If you’re unsure of what to do with your bachelor’s degree in chemistry, you’re not alone. Lori Spangler, an ACS career consultant, says she talks to many students who are worried they have few job options. Students are well aware that teaching as well as working as a laboratory chemist are both options, but there are not-so-obvious paths that may be appealing, say several ACS career experts.
The world of chemistry is so vast that your problem might actually be narrowing multiple options down rather than dealing with too few options. “This is why I love chemistry so much,” says Jahari Soward, a managing partner with NPursuit Career Partners and ACS career counselor. “It touches everything.”
If you’re wondering what else you can do with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, here are five options to consider.
Applications or development scientist
Behind many of the processes, products, and instruments chemists use are technical staff. Application scientists offer hands-on help and information on how to use a particular instrument, service, or reagent. They may also assist customers with buying products, prepare training materials, and visit labs to make installations and repairs. This position often requires regular travel.
Ivona Sasimovich, a process development chemist for International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., tests new flavor compounds, creates process guides for creating them, and troubleshoots with factories when they are having issues in producing the flavors. “It’s always interesting and exciting and you get to experiment a lot,” she says.
Sasimovich loves the variety of her job, which requires lots of experiments to refine flavor-making processes. It’s a good fit for someone looking for regular challenge—and unafraid of having to fail a few times before solving a problem, she says.