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What To Know Before Getting a Chemistry Degree

What To Know Before Getting a Chemistry Degree

Chemistry degrees remain some of the most popular degrees in the country, thanks to a steady job market and relatively high salaries. Think you would make a great chemistry major? Discover what you need to know before getting a chemistry degree.

Types of Chemistry

Before you get a chemistry degree, you should know that there are several options. The most popular are organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry. There are some key differences between organic and inorganic chem, and organic chemistry—the branch that studies carbon compounds within living things—is different from biochem, which studies the chemistry of living organisms.

Careers in Chemistry

There are many different types of chemistry jobs available. Some people work in university labs, while others are out in the field studying crime scenes. It all depends on what kind of chemistry you enjoy working with. Some of the most popular jobs include:

  • Chemical engineer

  • Chemistry teacher

  • Forensic scientist

  • Analytical chemist

  • Pharmacologist

Average Salary for Chem Majors

In general, chemistry majors can expect to make good money. The American Chemistry Society (ACS) estimates that a chem major with a bachelor’s degree can make an average of $35,000–$50,000 annually. If you continue on to get a master’s degree or a PhD, your salary could be much higher. ACS also noted that working for a bigger company usually translates to a higher average salary.

Time for Degree Completion

Most chemistry degrees take an average of four years, which is the normal expectation for a college degree. However, some schools may have fast-track programs that allow you to take advanced high school classes for college credit, shortening your degree completion time. Basically, the earlier you know you want to be a chemist, the more options you have for graduating early.

Classes and Skills Required

As you probably expect, chemistry majors need to take a lot of science classes. Even if you want to specialize in a certain field of chemistry, you’ll need to take courses in a variety of science fields to be a well-rounded degree candidate. Expect to take math, physics, biology, and plenty of chemistry in addition to your electives and core curriculum classes.

We hope you find this list of things to know before getting a chemistry degree helpful as you navigate choosing a college major. A chemistry degree takes a lot of hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort!


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