines, chemical products, and nutritive advice, work experience. A trained Chemist gains a plethora of knowledge in the medical industry and despite being challenging it is a unique experience..

How to Become a Chemist: Top Recruiters 

Apart from hospitals, healthcare sector and pharmacy shops, the following are some of the leading recruiters:

Tata Chemicals Hospitals/Pharmacies
Vinati Organics Bodal Chemicals Ltd.
Cipla Sun Pharma

How to Become a Chemist: Skills Required 

A career as a Chemist requires certain skills besides being aware of theoretical and practical understanding of medicines. The skills help to work efficiently in different scenarios and conditions in the healthcare industry. Some of the skills are mentioned below:

Communication Skills Creativity
Teamwork Analytical Approach
Management Skills Cooperation and Coordination

Salary of Chemist in India 

The salary of Chemists in India varies depending on several factors. It varies depending on the type of organizations, work experience, specializations, and sometimes also based on gender difference. Some of the difference in Salary is mentioned below:

Average Annual Salary 

Name of Organization Average Annual Salary
Govt 2.5 Lakhs per annum
Private 3.5 Lakhs per annum

Specialization Wise 

Specializations Salary /month
Analytical Chemist INR 26,000
Senior Chemist INR 48,000
Research Scientist INR 58,000
Lab Chemist INR 30,000
Drug Regulatory Affairs INR 66,000

Experience Wise 

Experience Salary
Fresher 20 lakhs per annum
Experienced 50 Lakhs per annum

After the courses of Chemistry

There are different courses and options available after a Chemist related job. It depends on the qualification that one has and on their capacity as well.

Higher Education 

If a person gets a job after graduation then after their job, they can go to complete their higher studies as from Masters and for Ph.D. these two degrees enhance their opportunities to get the next job with a higher salary package. Higher education always helps to increase the qualification and a better chance of getting a higher post..

Start a Job 

During Graduation or Masters, one can go for internships in different companies such as Hindustan Zinc Limited, Crown HR Services, Cadila Health, and Torrent Pharma, and so on. The internship will help them to enhance their experience in the real pharmaceutical world and will make them understand the do’s and don’ts that one has to follow.After doing an internship and completing the necessary education, one can go for a job in different job profiles like as Hospital Chemists, Chemist Analyst, Drug Inspector, Administrative Officer, Clinical Research Associate, and so on.

How to Become Chemist FAQs

Ques : Is there any online course available for Chemists?

Ans: Yes, there are ample numbers of online courses available for chemists and their related aspects. Different online providers include Coursera, Udemy, Alison, UF Health, and so on.

Ques : What is the duration for Certificate courses in a Chemist Career?

Ans: The duration for Certificate courses depends on the institution, mode of learning, and the particular course but mostly the duration is of 6 months to 1 year.

Ques : What does OJEE stands for?

Ans: OJEE stands for Odisha Joint Entrance Examination, conducted by Odisha Board for providing admission to different undergraduate courses.

Ques : What is the major duty of a Chemist?

Ans: Major duty of a Chemist includes: checking Chemical Composition, chemical compound, and elements, analysing compounds and their effect over general health issues, and to oversee the work of the other chemist technician, Train interns, and so on.

Ques Name some job careers related to Chemists?

Ans: Some of the job careers related to Chemists are: Biochemists and Biophysicists, Medical Scientists, Pharmacy Technicians, and so on.

Ques What is the duration of Doctorate courses for a Chemist?

Ans: There is no fixed duration for Doctorate courses. It depends on the topics chosen for research and generally, it takes 3-6 years to complete the course.

Ques What is the duration of Diploma courses for a Chemist?

Ans: The duration for Diploma courses in Pharmacy is generally for 1-2 years, the rest depends on the course and provider of the course.

Ques Is there any diploma course available in Chemistry?

Ans: Yes, there are different diploma courses available in chemistry-related fields like Diploma in Pharmacy and Diploma in Environmental studies.

Ques Who are Biochemists and Biophysicists?

Ans: Biochemists and Biophysicists are people who study the chemical and physical properties of living things and their biological processes like cell development, growth, heredity, and disease.

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